Monthly Archives: March 2011

90 Cents

That’s how much is left in the bank.  The Ex, who agreed long ago to take care of rent and the bills for me while I go to school, has finally ran out of options.  Yes, the man who’s living in his girlfriend’s parent’s basement is down to his last bit of pride, he’s selling insurance; but by the total in the bank and his swearing up and down that he’s doing everything he can to make sure I stay in my apartment, he’s failing miserably at it.

I’m panicking.  I won’t lie.  I’ve been trying to find work, but with school, no one is willing to touch me with a ten-foot pole.  Which leaves me asking the question, “Is school really that important to me?”

My undeniable answer is always that school is the highest priority in the world for me.  I’ve got to finish what I’ve started, and I would think that anyone in their right mind would agree with that, however, they’d also tell me that a roof over my head trumps my scholastic goals any day of the week.  I agree with that too.  So, I’m left at a very wicked impasse.  On one hand, I could go work full time at a job that would just let me get by and kiss off any dream I would have to finish Ad school, or I could be homeless with an education.

Not very pretty, is it?

Now, to just put the cherry on the cake of the whole ordeal, I’ve got my video game I play just to relax.  I’m serious, I spend maybe a Saturday afternoon on it, but I don’t play Sunday through Wednesday because that’s my school week, I can play after I get done on Thursday afternoons, but I’m hardly on anymore.  However, I’m still a guild master, which means I’m looking after a whole bunch of other people in the time I’m not studying and searching for work.

Tonight was the ultimate test in patience.  I got a phone call from one of my folks telling me that all hell broke loose in-game while I was busy freaking out over the 90 cents in the bank, figuring out what I’m going to do and trying to re-do my portfolio which truly needs a lot of work.  On top of that, I received an e-mail from someone else describing the same event.  To be honest, that crap was the last thing I needed to deal with tonight.  I’ve got stuff to do and a real life that cannot wait, but alas, “At one time or another, everyone comes to see Mama Rel,” and boy, let me tell you, since it seems like I can’t deal with my real life without my online family having some kind of cave-in, someone was going to get it.

I took 15 minutes out of a Tony Stark inspired bit of creativity, in which I really could have produced something amazing, and had to go break off my foot in people’s butts.  Now, as we know, I don’t like to get mad.  I don’t like to yell.  I don’t like getting upset about anything, life is far too short to have to break my foot off in someone’s butt for not using their common sense or common courtesy.  But tonight, I did.

For a considerable amount of time, we have had a guildie who has been quite the bit of work.  She’s a Sophomore (whether she knows it or not) of the first order.  You could literally read the pages of her life in my story.  She’s been beaten down, abandoned and wherever someone could have stuck a knife and twisted it, they have.  Of course, y’all know me, when I see someone like that, I immediately jump in and show them my story which says you can overcome the odds, no matter how overwhelming.  So, I tried to get through to her.  I was kind, gentle, I explained how the folks in the guild work, which by the way are all outstanding individuals, and I tried with all of my heart to let her see that our misfit crew was somewhere she would be safe.

Now, the one thing I’ll always believe is that you can try to help, but you can’t save everyone.  If someone is a boatload of resentment and hostility, they’re equivalent to a mess of titanic proportions that is waiting to crash into the nearest iceberg and sink, and there is nothing and no one on this earth that can stop it.  To be honest, I’ve been waiting for her to melt down because everything we would try to do to reassure her and try to get through to her fell on deaf ears.  To be honest, she’s me three years ago.  She couldn’t understand people selflessly wanting to be helpful and back her up, that not one single person had it in their mind to even come close to hurting her, but as much as we all tried, there was no getting through the very guarded and hateful persona that has been built up over years of tragedy.  The girl has some serious trust issues, which I can truly relate to, and I stuck by her to show her that if someone like me can learn to trust, she could too.

However, there is one undeniable fact in there…if you get crap heaped onto you, you’ve got two choices.  You can either let it take you down or you can rise above it.  Each and every one of my loyal readers can attest to the fact that time and time again I’ve found a way to rise above.  My Personal Growth professor cried when she read my personal timeline paper in which I illustrated to her all of the negativity heaped on me in childhood, the traumas of adolescence, the problems and hurts of my 20’s then, by some miracle, in my 30’s I started to turn it around, in which I am determined to be a positive influence and success even if it kills me.  I decided that the buck stops with me and that things have got to get done under my own power (even if the world doesn’t want to cooperate with me). But, try as I might, I had to succumb to a simple fact: you can’t save the Titanic from sinking, it’s just its destiny.  So I took the news of her meltdown and taking off as the natural order of things because she has allowed all of her hurt to take her down.  There was nothing I or anyone else could have ever done to stop it.  I’ve been where she’s at and I can’t blame her for her actions, it’s how she’s programmed.  I can show her the path and support her with positivity until I’m blue in the face, but the simple fact remains, only she can stop her vicious cycle.

The thing is, looking at her, it reminds me that I still have so much work to do on myself.  I’m definitely on the path, I’m just not where I want to be yet.

But, after the phone call and e-mail telling me what happened, I jumped online, got on Vent and went to town.  I had to grab a young man, who admittedly has no common sense/courtesy filter, and tell him to engage it until he bled from it.  I took a woman who’s older than I am and got her in a headlock and explained to her that like me, we have to admit that we’re better healers than damage dealers and to get her backside onto her shaman and learn to heal and like it, because I sure as hell had to on my druid.  What’s Sheri’s first rule of thumb?  That I’ll never ask you to do something I wouldn’t do.  So, if I have to lump it, by Gods, so does she.  I explained to her point blank that even though we love our main specs, we’ve got to knuckle down and get the job done and although she loves playing her mage, she sucks at it.  However, I followed it up with the truth, she’s a great resto shaman and is a marvel at healing, so I’ve just taken the bull by the horns, said what needed to be said and she’s healing.  Period.  Then, I took off on my officers.  I grabbed my events girl by the throat and told her if I hear the word “bitch” pop out of her mouth one more time, she was going to get it.  Then after that, my beloved KP came in and by that time I was on a roll, so he unwittingly got it in the chops too when I told his A.D.D. habits to stow it and pick a damn toon and stick with it.  After that I laid down the law.  There is no racism in our guild chat and if someone even breathes in that direction, they’re going to catch it.  If people see other folks being boneheads, the officers have to jump on it.  Let me tell you, I let my presence be felt.

And this is the part of Mama Rel’s magic that everyone has discounted and not even thought of…over all the time I’ve made excuses for them, for all the time I’ve spent with them, I know them really well.  I’ve held them up with my positive attitude so I know how all of their minds work.  I told them point blank that I’m an ad girl, how we work is that brand = adjective (thank you Luke Sullivan) and that I can take every single one of them and say their name and what they equal as far as personality goes…for example:

Sheri = need to be loved/caretaker
KP = needs to be the Dad and call the shots/feel valued
Amy = needs to feel like she’s heard/seen

After listing the folks that were listening, I added, “Do I need to go on?  Because I can peg every single one of you.  Don’t you dare test me.”  And the funny part?  They all agreed I was right.  I’ve spent two and a half years getting to know all of their little quirks (just as they have mine) and I’ve communicated to them on their terms, filling in the needs they have or talking to their “adjective.”

It’s bad enough I’m stressed out by real life, I wasn’t going to let a video game screw up my night further.  If they can’t act right, then they’re going to get it.  Sometimes you have to be blunt and make your presence known…or as Dolly Parton said in the film Straight Talk, “You gotta honk your own horn, or else no one’s going to know you’re coming.”  And by the way I was honking my horn, they got the hell out the way because I wasn’t just some little Pinto coming down the road, I was a freight train coming down the tracks at a bone-crushing speed.

It’s not like they don’t know me.  I’m really simple.  I’m really sweet, so you can push and push and push and I usually let things slide, but once it’s too far, I’m an enormous freight train running 200 miles per hour taking out anything in my tracks.  Thing is though, I never do it without justification.  My father is like that.  We’re sweet and loving and all kinds of good things, but once we’ve been pushed too far and you get us going south, look out, you’re going to get it with both barrels and when it comes down, what’s left over isn’t pretty.

I live by the maxim “Make your words kind, gentle and tasteful, for one day you may be forced to eat them.”  I try really hard to make sure everything that comes out is nothing but good, positive things.  However, sometimes the kind and gentle things people NEED to hear aren’t exactly what they WANT to hear.  That’s the difference.

Which brings us back to the 90 cents in the bank account.  Whether I like it or not and whether I want to or not (and trust me I definitely want to) I’ve got to find work, and if folks don’t like it, tough, but I’ve got to find something soon.  I don’t have time to deal with drama in a video game.  That’s the place I go for a couple of hours to relax after dealing with all of the studying, dealing with the ex doing something idiotic and desperately trying to find some source of income.  If I don’t find $705 by the end of the month, I’m sunk!

Oh and by the way, I did get a call from a headhunter last week, believe it or not, the ex has been sending out resumes under my name to people I didn’t even know about with an e-mail address on the resume I had never even heard of!  Now here’s the part that’ll make you cringe…he was sending out work samples that weren’t even mine and had other people’s names on them.  The SOB is out there ruining my reputation and making me look like a fraud and I’m wondering why I can’t find work!  It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?  And the guildie doing her best impression of the Titanic thinks she has problems?  Helloooooooo!

Freight train is on the tracks…look out.  Coming through!

When Worlds Collide

I’ve been doing some digging on my server and well, I found some interesting stuff, the work I did that combined the world of There.com with Uru.  Now, as you may guess, it was never a very easy proposition to merge the two worlds because first, in the beginning most Therians didn’t like Uruites, and second, the rich graphic details that were in Uru weren’t truly possible (although we did our damndest to push the limits, just ask Tae and Majandi).

So, today, not a lot of writing, instead, more pictures…so here we go.

I was in the midst of doing some work on some guild tunics when I just burnt out of playing in There.  As I looked at them, I’m kind of sad they didn’t get finished…

The Cartographers:

And I believe the Maintainers got finished, I just can’t remember if I sent it over to the person who wanted them:

The Maintainers tunic/outfit was a labor of love.  Just to get that darn beetle just right took quite the bit of work, but it did turn out pretty, at least I think.  My favorite part?  The beetles on the shoes.

It was then I went and dug some more and found an old postcard I had made of me and Bahro Joe in Eder Kemo:

And my signature bar from the UruLive forums:

Then I found something that made me choke up a bit.  A signature bar that I had made for Pepsi, that I’m proud to say she saw before she linked to the Perfect Age:

But then I started finding more stuff!
The MAB shirts I made for my term:  
Now what’s not known is that I went through several permutations for that darned shirt.  Some examples went from absolutely nuts to “OMG WTF was she thinking?!”
Until of course, I got to the finished product:
(A test photo from my old house in Tyr.  Notice the Uru Linking Book to the left…)
After all that, I found photos of us at Mama Kitte’s Birthday Party:

(I was so proud, Mama Kitte wore the dress I made.)

(And in this photo, a rare moment of me wearing the Borg Queen costume I made.)



Then I found stuff from my surf shop!
The stuff I had made for guys that had never saw the light of day…
One of some of my bikini’s:
A TUV that I had released…
A bridal gown I made for someone:
My whacked out sense of haute couture:
Me in a Hairier Legion Cap:
And you know what, that’s just stuff I put up on my server…I was thinking about it, there is so much stuff on my old hard drive from There, Uru and WoW that omg, if I’d post them all, it’d be nuts.
Anyhow, there’s a walk down memory lane for ya…you know, from the T-shirts that read “The Bahro Are My Friends…And They Don’t Like You Very Much.” To all of my beautiful work that took Uru sensibility and introduced it to a world that liked to be more cartoon than anything else, I figure I did pretty good.
Like the old saying goes…”Home is where ever you make it.”

IMC Mid-term.

*Sigh*  I just finished studying for my IMC mid-term.  And yes, I do realize it’s after 3:00 in the morning.  This is how studying goes for me, I can never be prepared enough.

Yes, it’s a subject I know a lot about, after all, I’ve read Hey Whipple, Squeeze This four times on top of my textbook reading because I love advertising with all my heart and there’s so much I want to learn about it.  But, with all of the technical mumbo jumbo contained in a study guide that our professor gave us that has “shades” of the true textbook definitions, and in extension, the definitions I deal with every day and know by heart, the study guide has twisted them into something I barely recognize.

I think it’s hard when you’re taking a test on a subject you know a lot about because practical definitions sometime vary so greatly from textbook definitions.  I think that’s the point my professor is trying to get at, but at the same time, he’s been drilling us on the textbook definitions in class, but then we get onto the study guide it’s all about the “shades” of the definition, almost like we’re having to interpret it instead of give hard facts.

It’s frustrating to say the least when I have terms like “market share,” “frequency,” “reach,” floating around in my head on top of the broad definition of IMC, which if you want the textbook defintion it’s “Integrated Marketing Communications,” but the study guide terms it as “integrating all messages into a unified campaign.”  See what I mean?  It’s shades of the definition and it really leaves it up to you to decide what the professor is thinking, like I’m supposed to be some sort of clairvoyant and understand where he’s going with his shaded definitions.

I went through all of my notes, the book and the study guide with a fine tooth comb, even taking a break to read 20 pages in my history book.  Still, I don’t feel prepared enough.  However, the one thing I realize is that when you walk in to take an exam, you either know the material or you don’t, and considering how much I love the topic and have delved into it with all my heart, I should know the material pretty well, right?

I just keep thinking about the one day in class he asked us the difference between a brand and a product and I thought in the big umbrella term of corporate branding instead of thinking along the lines of the simplest definition, as in, the product is the physical object you’re buying and the brand is an emotional construct, leading us to the idea of brand loyalty and so forth.  No, I thought of Corporate Branding, as in the idea of the Nike swoosh, and how you might as well be a kamikaze pilot if you even think about sniffing at the redesign of a successful company logo, also known as a Corporate Brand.  See what I mean?  I keep thinking that during my exam I’m going to be thinking too much of the big picture instead of dumbing myself down to find the bare minimum answer he’s looking for.

But, talk about having my head too far into the big picture, I have to switch gears for a moment and tell you all about the fun I had today at school.  Thinking there was a internship event today (um, that would be NEXT Wednesday that it’s happening), I got all dressed up, hair curled and so forth, high heels and all and went to school like that.  Remember how I’ve been moaning in agony about the girls walking the mileage across UNLV in stilettos?  Well, I was only wearing a pair of heeled mules with a minor heel, nothing even near a stiletto, and I got across campus to my Global Media class and my feet felt like they had been put through the mill.  I sat in class kicking them off as far as I could without taking them off completely just to give my feet a repose from the mile walk from the Thomas and Mack parking lot to Greenspun Hall.

Lucky for me in Global Media today, I got reminded of one of my pals, Raj, (you know, the one that’s been watching out for me and telling me I should get out and date?  Yeah, him.) because Doc Fish decided to show a documentary in class called “Larger Than Life” all about Bollywood.  If you’ve not guessed yet, yes, Raj is Indian, but he’s not stereotypical at all. Raj is a unique individual who I think is a rock star by all accounts because he’s super stylish and…he’s got blonde highlights.  Now if that doesn’t strike you as someone who is huge into being a true individual, I don’t know what will.  He’s got a really beautiful wife who’s really awesome and if you knew him you’d say, “That guy is really together.”  I’ve known him for the last two years and he often comments about “The KP situation” which makes me laugh because he’s like a big brother constantly watching over me making sure my feelings don’t get hurt and he likes to make sure I’m happy no matter what I choose to do.  Most of all, he gets on my butt about not dating and how I should get out more.

But there I am, sitting in class and watching a documentary all about Indian media culture.  If you thought I was huge into movies, no, no, the Indians have me beat by a long shot.  You know how I write about how much I love movie soundtracks?  Folks in India actually do the choreography and songs from movies at their weddings!  Ok?  Is that not a culture huge into films or what?  However, here’s where it gets interesting.  Because Bollywood films are so epic and combine both song and dance, the big movie stars over there become pop stars as well.  You want to talk about laughing my butt off?  A guy, who in a ‘rockstar’ kind of way reminded me of Raj, started jamming out to this really (from my American viewpoint) bizarre mix of Indian music and techno/electronica…then there was a girl dancing beside him in a traditional Indian sari and she’s jamming down with him.  Culture shock!  And what made me laugh the hardest, they were doing all that on the top of a train crowded with people and other dancers.  It was like I had entered some surreal world that combined Ghandi with a rave.  If you’ve grown up the way I have, it was a moment that made me shake my head a bit just to wrap my mind around it.

However, the Bollywood documentary had to come to an end and I had to get across to my Personal Growth class (remember, it’s a mile, plus some, from Greenspun Hall) with my feet telling me they hated me the whole way.  The fourth toe on my right foot is still giving me the riot act and it’s been over 12 hours since I’ve been home and taken those blasted shoes off.   But Personal Growth was fun today as we talked about the Love Triangle.  Ok, it’s not what you think, turn off the version of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” that’s playing in your head because it’s a different thing altogether.  It’s all about the corners which are Intimacy, Passion and Dedication/Commitment, and the varying degrees or opposites that go along with it.  Yeah, this week in PG it’s all about looooove.  You know how I feel about the topic of love, nutritional value and all that jazz, but there were some things in the book on the topic that made me a bit uneasy and acted like a sign that there was more stuff to be worked through.

Anyhow, as I walked back to the car, cursing my shoes, I realized a few things; I have friends who are really unique and marvelous that should be told what a gift their unique perspective gives my life, AND my one valuable lesson for the day:

I’m never wearing heels to school again.

But thinking about school and looking at the clock, ACK!  I’ve got to get to bed.

Wish me luck on my mid-term!  Um, I’ll be wearing tennis shoes for it.

Ahhh, Riven…

Authors Note: Beware, I’m totally geeking out on the Myst Universe in this post.  
Ok, let’s start out with a small confession…as blasphemous as this may sound to all my resident Myst maniacs and beloved fellow Uruites, I’m so ashamed, I confused Riven and Exile tonight.  
Wait!  Before you string me up by the Great Tree, I have to point a finger…It’s KP’s fault!  I was talking to him on the phone and well, I was describing the beautiful flowers of Edanna and had my head all wrapped up in that, and I installed the wrong game.  I meant to spend the evening in Edanna and Ameteria in Myst III: Exile, and well, I goofed.  Instead of spending time with the flowers, trees, dynamic forces and ol’ friendly Saveedro’s hammer, I spent the evening battling Gehn on Riven.
Shoot me, ok?  Just shoot me.  I am not worth the ink my book is written with, I’m so ashamed!  In my defense, I will say it’s been over seven years since the last time I played either one of them, although I am a regular in cavern in the late evening hours.  Now as Tae would tell me, “Don’t worry, it’s still a part of the Myst Universe,” and while she’d be right, well heck, I wanted to play Exile, but I couldn’t afford to blow any more time on installation.  Yes, it sounds lazy but I had a bunch of reading to do, so I didn’t get started until late, so you’ll just have to forgive me for it.
I have to say, even though I had my heart set on Exile, Riven was a breath of fresh cavern air.  I had forgotten how wonderful Riven was, from the blabbering fella who gets darted from the get-go to playing with the Whark and the counting machine, it was a real treat.
Oh, for all of you non-Myst folks out there who have yet to experience the perfection that is all things Myst, here, this is a Whark:
Cute, isn’t he?  Ok, ok, so maybe a Whark isn’t your speed, but he sure is mine!  Hey, I’m the same girl who got bit in the head by a shark, so cut me some slack if I think a Whark is precious.
Well, maybe a Sunner is more your speed…
Either way, the Myst Universe is chocked full of great critters.  By way of Exile, we got introduced to a Squee…

Isn’t it just precious?  Yes, I have a friend by the name of Country Squee…and she’s awesome along with all of her many ranches full of Alpacas. (Hi Squee!)
But all of the cuddly Myst animals aside, I got to spend time in Riven
First thing out of the gate, I swore to myself, “NO WALKTHROUGHS!”  The hallmark of a true Myst fan is that you can do the puzzles with no help.  It’s all a matter of using your D’ni logic.  Rule 1:  Make sure the power is on (and directed to the right spot).  Rule 2: Explore every nook and cranny.
The opening pages to the Riven user’s manual gave the quote of the night:
An old D’ni proverb reads, “Lose your questions and you will find your answers.”

And believe it or not, I was looking at it while the game was installing and I was on the phone with KP.  I stopped dead in my tracks and said, “Oh my gosh…KP, you’ll never believe what I just read,” and I read that proverb to him adding, “You know, I should remember that when I ask you deep questions at 3 a.m.”  He went on to talk about how sometimes it’s wise to not question and instead, just observe.
Well, sure enough, KP and I get off the phone and I fire up the game.  Then after a few minutes of trying to figure out how to get to Edanna through Riven (Oy veh. Doc, I need to have my head examined… and Tae, don’t you start…) I realized I was hell and gone from anywhere near Exile.
However, I will say, I’m very proud of myself…even after getting trapped in a cell, then watching the jabbering fella on Tay get darted, then watch as a Moiety jammed one of their famous daggers into the works (gotta think of Tae again there, she made us Moiety daggers to hang on our door frames in There.com), I figured, what the heck…here we go!  I zoomed straight over to the boiler tank (Riven (or as Gehn says, “Age Five”) runs on steam you know) and got everything working right.  I dumped the water out, caught the frog, and went nuts.  I was so happy, I got through a puzzle with no help, just plain ol’ D’ni logic and after nine years of having to use it almost constantly, you better believe I was tickled pink.  I was reading the D’ni numbers on sight (although I did mess up 10 and 15…) Oh yeah, that’s right, not all of my fellow Sophomores are versed in D’ni numbers…here, have a chart so you can see how I can screw up 10 and 15 because I forget which gets the bent glyph and which gets the angles…
And yes folks, I can read the numbers on sight with no key.  Ok, Tae, stop laughing!  I’m serious!  They don’t know that the number three in D’ni, which looks remarkably like the letters “KI,” which is also the name of our cavern communication device that serves three functions (camera, chat and journal) is pronounced the same way…”key” and the rest of you can NOT give me a hard time, I’ve heard people pronounce KI as “Kai” when it’s really said “Key.”  So pffft.  And it’s an entire debate that’s taken me off topic!  I’ll argue it with my fellow Uruites on Funday down in the ‘hood.
Anyhow, I got down to the classroom in Riven and about keeled over.  I was “awwww”‘ing all over the place, and most of all, I played with the counting machine until I nearly fell over.  As the numbers would come up, I’d read them and sure enough, right every time, counting the little guys going into the whark’s mouth, squealing with joy.  I know my numbers Auntie Soosi and I lit Firemarbles just for you as I remembered the Society for the Protection of Firemarbles!
For the non-Myst folks, this is the counting machine:
The two pieces hanging from the strings are little men who drop down the number that’s displayed in the center (which in this example is a two).  When they get close to the Whark’s mouth (on the right, mounted in the base) it eats them.
I waded through the puzzles until I saw the time…oops, I have an early class in the morning, but that wasn’t until I got to Age 233 and heard Gehn’s blathering about how he’s a changed man (which garnered hollers of “yeah right, buddy!” and lots of “boo!”) I realized I better hit “save” and return to it tomorrow.
However, the best part of the evening?  Beating the puzzles with no help.  I was cheering my head off every time I beat a puzzle and screaming, “Take that Rand!” and getting up for bio-breaks singing to myself, “Walk like a D’ni Girl…”  
You know after telling so many people about how great the Myst Universe is, I just had to go back in and spend an evening being Mystified…(ok you can boo at that corny joke.)
Ahhh, Riven.  
For you iPhone people, you know there is Myst and Riven for your iPhones…pick it up…it’s highly addictive and SO much fun!
Myst Universe for the win, baby!

Morning Glory.

What’s the one thing you can always count on from me?  My regular habit for watching movies on iTunes.  I think it’s one of the greatest things to come along in a while.  I’m sure some of you have Netflix or some other favorite method of picking up a movie, but for me, it’s iTunes all the way.

Last night, after some not too wonderful moments being a guild master with a problematic guildie, I decided it was time for a movie, and by extension, a movie review for y’all.
Last night’s movie was “Morning Glory” with Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford and Patrick Wilson.
Side note:  Patrick Wilson is really getting close to the hotties list.  He might make it one day, but not yet.
Let’s talk about the film.  As an IMC major (which is housed within the journalism school), I’m faced with a whole college catalog filled with broadcast classes that I may want to look into.  Personally, I want to take a  radio class (because I just have one of those voices), but I’m also shoulder to shoulder with some broadcast majors.  I never could get into the whole newsroom mentality, so I figured that any film in the same vein as “Broadcast News,” “Network,” the very classic “All The President’s Men” and so forth would help me understand the “inside the newsroom” mentality.  On top of all of that, we have Rachel McAdams character having to manage difficult personalities, and being that was my problem earlier in the evening, it was nice to watch how someone else handles situations like that.
Overall, the movie was mildly funny, I did have some laugh out loud moments and it was wonderful to watch a girl with a positive attitude win the day.  However, it was problematic and had a very abrupt way of telling the story, like the editor had a field day trying to make the movie feel fast paced when the only thing fast paced was McAdams’ characters rambling speech and watching her running around incessantly frazzled.
Harrison Ford played a character that seemed very cardboard codgery.  He played a news anchor that was at the end of the line but acted like he was too good to take part in the one thing that could save his career along with the view down his nose that made me feel that the character had an ever-present need to annoy McAdams’ character.
Diane Keaton was fun and very backseat to what was going on.  It just looked like she was there to have some fun and pick up a paycheck.
Patrick Wilson’s character got far too underplayed.  He was McAdams’ love interest in the film and it just seemed like there was so much to explore in the relationship between the two, but the movie, like McAdams’ character, didn’t have the time to really show us what a great guy he was.  I was disappointed in that because the movie seemed like it was trying to cover too many bases.  It took us to places we didn’t want to go (bizarre segments) and then the things that really cried to be explored (the McAdams/Wilson romance), weren’t.
The film reminded me of one I saw a while back with Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman called “Someone Like You” which focused on a television show producer (played by Judd).  However instead of spreading itself too thin, as Morning Glory did in several places, “Someone Like You” stuck to focusing on the romance side instead of the television show environment hence the film worked and it was funny.  However “Morning Glory” decided it was going to spend more time in the studio rather than explore the romance.  What struck me as odd, and it seemed misplaced, was watching Harrison Ford’s character “Pomeroy” taking the time to explain to McAdams’ character that being a workaholic leaves you with only one thing, an empty house and points her back to the romantic plot line with Wilson.  But all of that really didn’t fit with the overall story and it left me kind of apathetic and not really emotionally drawn/attached to what was happening to McAdams’ character because I didn’t know what part of the story to be focused on.
Then came the ending.  It was confusing and really bad.  We never get the impression that McAdams and Wilson are going to live happily ever after, we only see them walking together at the end separately, no hand holding or closeness, more like two colleagues discussing things rather than lovers, although we do see her back at his apartment very briefly, but we only see her and his refrigerator, we don’t see him.  Then there’s a shot of McAdams’ characters mother, who we only saw for one scene in the film (where she tells her daughter to give up on her dreams, and yes, I threw some popcorn at the screen for that with an explicative or two thrown at the mother for telling her daughter such nonsense), then we only see her for a few brief moments at the end smiling as she puts up a newspaper clipping on her refrigerator that celebrates her daughter’s success (which was very unnecessary IMO, she didn’t believe in her daughter, therefore to me doesn’t deserve consideration, much less her weepy look that said she knew she was wrong), then we see Ford and Keaton (who hated each other the whole film) sneaking back to Ford’s office for some implied intimacy.  Then finally, the closing scene shows McAdams and Ford walking down a deserted street at sunrise discussing story ideas for the show with Ford shooting down McAdams’ story ideas with a “No, no, no,” which he spent the entire film telling McAdams anyway.
Overall, “Morning Glory” is one to wait for it to come on cable.  I’m sad I rented it, but it did have some laugh out loud moments that allowed me some relief.  It wasn’t the best film I’ve seen, but looking at the brief moments where Wilson is present and showing some charm gave it some minor nutritional value.
Oh well, we win some, we lose some.   At least I’m keeping my head in the game.  I’m an Ad girl.  That’s my dream and well, if “Morning Glory” did nothing, it reminded me of one thing, to keep after my dreams, no matter what anyone says and I guess in the end, that was the whole point of the story.
So, for the song of the day, I give you a song from the film, Natasha Bedingfield’s “Strip Me.”

A Fish Story.

Note: I decided to edit this story today (5/13/2015) to clean it up a bit and add some photos that had disappeared during the migration between my old blog and the new site (along with adding the photo of me in my chain mail). At the time of the original writing in March of 2011, I was in school and playing World of Warcraft in my spare time.

I hope you enjoy the revamped version of “A Fish Story” taken from my time as a Naturalist and diver at Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. 

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It’s time for a fish story.

While I was doing my bit of daily questing in WoW yesterday, I went and picked up the fishing daily called “Rock Lobster.”  Before you even ask, yes, it’s named after the song by the B-52’s. However, here’s the part that sticks out: in the quest instructions it reminds you to watch out for sharks.  And yes, there are some fairly large sharks in Stormwind Harbor. While doing the quest, it reminded me of one of my favorite fish stories, from my days working at an aquarium.

Well, how can you work at a predator-based aquarium filled with sharks and not at least have one colorful story to share?

At the turn of the millennium, part of my job as a Naturalist was to suit up in a wetsuit and scuba gear, (often chain mail too) and dive the aquarium’s exhibits. Back then, all of the departments, Aquarists, Dive Specialists, Educators (which included the Naturalists) and Engineering Staff, chipped in to share the load of cleaning the acrylic windows, artificial coral and give an occasional wave at the passing tourists. We were stakeholders in making sure the aquarium was the very best it could be so we could better share our love of the animals with the guests we interacted with on a daily basis. Along the way, I got the proud distinction of being the very first female Naturalist to dive the main exhibit at Shark Reef.

To put it in a nutshell, I’ve been bit in the hand and backside (along with a few other places) by sharks. Before you get excited, don’t worry, none of them were big enough to do any real damage, you just had to expect that given where you worked, it was just an occupational hazard. And YES, a shark really did bite me in the butt. Laugh if you must, but the baseball-sized bruise was nothing to laugh at, thank you very much.

One of my funnier stories about my time at the aquarium is the day I had a close encounter with a Zebra Shark who thought my head looked pretty tasty. Yes, you read right, my HEAD.

Back in the day, there was a juvenile female Zebra Shark by the name of “Priscilla” who lived in one of the exhibits. We all just called her “‘Scilla” (yes, after Elvis’ wife) for short.

Before we get into what ‘Scilla did on that warm spring afternoon, let’s talk about Zebra Sharks. Not to take the wind out of the Discovery Channel and Shark Week’s sails, I’m just give you a quick little precis, particularly about what’s going on with the business end since that’s what I encountered first hand (or head, in this case).

Zebra sharks patrol the ocean floor, much like a Nurse shark.  Their staple diet are things like mollusks, crustaceans and other bottom dwellers along with the occasional fish. Short answer is that it feeds like a vacuum cleaner.  How it works is that they literally suck in everything in front of their mouth with one big, quick gasp. To facilitate this feeding style, mother nature situated their mouths beneath their heads, here have a picture:

Notice the mouth on the Zebra shark, it’s relatively small and  situated beneath the body.

The “dangerous” teeth for a Zebra shark are located in the back of the mouth, but they don’t work like yours or mine, it works more like a meat grinder. The little teeth up front act purely to get some grip and hold onto their prey while they suck their food into the grinding teeth in the back. So basically, this shark (and others similar to it) is a swimming Hoover. Once she sucks something up, it’s going to have one hell of a time getting loose.

The other thing you’re going to see right away is that there are no big teeth in front, no, no, that would be too obvious. The part that makes this shark so adorable is that they look harmless, which we all know is the best way to conceal a mischievous spirit. Had ‘Scilla looked menacing, she wouldn’t have been able to pull the hijinks she did and get the ancillary nickname of “finned menace”.

Ok, so now that you are up to speed on the oral physiology of this fish, let’s go to the scene of the crime.

It was a wonderful Wednesday afternoon, and I got assigned to clean the second largest exhibit in the place, one known by the staff as “A7.”  So, I get suited up, pull my pack (BC, Rig and Tank) onto the caddy, we make the five minute walk over to the exhibit and my dive buddy and I get into the water.

The A7 Tunnel. What happened to me was on the other side of the coral on the right hand side. See that shark at the top of the tunnel, the blur? That’s about the size ‘Scilla was that day.

Cleaning an aquarium exhibit is a lot like cleaning your fish tank at home, except we were armed with pressure washers, scrub brushes and window cleaning gear.  Where as you cleaning your home aquarium has you reaching into the tank, we swam in the exhibits.  To be honest, you know those little aquarium decorations like the bubbling treasure chest and the little diver dude featured in Finding Nemo?  I felt like a girl version of the little diver dude.  But I digress.

So, there I was in the exhibit, swimming around cleaning fake coral. Not a bad way to spend two hours of your work day, is it?  As was the norm, every time we got into the water, we became an immediate attraction for every tourist that passed by the exhibit windows. Dive after dive, I waved at drunk college students, drunk adults and families of all shapes and sizes. They squealed, “Oooh! Diver!” I thought, “Yeah! Oooh! Look at the Underwater Janitor.”

That afternoon I was doing my usual scrubbing on a piece of table coral when I looked up and saw a man at the window holding his infant daughter. So, I put my scrub brush into the pocket of my BC and went to do some ‘guest interaction’ time. I figured I would go play with the baby for a minute then go back to scrubbing.  I swam up to the window to find the baby riveted on me and my bubbles. So, I took out my standard regulator (that’s the mouthpiece that gives you air, you know) and replaced it with my spare emergency one (also known as an ‘octopus’).  I swam closer to the window and held out my regulator and tapped my purge button.  (The purge button purges water from the regulator so you don’t breathe in water, it also happens to make a good bunch of entertaining bubbles for babies watching you dive.)  As I held up the regulator, the baby reached for it on the other side of the acrylic, as if to say, “pacifier?”  Ok, how novel is that for a kid, a bubbling pacifier?  It was cute and the father was having a laugh riot watching the baby trying to grab hold of it.  It was right in the middle of the cute series of events that ‘Scilla just had to get in on the action.

Before I go further, I must say this for ‘Scilla, I really liked that fish.  She was beautiful, had some spunk and she also, on a previous dive, did something that I will never forget. A few months previous, my dive buddy for that exact same exhibit was my ex-husband, and for that particular dive, we used AGA Masks (underwater coms, very cool tech) that let you talk while you dive. Mid-way through the two-hour dive, out of nowhere, the headphones in my mask begin to blare with him swearing up a storm in French. The image of what I saw when I turned around is now burnt permanently into my memory. I spun around to find a 6’4″, 225 pound man standing in the middle of the exhibit for all to see, freaking out with ‘Scilla attached to his whatevers. She latched on and bit him in the groin and had no intention of letting go anytime soon. I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there. The more he tried to pry the fish loose, the harder she bit down. Finally, by some miracle, he got her to let go, but all during the process, I was rendered helpless, I nearly drowned I was laughing so hard. Point to ‘Scilla! Fish 1, Ex-Husband 0.  How, and more importantly WHY, that fish got attached to his crotch, I’ll never know, but every time I remember turning around in the exhibit only to see him freaking out with a shark attached so extremely (and uncomfortably) close to his privates, it still makes me laugh really hard. My point is, she was definitely a repeat offender. It didn’t matter who you were, if you were in the exhibit with ‘Scilla, you knew something was bound to happen because she held nothing and no one sacred. (Imagine a Jack Russell with fins…that was ‘Scilla.) Which leads us back to that Wednesday afternoon with me, ‘Scilla and the baby.

So there I am playing with the baby on the other side of the exhibit window and all of a sudden I feel this huge, painful YANK at the top of my head.  I immediately stopped what I was doing and reached up to feel what was yanking at me.  I reach up with both hands, and feeling around the object, I figure out…it’s ‘Scilla…and she’s got the top of my dive hood in her mouth along with a large chunk of my hair and some scalp. Only one exasperated word flashed through my mind as my eyes narrowed…”FISH.” Well, it was only a matter of time, wasn’t it? (It’s karma. This is what I get for laughing at my ex-husband.)

At seeing the shark intentionally attach itself to my head, the dad holding the baby went pale. He’s watching me with this shark stuck to the top of my head, the fish and its’ tail waving around like a fancy Vegas showgirl headdress! I’m smacking the fish with my hands, grabbing onto the bulk of its’ body with both hands and yanking at it, trying in vain to get it off. Meanwhile, the dad holding the baby yells to his wife, and with the wife comes about 50 people and they’re all watching me yanking on that stupid fish to get it off my head. Just as before, the more ya pull, the more ‘Scilla digs in.

After about five minutes of me with my arms up trying to remove the shark from my head, I finally give it all I’ve got, and in the process I removed the fish, and by extension, a chunk of my hair, my mask and my hood. (If you’d insert the sound of a cork coming out of a champagne bottle, you wouldn’t be far wrong.) I couldn’t see anything after I got the fish off my head, so I swam to the surface.  When I got to the surface of the water, I spit out my regulator and yelled out for my dive tender, screaming, “Bonnie!  I’ve been accosted!”  She looks at me and says, “‘Scilla?”  I laughed and said, “Yep.”  It was then that Bonnie looked at me and said, “Sheri, where’s your hood and your mask?”  I replied, “In ‘Scilla’s mouth,” at which we both erupted into laughter.

Looking down through the surface of the water to try to find the fish that decided to make off with some of my dive gear, I spot her swimming on the other side of the exhibit.  I swim over, get my gear back, I put my hood and mask back on, put my regulator back in my mouth and submerge again, thinking that I was just going to go back to cleaning coral.

As I submerged, I glanced back to where the baby was before the whole mess began. And what do you think I was faced with?  About 100 people with mouths hanging open who had just witnessed ‘Scilla and I battling it out, her stealing my stuff along with a little patch of my hair!  I go back into the window and wave, but all I got were people holding up the “ok” sign with their hands, worried if I was okay or not.  I gave them the “ok” sign in return and they all started clapping and cheering.  I even played it up a bit as ‘Scilla swam by again, making moves like a boxer warming up.  Lucky for me, the crowd moved on and I got back to work. When I got out, we walked back across to the locker room and all we heard was “did you see the diver get bit in the head?”

‘Scilla is still swimming around in that aquarium, albeit in a bigger exhibit, to this day.  I still really do love that fish. She’s got style, on top of that, there weren’t many divers she didn’t accost at that aquarium. She grabbed just about any body part she felt like, heads, scalps, ears, fingers, arms, legs…whatevers…(it’s going to be a long, long time before I let that one go.) I’m still convinced she was like a puppy who just wanted lovin’s and attentions. She was a sweetheart, that was unless she was attached to one of your body parts.

I miss ‘Scilla sometimes, head biting and hair pulling aside, I’m always grateful to her because without her I wouldn’t have a great story to tell.

But I guess everyone has a fish story or two like that, don’t they?

For those of you who haven’t seen it, here is a photo of me in 2000 geared up in my chainmail, diving the main exhibit A13 or as it is known “The Shipwreck”:

The Eternal Sophomore in Chain Mail
When I worked there, chainmail was only used for dives in the main exhibit (because the animals in the rest of the exhibits weren’t big enough to warrant it). If you add it up, I was wearing 16 pounds of chainmail, carrying a 20 pound pack, with 7 extra pounds of weight in order to achieve neutral buoyancy. Getting into the water was a bear, but after getting in, it was easy to maneuver in.

A Trip Through the Linking Book

For those of you who didn’t see my winning post at Mystmovie.com, here ya go, my story, “A Trip Through the Linking Book.”

Enjoy!

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I often write in my blog about the wonderful adventures I’ve had by just picking up my Myst Reader, logging in to Myst Online, or just booting up my favorite in the franchise, Myst IV, to hear Peter Gabriel’s voice bring Dream to life.  But to be honest, my favorite part of being involved in the Myst Universe is that it never fails to inspire.

I started out on my journey in 2003 when I just kept eating through game title after game title.  To be honest, I was stuck in a foreign country with no friends, so the only thing I could do, outside of cleaning my house, was play games.  And did I play.  The game boxes started stacking up as I’d go through a title or more per week.  Seeing that he couldn’t sustain that kind of consumption, my ex-husband asked me one night at dinner if I had ever heard of the game “Myst.”  Not knowing what it was, I wondered what he could have been eluding to, referring to the spatial problem solving he had mentioned.  Later that week, he brought me a very old version of Myst.  I loaded it up and began to play, but this time instead of decimating the game in a week, Myst took me over a month to finally finish.  At that point I was hooked.  At around that same time, a commercial was playing on television, one that had the music of Peter Gabriel singing “Burn you up, burn you down” while these amazing graphics and images of mushrooms went across the screen.

A few months later, after begging profusely, underneath the Christmas tree was a brand new box containing Uru: Ages Beyond Myst.  After I installed the game, I went to work on it, savoring every last beautiful detail, listening to the music and being enthralled at the sight of an avatar that looked just like me wandering the great city of D’ni.

Back in 2003 when Myst Online first opened, I was lucky enough to be invited (in the great clerical error of very early 2004) to the open beta test.  It was there, among lag and countless restarts, that I bumped into a wonderful woman named “Pepsi”.  She was a real treasure.  In the early days of UruLive, sitting on the worn stone floors of a neighborhood, Pepsi taught me some of the base tenets of the Myst Universe: that I should always greet everyone I meet with a smile on my face and love in my heart; that there is no room for bigotry or bias; that the world is meant to be explored one stone, and one dream, at a time.

After being ‘adopted’ by Pepsi, we ran everywhere together. And I do mean RAN. If you knew Pepsi, you will agree with me when I say that when it was time, Pepsi didn’t fool around. If she was set on doing something, it got done. But if you were with her, you didn’t walk, you didn’t dawdle, you didn’t jog, you RAN. And more than likely, you were laughing all the while your hand and wrist was cramping from trying to keep up with her. Daring jumps that made most people reach out to their Relto books for safety? Oh no, that wouldn’t do, Pepsi jumped headlong into the breach. She was truly fearless and she dragged my terrified backside along behind her, always saying, “Come on, you can do it!”

When she wasn’t online and I was alone, I would spend hour upon hour in-world, scouring it to learn all I could about the fascinating world she had welcomed me into. I went through each of the ages, from The Cleft to Gahreesen, scouring and exploring every last nook and cranny of the game with a fine-toothed comb, searching for journals that held game lore, reading practically everything could get my hands (and mouse pointer) on; then memorizing the city itself, every inch of navigable (and sometimes not-so-navigable) terrain I could get my avatar’s feet on, so that I could navigate Ae’gura’s streets like a true D’ni native.  It was after so many hours spent immersing myself in the Myst Universe that I realized I had finally found a place that felt like a true home. I was lucky enough that, during the brief time that UruLive existed, I made so many friends and was wholeheartedly accepted into a very unique family.  And that woman named “Pepsi” was the beating heart of it all.

The adventure had only begun when it came crashing down on us like a great cave-in. Ubisoft, the game’s publisher, had deemed our community “financially non-viable”. A bean counter, a person who had no idea what they had in their hands, pulled the plug on our world because our community of 10,000 wouldn’t service the bottom line and turn a big enough profit for them. Uru, the one place in the universe that can teach anyone to live without succumbing to the seven deadly sins, was killed by greed. It was catastrophic, leaving  a community of 10,000 to cope with the loss of friends that had quickly congealed into a giant family. We literally became a diaspora. A people without a home.

After UruLive closed down, in my efforts to cope with the enormous loss, I went back and played Riven and Exile.  Lucky for me, right about that same time, Myst IV: Revelation was coming out with the creative ground zero, “Revelation Lair”, being at Ubisoft’s Montreal Studio. Thank goodness for forums, because I was lucky enough to communicate with some of the greats of the community which allowed me to be invited and attend the “Quad-M” or The Montreal Mini-Mysterium Meet where I got to go to Revelation Lair and meet the game designers, sound designers and the wonderful folks who brought a piece of the Myst Universe to life.  I still have my M4 coffee mugs from that day and they’re used quite regularly.  I have photographs from those days of us hugging Pepsi bottles and sending photos to Pepsi to let her know she was with us in spirit the whole way. Before social media, we found a way to make sure that Pepsi could say she was at the Quad-M.

But then came a glimmer, then there was hope, finally, an announcement that the one place (in the entire universe) that I had finally found a home was going to be available again.  I could go home, take a breath of metaphoric cavern air, sit on the grass of my relto and be at peace.  We were being given a beautiful second chance: UntilUru, fondly remembered as “UU”.

When we stepped into UntilUru, I got together with some friends and created the D’Olympics (they later changed the name to the D’ni Games).  You see, the woman who taught me how to live as a part of the Myst Universe was a bit of a mystery herself.  I found out a few months after UruLive closed that she had juvenile arthritis and had been bound to a motorized wheelchair since she was 14 years old. When I met her, she was 51.

All that running we did in Cavern, she couldn’t do in real life.  She loved to run, and I remember a comment she had made that running in Uru was the first time, since she had been bound to her wheelchair, that she ever felt like she could actually run again.  When I found out about her illness, it hit me like a ton of bricks:

My best pal and ‘running buddy’ couldn’t runPeriod.

My mind reeled. All those things I took for granted in my every day life, that I could run, jump and climb any time I felt like it, go to the gym, slap on my new Armond hiking boots and climb the mountains of the Adirondacks…all those things that I could do, Pepsi couldn’t.  It never even occurred to me for a moment that she couldn’t. As far as I knew, she was just like me!

When I found out she couldn’t walk, I got hit by a tidal wave of shame. The pride that I was so warned about through all those months of living and breathing the storyline of Uru came crashing down on me.  How could I be so prideful?  How could I be so unthinking?  We always said, “You NEVER EVER KNOW who is on the other side of the screen.”

So after coping with the knowledge of Pepsi’s situation, and watching a woman put together the Athens Olympic games, I sat down with a few friends and we designed the first D’ni Games in Pepsi’s honor.  If she loved to run, then I was going to build her a marathon course, and we did.  We had everything you can imagine, from the opening ceremonies to the marathon, all sorts of running events, people playing Ayoheek, diving competitions, you name it, if it was possible to be done with the physics engine of that game and the imagination of the players, we did it.

After three months of planning and countless man hours, over a weekend in October, the games ran for 72 hours solid, the first large scale event of its’ kind ever undertaken.  There were hundreds of volunteers and hundreds of virtual athletes, the Myst Universe became a place where people not only solved puzzles together, but where players from around the world came together in friendly competition.  There was even a man who made up medals and mailed them to the winners.

The day of the opening ceremonies, we waited for Pepsi but she never came.  Her health by that time was in decline.  She had gone in for a procedure and the pain made it so that she couldn’t play.  She never saw the marathon run and she died three months later on December 28, 2004.  But to this day, I don’t take a step in a virtual world or the real world without remembering her.

After I moved back to Las Vegas, I found the Myst Reader in a local bookstore.  I soaked up every page.  I went through the three novels in a matter of days, chuckling at the screenshots inside the cover of the ages of Er’cana and Ahnonay.  The Book of D’ni is my favorite by far, Windgroveisms aside, I found that the relyimah of Tehranee were kindred spirits of mine.  In my life I’ve seen the cruelty of other human beings all too often and to see it personified in the shorn heads and black clad bodies of the Relyimah, it made me weep.  It also gave me the strength to stand up for myself.  After all I had gone through in my personal life, the abuse, trauma and so forth along with the prejudice we were shown when part of the Uru community moved over to There.com only to be treated as relyimah and taking years to become a recognized, positive force in the community, I relented and moved my virtual life to World of Warcraft where my night elf druid named “Relyimah” (after the slaves of Tehrahnee) could literally turn into a great tree, heal those in need and spread the word of the Myst Universe.

I go to sleep every night after reading passages from three books, The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, The Republic by Plato and The Myst Reader.  All three books have helped me become a better person by just touching them.  They’re my link to wisdom because I realize what Socrates said was true, “The wisest person in the world realizes they know nothing.”  But I also remember that just like the great city of D’ni, things we hold dear can vanish just as quickly as it came to us.  The perfection of the city, the time spent in the young days of UruLive, the fleeting time I got to spend with Pepsi, they’re all gone now, but as the great writer I am, those days will live on in my memory, always tied to the beauty of Myst.

I might sound like a lunatic who takes the Myst Universe far too seriously, but to be honest, Myst taught me a lot, it saw me through recovering from addiction, it gave me purpose and it gave me what no one or nothing could.  Hope.  So to me, I’ll thump my Myst Reader at anyone who will stop and listen.  I’m an Uruite, a citizen of the Deep City of D’ni.

Long live the Myst Universe.  Cavern Blood Runs Deep.

The Spring Break Research Experiment…

Ok guys, I’ve got a brand new experiment I’m doing during spring break…and this has got to be one of the most outlandish things I’ve done in quite a while.

Let’s go back a couple of weeks.  My pal Raj, the sweet, darling man he is, has just been haranguing me to get out and date.  Haley is also on a mission to get me out of the house as well.  They’re just on a mission to get me hooked up with someone and my answer is always undeniably, “No.”  I have no want, need or desire to date.

Try this…on two consecutive nights, An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle were playing on television.  For all of the gals out there, you will nod your head in agreement that An Affair to Remember is the ultimate chick flick.  I sat on vent with Amy and KP doing the ooh’s and eek’s that go along with watching the movie…ok here, try this.  Rita Wilson summed it up perfectly in Sleepless in Seattle

Of course, men just don’t get it.  They’re not genetically wired to understand it at all, that’s why you get this “guy’s response” to it…

After trying in vain to explain the whole mystery of An Affair to Remember to KP, the man just did. not. get it. Instead, he talked about how he and his sons cried at the season finale of a reality cooking show.  Really?  Is that the extent that men go emotionally?  Sufficed to say, my Dad cries at the schmaltzy chick flicks.  I can only think that it’s because he’s so secure in who he is, he doesn’t care…ok, or more to the point, until now, most of the world didn’t know he did it.  However, it doesn’t remotely begin to explain modern man’s inability to be emotionally available.  Which brings me to the point…if men aren’t emotionally available, why in hell would I want to date one of them?  If they can’t bring themselves to sit in front of a classic film like An Affair to Remember why in hell would I want to be around them?  To a man, watching An Affair to Remember is the movie equivalent of carrying a Victoria’s Secret bag around in the mall.  One chauvinistic a-hole I know once told me that a man carrying a Victoria’s Secret bag was a “man-card violation.”  Please, it just says you went and picked up something for the special woman in your life.  But I digress.

After the whole dual-day, double feature of An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle, I decided to undertake an experiment.  After all, it’s Spring Break for me, and besides cleaning the house, doing laundry and playing WoW, what the hell else do I have to do?  Not a lot.  So, after the horror of Stoney’s last weekend, I decided to spend the week on an online dating site, research the topic and relay the experience as a great series of blog posts and while I’m at it, getting a few laughs.  Now, let’s be clear, I have no intention whatsoever about going on a date with ANYONE.  I’m doing this for topic fodder, nothing more.  Online friends I have by the dozens, we share great times playing video games together, I’m all about that, but finding a date online?  Um….that would be NO.

So, here’s what has happened so far:  I looked at tons of online dating sites, eHarmony, Match.com, a whole list of them, but settled on one with an outlandish name.  Truthfully, I can’t use eHarmony because I was honest on my questionnaire for them and got rejected because I’m not divorced yet, so I had to go with something else.  Now, I’m not going to say which site because I don’t want y’all pawing around or tampering with my research, but I will say that it’s filled with people.  Just for the sake of true quantitative and qualitative research, I got myself a free trial membership, filled out the questionnaire honestly, constructed my profile, uploaded a picture and so forth so I could get the entire experience and could see what this whole online dating thing was about, and oh, one day in, I already have stories to tell.  LOL.

Remember a couple of posts ago I talked about Sheila Kelly’s character “Debbie Hunt” in the film Singles and how she says, “Desperation, it’s the world’s worst cologne”?  Well, I have to say, I’ve had a scream laughing my head off at the guys who are messaging me on this site!  They’re reeking of desperation.

As a part of the experiment, I’m going to be showing you VERBATIM what has been sent to me, capitalization errors, poor spelling and so forth…

Some of the more memorable messages I’ve gotten have been:

  1. With the message title, “student?” A 48 year-old man sent this:  “I’m good st givining lessons ?”
    To which I almost replied “L2 Spell?”  (Which means “learn to spell.”)

    It was followed by me getting really close to telling him, “Type with your fingers, not your fists, because we know what you’re doing with them,” but I just left that spelling challenged man to his own demise with no response.

  2. With the message title “fortune favors the bold .” A 55 year-old man from Manitoba sent this message: “Darlin: Do you belly dance ?”
    To which I replied, “No, I don’t.”
    He comes back with this…hold onto yourself:
    “Well then, how about topless bingo?”
    To which I replied, “Topless bingo?  Really?   Sorry, but that’s not even remotely close to my realm of interests.”

    Personally, I think that dirty old fart should have a ruler smacked across his knuckles really hard.  I have a feeling if I’d have told him he deserved a ruler across the knuckles, he would have gotten excited.  He gave me such an eww vibe that I put him on ignore.  Dirty mashers.  What’s worse, he’s a Canadian… EWWWWWWW!  The whole Canadian thing should have told me volumes right there. LOL.  They grow some serious freaks up north, trust me I was married to one for 10 years.

  3. The next one reminded me of the Liam Neeson film Taken.  If you’ve not seen Taken, you should because it’s the female equivalent of Fatal Attraction.  It’s enough to scare the willies out of you and ensure you never travel alone.

    I had a 37 year-old man tell me, without even conversing with him, the first message he sends right out of the gate, is that he would be happy to fly me to San Diego and pay for all of my expenses just to hang out for the weekend.  Ok, that made me check the locks on my doors.  Call me paranoid, but I have the distinct feeling that I wouldn’t have come back from that trip.

  4. The next fella just got an OMG….try this, he wrote, “Are you in any way sexually submissive for the right man in a healthy relationship?”

    With that one, I just screamed in terror.  It was a direct flashback of the ex.  The ex was a freak, and where is he now?  Selling insurance and living in his girlfriend’s parent’s basement.  Need I say more?

  5. Then came a hearty case of facepalming…a 47 year-old man who paged me on the site’s instant messenger and who made sure he mentioned he was of Jamaican descent about five times. LOL.  If you could have seen the guy’s picture, you would have not doubted for a second that he was of non-European origin.  I decided, for the sake of research, to humor the guy, after all, I chat lots with my pals in WoW, so I’m used to having a typed conversation…but, wouldn’t you know it, not but five minutes into the conversation…the question popped up that asked me if, oh hell, I can’t write exactly what he said on my blog, it’s just too damned dirty…let’s just put it this way, he asked me if I was my own battery operated boyfriend.  My jaw hung open for a good solid minute where my mouth was cursing to the effect that it was none of his business, but replied, “Whoa, not even remotely comfortable answering that question.  Thanks for the chat, bye,” and slammed shut the window so fast it even made my head swim.
  6. But, let’s finish out the list with the one that is by far the worst…a message from a 39 year-old guy in California…a singular line in an IM window that read…
    “Do you date married men?”

    Oy veh!  I am the WRONG person to ask that question!!!
    I replied, “No I don’t.  I threw my ex out after I found him at his girlfriends apartment.”
    Yeah, there was nothing but silence after that.  Personally, I almost asked him what was wrong with asking his wife out on a date…it was mixed with the overwhelming desire to punch him in the face.  LOL.  Oh, he came so close to incurring my wrath, but no, I kept my words kind, gentle and tasteful even though I did want to verbally break my foot off in his ass.  LOL.  

Wow, the freaks that are out there!  And that’s just one day!  Talk about emotional unavailability combined with no manners THEN combined with no tact!  Did their mothers not teach them manners or how to act around a woman?  However, I will go this one for you, it was the nicest of all of them…After the adventure at Stoney’s, since I’m doing research anyway, I decided to find out where all of the people my age hang out here in Vegas, so I wrote a local guy and asked him, he simply replied,

“My advise to you would be to be yourself and explore and experiance all the many many places we have out here until you find that one that you walk into and you feel you’v been there before :)”  Yeah, he couldn’t spell either, but at least his reply was kind and not freakish.

Before I started chatting with #5, I called Haley and got her voice mail, she called me back just in time to be on the phone with me during the B.O.B. incident.  All she said was “O.M.G.”  While she was giving me the OMG, I was doubled over in laughter about the whole experience.  I mean really, some of this is just funny.  Some parts are scary, others are just sad.

But, give me kudos, at least this is an interesting way to spend my spring break, doing sociological research on the world of online dating.  Heck, this could even be put under practicing my market research skills for IMC class.

Here’s some preliminary conclusions…I’ve made the right decision, I’m not dating.  Online matchmaking services are a crap shoot.  It reminded me about what Craig Ferguson said about the internet…that “it’s like riding in a car, people feel like they have a protective barrier around them so they can be as asinine as they want because no one is going to come over to their house with a motorcycle chain and shove it up their ass.”

Movie Soundtracks

I’m writing while out and about today.  Yes, that’s right, I’ve gotten off my butt and gone someplace outside other than a bar for ladies night, down to campus for class or to my parents house.  I’m out today getting my oil changed at the Toyota dealership.

Now, I will say this, my Prius rocks.  It does.  I get 49 miles to the gallon.  Now a lot of my friends who have ridden in the Prius liken it to sitting in a spaceship and they get really freaked when the gas motor cuts out.  “Your car just died!!!!” Um, no, it didn’t.  It’s called electricity.  hehe.  But, every so often, the oil has to be changed and of course, with the 2007 model year, it seems as there is always some sort of recall part they’re replacing.

Now if you’re thinking to yourself, “OMG! She had one with the sticky gas pedal!”  No, I didn’t, but they did preventative work on it to make sure that I didn’t.  This time around it’s the water pump that’s been recalled, so that’s being replaced today (glad to know that now before the hot Vegas summer kicks in!)

So, I’m sitting in the dealership lounge on one of their computers, and listening to music on my Blackberry and THAT is what brings us to the topic of the day.  Yeah, I know, it’s a long road from how I get the ideas to post and how I post them.  When is life ever simple?

I was going through the music on my Blackberry, preparing to begin my fourth reading of Luke Sullivan’s “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This” when I realized that 99% (literally) of the music I have is from movie soundtracks.

Here’s what’s on the Blackberry right now:

Alice by Avril Lavigne   (Alice in Wonderland)
Better Days by Eddie Vedder   (Eat, Pray, Love)
Click Flash by Ciara    (Sex and the City)
Derezzed by Daft Punk   (Tron: Legacy)
Down to Earth by Peter Gabriel   (Wall-E)
Got 2B Luv by Bottlefly   (My Life in Ruins)
Heaven Knows by Squeeze   (Hackers)
Humans Being by Van Halen   (Twister)
Julie’s Theme by Alexandre Desplat   (Julie and Julia)
Kissing by Bliss   (Sex and the City)
Myst Medley by Jack Wall and the Video Games Live Orchestra   (Myst)
Pilgrim by Eric Clapton   (Lethal Weapon 4)
Sajna by A.R. Rahman   (Couples Retreat)
Someday Soon by K.T. Tunstall   (The Women)
White Dress by Alexander Desplat   (Under the Tuscan Sun)
Your Hand In Mine by Explosions in the Sky   (Love Happens)
Zion (a.k.a. Slap it) by Fluke   (Matrix Reloaded)

Outside of those songs, I only have one song on the Blackberry that doesn’t derive itself from a movie soundtrack.  It’s Katy Perry’s “Firework.”

Ok, yes, I’m obsessed with movies and I live in lala land.  No, I’m kidding, but seriously, I really would love to sit in a room with the people who decide what popular music gets used in movie trailers and the movies themselves.  I think some of the best music is found on movie soundtracks because they give you an emotion and a visual to connect the song to, you remember how the music went along with the action on the screen, and in most cases they’re great movie moments!  Take for example the song “White Dress.”  How can you forget the sight of Diane Lane standing next to the water and the huge splash of a wave with her in the white dress?  Great movie moment.  I’ll go a little further…K.T. Tunstall’s “Someday Soon.”  Meg Ryan putting up the words “What Do I Want” up on a corkboard wall, and the scenes of her rebuilding her life after her cheating husband left…great movie moment.  For me at least.

I think I like movie music best because I can’t associate anything else with the songs, I can’t attach an anxiety ridden moment to a song I heard in a movie; I hear the song and it reminds me of the film. So I guess I do it as a defense mechanism.  Odd isn’t it, how we shape our experiences to give us the most comfort?

Maybe I’m just nuts.  LOL.

Ok, for the record…I’ve been told I need to write a book by four different people this week.  Doc Cat thinks I should write about how I’ve taken my life from negative to positive, a lady at the library thinks I need to write one on all of the fascinating people I’ve met in my lifetime, and the hedonism that goes with being young and pretty.  Someone else wants me to write on the positive influences and amazing people in online worlds.  Yikes.  No, no, no.  The blog will do fine, thank you very much.  We’re not done yet.  We’re amassing material at this point.  We’ll get there someday.

Anyhow, ok, my car still isn’t done, but I’ve finished my post.  Argh!  It takes me an hour just to author a post…darn, too bad I didn’t have a rant today or some long story to tell that would have taken two plus hours to write and edit.  Why do those long posts always happen at home?!

Ok, back to Whipple and tunes on the Blackberry.  Fourth time total to read Whipple, second time to read the third edition.  BTW, I gave my pal Haley my old copy of the second edition.  We’re learning more from Luke than we are from our college textbook.  Yikes.  Well, we might as well, UNLV’s getting gutted (again) by budget cuts.  Pretty soon the IMC track at UNLV will only consist of Whipple.  Sad, isn’t it?

Woot! I won a story contest!

Ah, the wonders of the Myst Universe.  I talk about it a lot here.  Most of my readers know the Myst Universe well and it’s a no-brainer of why I cherish it so much.

Well, the guys over at the Mysteria Film Group, yep, they’re trying to get a movie made of The Book of Ti’ana, one of the books that comprises The Myst Reader.  They asked in one of their blog entries for stories from the community about how Myst has influenced our lives…and guess what…

I won!  Actually, it was a tie.  But, still, I won!

Ahem…(standing up on the podium with the award in my hand…LOL)

I’d like to thank Kitte, Stung, Kaylea, June, Soosi, Mystdee, Jeannie, Susan, Neems, Essjay, Trisha, Ivy, Mateus, Artemesia, Taelos, Mejan, and all of the rest of my fantastic Myst family, especially Janet “Pepsi” Burress for giving me the resources to write it.  It’s not just my story, it’s ours.  There will never be a day when I’m not grateful for all of you, for your positive influence, the never-ending love you’ve always given me and of course for your generous and accepting friendship.  Y’all are truly awesome.  Thank you so much.

Ok, and if you’d like to read it, here ya go…

http://mystmovie.com/2011/03/03/a-trip-through-the-linking-book/

And please, when the movie comes out, go see it!

For our song of the day, I’ll give you one of my favorite videos from the Myst Universe…from Exile, the rollercoaster in Amateria…

As I was watching it, I remembered one simple fact, the Myst Universe was built to test the faithful and to test our persistence and resolve.  I couldn’t have gotten this far in my life without the persistence Myst taught me to have along with the gift of love that it’s fanbase has given me.  Myst has truly changed my life.  For those of you who haven’t delved into our universe, isn’t it about time you did?