Monthly Archives: February 2011


Ok, say it, go ahead say it out loud…”Sheri, you were right.”  Yes, I know.  James Franco is now dubbed “Styrofoam Man” because he looked stoned and was about as exciting as watching paint dry.  Anne Hathaway however, was really the host, the producers of the show just forgot to tell us that she was the host and James Franco was to be the token male host for the evening, in essence being her straight man so she could get the laughs.  Well done Anne!  She was bright, bubbly, glamorous, funny as all get out and overall she knocked it out of the park.  For the record I’ll say this:

Dear Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:

James Franco was a disaster at this year’s Oscars.  Not only did he seem shady and shifty, he also made watching the telecast boring.  Anne Hathaway however, did an outstanding job, so I only have seven words to share with you for the 84th presentation of your awards…

Bring Anne Hathaway back again next year.

p.s. And pair her with Hugh Jackman.

Now on to the great and not so great moments:

  1. Someone please call Melissa Leo and remind her that ABC (the network that broadcast the Oscars) is owned by Disney.  Disney is so anti-F-bomb that Melissa Leo has lost any chance of EVER being in a Disney produced film.  
  2. Did you notice the Union jabs?  Ah yes, the Wisconsin Teachers Union was cheering their head off every time someone thanked their union.
  3. Nice work by the documentary winner in his role as Captain Obvious:  taking time in his acceptance speech to note the fact that not one single bank CEO, responsible for the financial woes we’re experiencing, is in jail.
  4. Did you notice the very subtle music cues?  They made it soft enough so that the folks running over time would have a nice send off along with Melissa Leo off to the side yelling, “Get the F off the stage!”
  5. What was with the choice of James Franco’s grey tux shirt?  Was it me or did he look dirty, like he was stuck in the crevasse that was 128 Hours?
  6. Note to the producers:  Never put a female host in an electric blue dress.  That really hurt my eyes along with the fact that Anne looked like she put in a call to The Blue Man Group to borrow some of their latex.
  7. Colin Firth.  Cardboard.  Colin Firth.  Cardboard.  You decide.
  8. “Triangle of Man-Love.”  Oh, that’s just waiting to become a catch phrase, right next to Queen Latifah’s “lady-wood.”
  9. The Bob Hope hologram.  Well done.  See, even if you’re dead it doesn’t give the great Oscar hosts an out for at least hosting a little bit.  Just ask Billy Crystal.
  10. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.  Was it me or were they subliminally promoting Sherlock Holmes II?
  11. Related to #10:  Did you happen to see Robert Downey Jr.’s face when Iron Man 2 lost for visual effects?  Ok, dude, it was against Inception, you were expecting something else?
  12. The look on Christopher Nolan’s face when his original screenplay lost.  Oooh, he was piiiiiiissed.
  13. The flashbacks of a pregnant Catherine Zeta Jones whipping out the zinger about pregnancy when she won for “Chicago” when Natalie Portman was accepting her Oscar for Black Swan.
  14. Sandra Bullock’s delivery of the line to Jeff Bridges, “Dude!  Dude! You won last year, how about spacing it out.”  I could hear Flynn’s retort from Tron: Legacy, “You’re really messing with my Zen, man.”
  15. Kirk Douglas.  Kirk Douglas.  Kirk Douglas.  Hysfrigginsterical.  “Where were you when I was making pictures?”  His stalling before announcing the winners was awesome!  He’s what 94 years old and he was bar none the best part of the whole show?  This is why he is a legend.  
  16. Cate Blanchett, what was that dress about?  Yellow and Lavender?  Eeek.  Loved her hair though.
  17. The stop moment for Lena Horne during In Memoriam.  Necessary?  Unnecessary?  You decide.
  18. Christian Bale admitting he’s got a bad temper.
  19. Oscars for Alice in Wonderland.  You know that had to make me happy.
  20. That it ended seven minutes after it was supposed to.  Check the internet tomorrow, it might be a record for the shortest Oscar telecast.
Ok, so I covered 20 points right off the top of my head.  Not bad.  But, as the stars head for the Governor’s Ball, the Vanity Fair party and all of the rest of the fantastic Oscar parties, it’s time for me to head back to the books, write my Timeline paper for Personal Growth, read a chapter out of my Global Media book and hit the sack, hey, 5 a.m. comes early for those of us not lucky enough to be rich and famous.
But, it was nice to have a bit of glitz and glamor for the evening, wasn’t it?
I have to come back to this one more time because it’s grating on my nerves.  Yay Anne!  Good for her.  She hosted a great show.  The whole thing with her and Jackman was hysterical.  I just wish they’d not paired James Franco with her.  Was it me or did he look like he could have cared less to be there, so he tried to self-medicate with a half-ton of marijuana?  I’m serious, he looked stoned!  But what made it worse was them making him up like Marilyn Monroe.  Drag queens all over the country went, “Um, no.”  It’s like Anne said during the telecast, “Drink at home folks!”

It’s Oscar Night

Ok, my last few posts have been pathetic.  I’ll admit it.  A guy stands me up and I jump off the deep end.  Yes, I do see my own flaws clearly in the mirror.  But, the first step in correcting faults is to accept their existence and move forward from there.  So, there goes me being pathetic, ok, thanks, bye.

Let’s get back to what I love, the movies.  There’s no better way to celebrate a love of movies than to break out the popcorn, a good bottle of wine and delve into the glamor that is Hollywood.  It’s Oscar Night!  Woot!

How am I spending Oscar Night?  Well, since the red carpet starts in only a few short hours, I’m going to get dolled up and start preparing one of my famous “living room picnics.”

The Living Room Picnic.
It’s been a tradition in my family for years.  What you do is go into your kitchen and find every single finger food there is to munch on.  From chips and dip to sliced tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto-wrapped melon, cold cuts, crackers and Brie, whatever your tastes, it all gets laid out.  It takes a good couple of hours to get everything ready for the evening, but with a clean living room, pristine vacuumed floors and everything dusted to perfection, all you need to do is light a few candles and set up your picnic just the way you’d like.  It’s a buffet that you just pick at during the marathon telecast that is events like the Super Bowl or The Oscars.  So, break out your table cloth, throw it over your coffee table, break out the little serving dishes for your favorite condiments and prepare yourself for a grand gnoshfest.  It’s a couch-potato’s dream.  The best thing about a living room picnic?  The leftovers.  You get to eat like a king or queen for a week from all the stuff that’s left over.

The Red Carpet.
At 3 p.m. Pacific time, the Red Carpet footage starts rolling on channels like E! Entertainment Television.  What’s nice is that the cut-out from my kitchen sink that looks into my living room will make it easy to prepare food while I’m watching the interviews and seeing the fashions that the stars are wearing.  It’s fun to watch folks, who have been getting primped and preened since the early morning hours, walk as finished products down the Red Carpet.  Is it me or is it just fun to give the “nod” or “shake” of the head to gowns and tuxedos that weren’t well done?  Think about it though, what they wear and how they look will dictate to millions how they want to look.  Me?  Nah, not so much.  I just watch to see what they’re wearing to just admire the work of countless stylists and how they market the “brand” that is the star they’ve worked on all day.

The Telecast.
At 5 p.m. Pacific time, the telecast starts.  This is the part where I’m going to be curled up with my fleece blanket on my couch, school books in my lap, reading during the commercials (and taking notes on the well done ads).

In total, 24 categories are being honored tonight, from Best Picture all the way down to sound mixing and visual effects.  It’s what the academy voters think should be recognized as the best in last year’s films.  I have to say one thing, let’s give props to the writers, without their imagination (or lack thereof considering all of the reboots and remakes we’re having to endure) we wouldn’t have movies without the writers.  Now, if we could only inspire them to be ORIGINAL in their work.  Gratefully, there are five pictures that were classified as “original” for this year’s awards.  The list includes a movie I’ve never even heard of, Another Year.  I’m contemplating that possibly, given the reboot/remake factor, they really had to scrape the barrel to find anything.

This year, we’re assaulted in the Best Picture category with 10 different movies.  Of all the movies on the list, I’ve only seen two, Inception and Toy Story 3.  The rest of the list, outside of The Kings Speech, is filled with movies I could care less about seeing.  My big film of the year, Tron: Legacy isn’t the type of material the awards shows like to covet, so the majority of Oscar’s list for Best Picture is all ‘meh’ to me.  But TEN films in the Best Picture category?  Come on.  That’s too many. I know they’re taking a page out of my rulebook which says we have to make sure everyone knows the nutritional value they give us, but come on, ten is too many.  They need to scale it back to only five again.

The other part of the whole Oscar hoorah is one that brings me the most dismay, the choice of this year’s host, James Franco.  Ok, he’s not even remotely sniffing at my hotties list and according to some of the articles I’ve read, we’re all O.D.’ing on James Franco.  His film, 128 Hours, is on the Best Picture list.  From his appearance in Eat, Pray, Love to his (what I know him best from) work in the Spider Man films, to me, he’s just a giant ‘meh’ too.  I mean, what happened to Billy Crystal?  HE was an Oscar host!  Jackman flopped, but still, he was good eye-candy.  James Franco?  He always seems to have the consistency of styrofoam to me, so I’m just hoping he does well and proves me wrong.  The saving grace and silver lining of the whole thing is that they’ve paired him with Anne Hathaway.  For all Anne’s quirky awkwardness combined with glamorous exterior, I think she’ll save the whole evening.  Good luck Anne!

All that taken into consideration, it’s going to be a long night.  Last night on ABC News they had a little story about how acceptance speeches are 45 seconds long and how some stars don’t like to take the hint that they’ve gone too long by ignoring the music.  For those folks, I think they should bring the Vaudeville hooks back…you know those really long hooks that grab people around the waist and forcibly remove them from the stage?  Yeah, 45 seconds is enough to say thank you to everyone.  If you’re speechless, then just grab Oscar by the neck, hug him tightly, get out the words “Thank You” and move on.  There are 24 awards to get through in roughly three and a half hours, doing the math, that’s eight awards per hour with the stage show and commercials thrown in.

But speaking of time!  Oooh!  It’s 2:50!  I better get going!

So whether you’re doing a Living Room Picnic or sitting at a swanky restaurant (swoon…Spago Oscar Parties…*faint*), enjoy Oscar’s big night.

The State of Love and Trust

I’ve not written in a while.  After the Strep Throat/Flu combo I had, I just didn’t have the energy to put what I was going through into a form for human consumption.  I don’t know, lately, I’ve just become apathetic.  Have you ever had one of those moments where everything seems so blah that things aren’t even worth doing or observing?  That’s where I’m at.

School this semester is just one long grind and I’m to the point where I just feel like I’m going through the motions.  It’s not that the professors are bad or the content isn’t learnable, it’s just blah.  It’s really nothing to get overly excited about.

Last night, I went to bed at 10:30.  Me?  In bed by 10:30?  Come on, that’s not even close to right, it was my “Friday” but, even with an invite to go out to ladies night with Haley, I was just worn out.

I got stood up on Wednesday night.  I was supposed to have a Skype date with KP but he never showed.  What makes it so horrible is that I did my hair, fixed my face and got all dolled up for it only to sit and wait for two hours for someone who never showed.  It was decimating.  I should have known better, but still, I guess when you get your hopes up and they get dashed, it’s only natural that you’d feel disappointed and hurt.

After I shut down my computer, I laid down on my couch and looked up at my mantle where my “Love” poster sits.  I looked at it and started to cry.  It was then that I realized that maybe I’m not supposed to have love this time around on the planet.  I thought about it in a very rational sense, considering that my entire life has been marked by a series of failures in the love department.

Thursday on our “walk to the cars” after class, I described the whole thing to Haley.  I told her about the wreckage that is the sum total of my love life.  I pondered the situation even going so far as to think that maybe the one guy for me died in some car crash or that maybe I’m the leftover of my generation, as in the fates paired everyone up and I was the leftover.  It’s possible.  It was then that Haley told me about her grandmother who has lived the last 50 years on her own and is happy as a clam.  Haley described it as her grandmother “doesn’t have anything to worry about, she doesn’t have to deal with anyone else and she’s happy with that.”  It gave me hope.  Maybe if I become independently wealthy and not worry about my heart, loving myself enough that I won’t want anyone else to do that, everything will work out.

But all that really didn’t put to rest the fact that Wednesday night, curled up and crying on my couch was the first time I’d felt alone since the ex left.  I’m always staying busy, but in that moment, curled up looking at that poster on my mantle, I really realized that I’m alone.  I have my friends, which are great, and who I love dearly, but I guess there’s something very vacuous about knowing that there isn’t some guy out there who thinks I’m the most precious thing in the world; who thinks I’m beautiful or worth spending time with.  It sucks when I’m a world class romantic with no one to share it with.  I’m not really having problems with my self-worth, I know I’m worth a lot, it’s just right now that I’m seeing what it’s like with no one here.

Haley really did try to give me a silver lining for the whole situation, saying that I had it good, I could walk around my house naked (which I don’t do), and do everything and anything I wanted, such as declaring my own bed time, playing music as loud as I want, and a list of things I do already.  She was being the message Chance used to be for me, which was to enjoy what I have.  Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy what I have and I’m very grateful for it.  I’m grateful for all my friends and for Nan and Carl.  They’re all great.  But, it’s the one missing piece of the puzzle that’s got me down today.

I have been going to bed alone for the last 20 months and I’m fine with it.  I don’t get freaked out or anything because I’m alone.  I have no issue with being alone in general, and I prefer it that way, but I really don’t dig on the sensation of being unloved.  That’s my thing right there, being unloved.  It pisses me off because I know I’m worth being loved.  Yeah, I’m hell on feet sometimes, but gods, everyone deserves to be loved, don’t they?

Meh, to hell with it.  I’ve survived this long, doesn’t mean I can’t go longer.  If I die alone then that’s how it was meant to be and there is nothing I can do to change it.  You can’t force things that aren’t there or aren’t supposed to be there in the first place.  Reality Check:  I’m alone.  It’s cool.  It means I don’t have to accommodate someone else or tread delicately for fear I may hurt their feelings.  I guess a lot of people would love to have that kind of freedom, wouldn’t they?

But, let’s cheer it up a bit.  I went through Time Magazine’s Top 25 movie soundtracks…it was a lot of fun to see what tunes made their way into the consciousness of the world.  What I found surprising is that most of the films were rather nostalgic.  The entire list was a lamentation of things we loved and lost, from The Big Chill to the counter-culture view of Easy Rider and went to my favorite movie from the 90’s Singles.  They even had a few 80’s classics in there, like Sixteen Candles.  It reminded me of my fascination with Roxy Music back in the day.  I always did love the new wave edge of things because they didn’t prescribe to the norm.  I’ve always hated the establishment and trends and while I watch the girls walking the miles of the UNLV campus in stiletto boots, I look down at my ratty pair of Brooks running shoes or Doc Martens and smile.

However, as much as I like to laugh at the very image conscious, I’ve taken a step in that direction, stopping in at the local beauty supply store and picking up a set of hot rollers and a new curling iron.  I have to say, I do look vaguely rockin’ with bilious curls which fall after an hour.  LOL.  Meh, I look good for me.  If no one else sees it, it’s their loss. But pair those curls up with a pair of Cherry Red Doc Martens, some black liquid liner and some hippy chic from Lucky and you’ve got a unique original.  That’s me, a blend of hippy, goth and grunge.  How fun.

Ok, song of the day, let’s go back to the 90’s, my favorite song from the Singles Soundtrack, Pearl Jam’s “State of Love and Trust.”

Being Catchy.

Where do catch phrases come from?  

Don’t ask me, I have no idea, but someone out there one day started saying “TMI,”  and it stuck.  Now people are screaming out “TMI” on everything from sitcoms to t-shirts.  Everywhere in pop-culture, when you’re being told more than you want to know, it quickly falls under the TMI rule. Wonder who started it?

I use quirky phrases. I always have.  Lots of times I’ve seen people just burst into laughter and ask me where I get the funny things that come out of my mouth.  I don’t know really, all I know is that I can’t help it.  It’s just who I am and sometimes those quirky phrases stick. Everyone knows that I’m basically a student of the world. I pick up things here and there and I usually don’t think about their origins much, I just use it and it sticks.

Back in the days of, a friend of mine and I sat down one evening and were considering the state of the Uru Community in There and after much deliberation, given that we were a diaspora (a people without a home dispersed from their original homeland, most often used to describe Jewish communities), we started to use yiddish slang for a number of reasons.  The Uru Community in There were some of the hardest working folks around.  We ran the university, we had some of the greatest creatives who made everything from 3D models to unique clothing designs. Uruites were behind the Neighborhoods Committee who decided on community based awards for the best decorated ‘hoods and they were actually the ones who really pushed to take Port-a-zone communities and turn them into large neighborhoods with individual lots.  We sat on almost every single Members Advisory Board in the history of  I even pulled a 6-month term on the MAB myself.

Much less to say, we Uruites kicked butt.  We were community builders – and since our home had been taken away – we found somewhere else to live.  It wasn’t without it’s drama or complications.  Many an Uru-Therian can tell you stories of discrimination, griefing and other horrid atrocities visited upon them.  The first Uruites to hit the Therian shores didn’t have an easy time of it to say the least.  But as we’re survivors of the first order, we made it work and the stories of triumph soon followed.  So, long story short, my pal and I started throwing around some yiddish words and phrases, “oy veh” being our favorite.

By the time I started playing in World of Warcraft (WoW), “oy veh” had become a part of my vocabulary.  It just feels good to say because you’re not really cussing, you’re not being offensive and it’s better than “Oh my God.”  Some people don’t dig on blasphemers, I get it, so “oy veh” stuck. Trust me, when those big, burly men I was playing the video game with were throwing things around that you felt the need to use eye bleach to get rid of the visual they were giving you, “oy veh” sufficed nicely and shut them up quickly because they knew when they heard me say it or saw it in type, they knew they had gone too far.

Also in WoW, there are always tons of nice little patches of fire, or my personal nemesis, the ever-present “void zones” that someone always seems to step, or in worst case, stand in.  Now, some people call those patches “bad.”  They refer to it by saying “don’t stand in bad.”  Other people just call it by it’s most common name, “sh*t.”  As in, “don’t stand in the sh*t on the ground.”  It makes sense, after all, who wants to step or stand in sh*t?  It’s crude I know, but funny.  So, instead of calling it “bad” or “sh*t,” I call it “schmutz,” meaning “dirt” or “filth.”

I’ve used the phrase, “Don’t stand in the schmutz” for about two years now and boy, has it stuck!  It has the “sh” sound at the beginning, but it’s not crass. I didn’t realize I had coined a catch phrase until a few weeks ago when my new raid leader, Chris, popped up in vent in a very southern drawl and said, “Don’t stand in the schmutz.”  I started laughing hysterically.  When I started playing almost 4 years ago, no one would ever imagine to call the spots of fire or void zones on the ground “schmutz,” but now they do.   KP uses it, every single guildie of mine, when they see stuff on the ground that can hurt them, all pop up and say, “Don’t stand in the schmutz!”  I’ve coined a catch phrase.  LOL!

But my all time favorite catch phrase I use is “Hugs to you.”  It’s a phrase I picked up off of my Auntie June and I’m grateful to her every day for teaching it to me.  It was always so sweet when we used to goof around in Uru or or any online world I’ve been around June, she always says, “Hugs to you,” which I think is one of the sweetest expressions. It simply says that you deserve a hug and if she was there to hug you, she would.  So, I snapped it up and began to use it.

Everyone in my guilds, old and new, and all of my friends have always seen at one time or another the warm, sweet phrase, “Hugs to you.”  It’s just a sweet thing to say to people you care about.  It’s warm and welcoming, and as my friend Janet once told me, “Greet everyone you meet with a smile on your face and love in your heart.”  “Hugs to you” does just that.

Last night, I got a whisper from one of my old guildmates.  I’m not going to mention names, so don’t ask.  I visited with him for a good little while, we caught up, I told him about what was going on with me, he told me what was going on with him and we had one of our old-style sit-downs that we used to do fairly frequently.  After all, “Everyone, at one time or another, always comes to see Mama Rel”, and I guess he just figured it was time he came to have a visit with me. I don’t mind one bit.  He was a very welcome sight.

You have to understand, this guy is not the type of person you would call “touchy-feely,” to call him “overly warm” would be a stretch.  When I met him, I was greeted with apathy.  You could tell he was around to get things done, then get out as soon as he could.  Not what I would call a “socialite” in the least, but after a while, I wear most people down into being sweet.  And, after a particularly grueling raid back in the days of Trial of the Crusader, when he didn’t even acknowledge my existence as a person, he earned one of my famous nicknames and oh did it stick.  What’s worse is that the nickname I came up with for him was not the least bit masculine…that completely macho guy had his nickname derived from the Cruise Director on “The Love Boat” because he was buzzing around telling everyone where to go and what to do.  

Back then, everyone knew if you were anyone to me, you got a nickname.  For example, my favorite druid of all time got called “The Great One” because he was so amazing to me.  He was the healing druid equivalent of Gretzky, and he is a sweetheart of a man.  A warrior tank I used to raid with got the nickname of “The Sultan of Sword and Board” sort of like “The Sultan of Swat” that they used to call Babe Ruth.  Another pal got the nickname “Hotline” because he was able to handle any crisis you could throw his way.  It was fun for me to come up with such creative names for them.  What’s even better is that they knew they wouldn’t get one unless I truly thought the world of them, so that uber-masculine guy took that feminine nickname without even flinching, even answering to it when I’d call him by it in guild chat.  But if someone else other than me dared to call him “Julie” they wouldn’t live to see the next sunrise. 

So last night, “Julie” and I sat and visited for a good two hours, and you know what, he was so warm and so sweet, I can’t even begin to believe it’s the same guy who wouldn’t even acknowledge my presence without a sneer some two years ago.

When we finished up our conversation, I realized something.  When people value you for who you are and respect you as a person, you start hearing your words come from their mouths.  They like you enough to use your little catch phrases.  I somehow wonder if it’s a sign of respect and maybe it’s a sign that says you’ve made an impact on their life.

Funny thing was, I just fell into a pile of mush with a huge “awwww” and a hand covering my heart when that macho guy, who has the crassest, toughest exterior I’ve ever seen, wrapped up our conversation with the simple phrase…

Hugs to you.

Valentines Day alone with the flu.

Now, I think this should rate high on the suck-o-meter.  Sick and on top of that, it’s the most romantic day of the year with the added fact that the one guy in the universe that I want to be here is 2500 miles away.  Gods, this sucks.

Ok, so instead of being my own guest of honor at my own personal pity party, I’ve decided to make the day as fun as possible.  I woke up a bit ago, still feeling like roadkill, the truck that has mowed me down every morning for the last four days has decided to effectively put it in reverse and back up over me.  Yeah, this flu crap is getting tiresome…

But, I’m not going to let my spirits get beat down.  Ok, fine, it’s Valentine’s Day.  The card destined for KP left the house on the 8th, so I know that it’s there on time and he’ll have it today.  At least he feels loved, so we can check that off the list.  Why he doesn’t get off of his butt and reciprocate is a mystery to me, but let’s face facts, he’s just probably not that into me or is incredibly guarded.  Either way, I know I did my part and I’m good with that.

I have to go to the doctor in a little bit, so while I’m out, I’m going to try to quickly, and with as least human contact as possible, get some supplies for the next couple of days.  I’m out of juice and anything that remotely could be described as food.  I need to do some minor grocery shopping or I’m not eating for the next couple of days.  It’s gotta get done.  I’m alone, I like it that way for the most part (unless it’s times like these where I really could use the help).

However, when it comes to dinner for tonight, I think I’m going to order myself some take-out.  I’ve been dying to get my chops on a nice fat steak along with a baked potato with all the trimmings.  So, I’m going to make it my mission to find a nice little restaurant that does that as carry-out, bring it home, cuddle up under my blankets with plenty of fluids and chow down.   There is no reason in the world I can’t have a good meal on a day like today.

Then, after eating, I plan to have a schmaltz-fest.  Eat Pray Love, Lover Come Back, and some other romantic movies are ready to be queued up on the DVD player.  My bed is covered in romance novels.  Now, tell me I’m not smart…instead of having a guy around here that could screw something up or have me marvel at his manly nature of having only enough blood in his body to supply one of his two heads, be forgetful or miss the boat entirely on the whole romance aspect of the day, I’m opting for the chiseled bodies and romantic leanings of the romance novel hero.  Hey, it’s better than the real thing by a long shot and I can’t give them my horrid flu.  Besides, romance novel heroes don’t burp, fart or leave a mess.  They come in, sweep you off your feet, then when the adventure is over you put them back up on the shelf until they’re needed again.  As Madeline Kahn said in the movie Clue, “…like Kleenex, soft, strong and disposable.”  Which given the fact that I’m sneezing my head off, yeah, having a disposable guy for the day is just what I need, they don’t make faces or look at you aghast that you’re sick and look like roadkill.

Sick or not, I’m keeping my sense of humor because at this point, it’s all I have.  But, I keep reminding myself of some simple facts, I’m getting through this alone.  No safety net, no helper, just getting through the bad to get to the good.  I’m keeping my optimism because on days like these when the body aches, the nose feels like it’s packed with cotton balls and is spewing all sorts of nasty crud, and the lungs are screaming out from coughing, that I’m forcing myself to remember what it feels like to be well and have tons of energy.  I can do this, it’s just that days like this suck, but they serve as a reminder to be grateful for what I have.

So, I’m going to supply myself with a romantic evening filled with things I enjoy.  I’ve got a Mounds candy bar which I’ve been saving in my freezer for just the right occasion, I’m going to grab myself some popsicles to soothe my sore throat, I’m going to grab myself a steak, buy myself some flowers, some Puffs tissue with lotion (because my nose is awful raw) and remember that my happiness depends on no one else but myself.

Yeah, having a certain Hawaiian around here would be a brilliant bonus, but since he’s not knocking on my door, I’ll make due with what I have.  Besides, being independent is sexy, right?

Having the flu sucks.

Yes, I have the flu.  They tell you, “get your flu shot,” but for me the sheer paranoia of going through the flu because of the inoculation is enough to keep me away from them.  I haven’t had the flu in years…the last time I was this sick was probably 5 or 6 years ago…maybe more.  Outside of an occasional cold or 24 hour bug, I’ve not had the full blown flu in a long time.

Yes, I’m sniffling, aching, coughing and just being all-around disgusting.  It all started on Thursday.  I got through the school week all in one piece, I was feeling good until Thursday night when I started having this annoying cough.  I just kept coughing.  I knew it wasn’t a good sign.

Then it occurred to me…there was a girl who walked into my Monday Global Media class coughing her head off.  She was one row up from me.  So, guess who gave me the creeping crud?  Some girl who didn’t have the common sense to stay home when she’s sick.  Am I mad?  YES.  When Doc Fish saw her coughing her head off, he threw her very gently out of class, but not until her bug came to visit me.

I spent Friday flat on my back.  I went through three sweat-soaked t-shirts.  I was hot, then cold, then hot again, then cold.  Then came the sneezing and the blocked up nose.  I’m not happy.  Then aches.  More aches.  More ibuprofen went down with more liquids.  I went from awake to asleep, then I’d wake up again, take a drink, watch a bit of TV then pass back out again.

Then, in the middle of all of this, my two partners for my Global Media project send me all sorts of info for our project.  Since I’m the creative, we decided last Wednesday I get to design the PowerPoint presentation.  I looked at the Blackberry that held the e-mails and said, “It can wait,” and passed back out again.

Saturday was just so much fun!!!! (Ok, I’m being sarcastic.)  I woke up feeling like a truck had hit me, but since the girls had gone through so much trouble to get their research over to me, I sat enclosed in blankets with floor heater on and glass of juice creating our PowerPoint presentation.  Want to see what our backdrop looks like?

Yeah, I found a photo I had taken of some Mayan ruins on my honeymoon almost 10 years ago and gave the photo some magic with Photoshop.  Looks pretty cool, huh?

*Aaaaachoooo*  Excuse me, I had to sneeze again.

Where was I?  Oh, the backdrop.  I just gave it a little zing and placed it, then just hammered through my research, then added their research to it, looking at the clock and knowing I had to get it done so that way I could curl back up with more Ibuprofen and blankets.

After I was done, I e-mailed it to my partners with a note that said, “I’m down and I’m not going to be in class until I’m at least 90% and contagion-free.”  At that, I fell back onto the couch with my pillow and blankets to watch some TV and eat some dinner.

Then I called KP.  If there was any guy who could bring levity to my day, it was him.  We talked for a bit, then I passed out again.

This morning I got up and felt like a truck had hit me.  I took my thyroid meds and laid back down to wait for it to absorb.  After that, I made myself some lunch, cleaned my kitchen and turned on the TV.

Now, being sick, you sleep and watch TV a lot.  You do, that’s the nature of the beast when you’re sick.  I have to say, this is the sickest I’ve been by myself.  The last time I was this sick, the ex was here to take care of me.  No no, it’s much harder to be sick when you’re alone.  I grew up in a house that when you were sick, you stayed down.  Mom was always on the scene with food, liquids, medicines, you name it.  The ex wasn’t the best in the world at taking care of me when I was sick.  He always made me get up and come to the table to eat dinner.  How I grew up is that you were brought dinner and ate laying down, then the plate was taken away, you took meds and then you went back to sleep or watched more TV until you passed back out.

Being sick while living alone sucks so huge.  I’m having to get up, aches and all, and do everything.  I’m tired and I’m stuffy and coughing.  I don’t want to get up, but I have to so I eat and do everything I need to do to take care of myself.  This sucks.  I’m spoiled…I know it, but it’s always so much better when you have someone to take care of you when you feel like roadkill.  

But what’s worse, is that Friday and Saturday are always great TV days.  Tons of great movies, good shows, all around good entertainment to get the mind off the aches and pains.  Sundays suck as a TV day.  The movie channels have nothing but crappy movies, so I flipped the channels to find “Ace of Cakes” and “Cupcake Wars” on the Food Network.  Really?  Is this what I’m reduced to?  I’m sick and the best I can find is shows on baking and food?  *Facepalm*




I hate being sick.  Having the flu sucks.

Crash and burn…

It was a great day today.  Classes went well.

After Personal Growth today I took a minute to speak to Doc Cat.  I looked at her and bluntly said, “You’re very deceptive.”  She looked surprised and when she asked me why I thought that, I let her know that I was dismayed at first over how she presented the class as a “blow-off”, but the deceptive part is that the class is actually hard, that you have to do the work.  I told her about the crying session after the “putting it down” exercise and how much it helped me.  I don’t think she really counted on the fact that people would actually DO the work…but I gave her props and thanked her, because with her help, I am getting through things a bit better.

The only downside I’m facing at the moment is that my anxiety has gone up quite a bit.  I think it’s normal because I think my brain is trying to make rational sense of it all after being compartmentalized and carried without being dealt with.  So, now we’re on to the dealing with it, and sorry to say, it’s filled with lots of anxiety.  Right around now I’m grateful I live alone so I don’t put anyone else through what is going on in my head.

After finishing up with Doc Cat, I headed for my car.  On the way, I turned on my Blackberry’s music section and listened to KT Tunstall’s “Someday Soon” which actually fit the moment perfectly because as I walked, the sun shone through the trees, and the dappled light bathed my face in warmth.  It was one of those moments where you value the peace you can find and there’s a little glimmer in the back of your mind that says everything’s going to be ok.

Then it was off to my parents for lunch.  I told my parents stories from school and just got to spend time visiting with them while we ate outside on the patio.  I’m glad Vegas only has two months of winter…it allows for beautiful moments in the sun before it becomes blisteringly hot.  It was a pleasant afternoon all around with no stress to be found.

After lunch, I had to buzz home.  IMC waits for no one as I had to quickly assemble research for our “Situational Analysis” rough draft.  Situational analysis is exactly what it says: you have to find out what’s going on in the marketplace for your particular type of product.  Sales volumes, market shares, all sorts of stuff that I really have little interest in, but is extremely necessary to understand how to build a strategy.  To be honest, research and strategy have never been my strong suits.  I’m not really in love with doing research.  I’m a creative.  Creatives take the data and we come up with something extraordinary…case in point, the little kid in the Darth Vader costume in Sunday’s VW ad.  See what I mean about VW?  They’re just so good.

BUT, my favorite of all of the Superbowl Ads was the Motorola commercial for it’s new tablet.  Ok, let’s take a really fast trip back in time to 1984.  David Lynch directed this ad for Apple’s introduction of the Macintosh, or what you now know as a Mac…

The point is, back then, Apple was accusing IBM of being this Orwell-esque machine that robbed individuals of their individuality…

Fast forward to 2011…

I believe it was Helmut Krone who said, “Until you have enough experience to have a great idea of your own, you copy.”  It’s not bad advice either.  You go with what works.

BUT it is a stroke of genius when you take (outside of the Lemon Ad of course) one of the greatest ads of all time and turn it back on its creator:

Motorola took the groundbreaking 1984 ad and turned it back at Apple because now THEY have become the oppressive machine.  When was the last time you saw someone without a pair of earbuds in or listening to their iPods or playing with their iPhones or working on their Mac’s?  Ah yes, we few PC users left understand full well the evil empire that is Apple and for Motorola to run this ad…it was like shoving a stick clean up Apple’s wazoo.  I cheered.  I flipped out and screamed “Yeeeeeessssss!”  Because yeah, it’s a copy, but the execution of it is just gorgeous.  Helmut Krone would be proud.

Anyhow, after all of that fun stuff, I was wiped out…I passed out on my couch at around 4 p.m.  I woke up at 10 p.m.  After a round of e-mails of our Situational Analysis in my little mini-agency group for IMC, I sat down to write…

Now, I’m going back to bed.  I don’t know what it was about today, but I just crashed and burned…and as the albatross I am, I shall crash again…

For you, a bit of relaxing tuneage from KT Tunstall…

All along the watchtower…

My inner hippie is sitting with mouth wide open in shock at the world and asking, “When did it become the 1960’s again?”  I have to admit, I did download Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along The Watchtower” today just to be in the spirit of the changes going on in the world right now.  Well, it was kind of a must because of the hip day I had in Global Media.  We talked about the recent comments by the President that were a push to get more into technology, very similarly to what Kennedy did in the 60’s regarding the space race.  Between that and the riots over in the middle east, well, it was a day that just screamed the 60’s.

I will admit, my friend Soosi has been on my mind today.  The hippest of chicks, she is a very romanticized version of the 60’s to me.  I mean the woman told Jim Morrison to kiss her ass.  Tell me that’s not cool.   While groupies galore were worshiping at the altar of the Lizard King, Soosi told him to pucker up.  That’s just hip in my opinion.  That’s a total fatty moment to me and I so wish I could have been there to see it.  But alas, I was born in 1971, so I can definitely say I missed out on what I view as the most interesting decade of the 20th century.  But, my first political memory is Gerry Ford tumbling down a set of stairs.  But that’s as far as it goes.  I missed the 60’s *pout*.  Just think of advertising in the 60’s…Bill and Helmut hadn’t even thought of the grand Lemon yet.  Oh just think about how well I would have done in advertising back then!  *Whimper*  *Cry*

But, outside of my 60’s induced fantasies, I have been spending every day hooked into my normal news gathering trip around the country.  First topic on everyone’s mind right now is Egypt.  I spent a solid hour this morning just reading different news stories on it trying to find a nugget to take to class with me for extra credit.  During the discussion, after the Obama/Kennedy message contrast, it wasn’t long before Jimi was playing his little tune in my head, making me think about where Soosi, my Mom and Dad were at the time.  We dug in and got all sorts of into the Berlin Wall, what it was like behind it, and why it finally came down.  By the end of class, “All Along The Watchtower” was the only song in my head with a note in my notebook to get some Hendrix downloaded as soon as possible.

I remember as a kid playing Space Invaders with my cousin Mark and when the red mothership would go over, I remember Uncle David hollering, “Get Khomeini!” as we tried desperately to shoot it down for the extra points.  It didn’t dawn on me exactly what he was saying until this morning while I was in front of the mirror getting ready.  Sufficed to say, ever since I can remember, the middle east has always been a problem spot. I remember adults throwing around comments that the middle eastern folks have been killing each other for the last 4000 years, why should it be any different or change?  I never really got into the whole middle east thing before because I don’t really think it’s my business outside of the price I pay for gas.  But really, if you think about it, this all started with a guy in Tunisia setting himself on fire in protest.  How 60’s can you get?

So, here we are in 2011, and guess what, 50 years later, the riots and protests are back in a huge way.  Instead of civil rights in America, we’re watching riots and revolution in the middle east for similar goals.  (I know that’s simplifying it a lot, but when you boil it down, that’s exactly what it is.)  They want their freedom, they want to be able to vote and they want to be able to take part in global culture just like we do.  If that’s not a 60’s mindset, I don’t know what is.  Maybe I need to be educated on it some more, but from where I’m sitting, it sure does feel like it.

Being on a university campus during this is a special rush for me.  In my eyes, protests, civil unrest and all that stuff seemed to be a part of the youth counter-culture of the 60’s that I dig so much.  I’ve been to a protest since I started going to school, yeah, I went to the one against educational budget cuts.  That was awesome, standing in the rain, soaking wet and letting the establishment know that we were pissed.  It was so cool.  So I did that, and now we’ve got the more violent stuff happening on the other side of the world.  To be honest, I’m glad that the violence isn’t happening here but I feel horrible for all the folks over in Egypt that are standing their ground so that the groceries they pick up for the week don’t drain their entire bank accounts because of inflation.  Those folks are missing out on staples like milk and bread because of what’s going on right now and to me, that’s not cool.  People have to eat.  I don’t care if you’re blue, green or aquamarine, you’re human, everyone deserves to have a good meal.  To have folks having to fight for staple foods is just ludicrous.  I’d be pissed just over the fact I was hungry and couldn’t get anything to eat, wouldn’t you?  I’d become especially angry if I had kids that were going without food.

We’re in what?  Day 8 of this mess?  And we’ve got kings in the middle east deciding to sack their governments to try to make sure that what’s happened in Tunisia and Egypt won’t happen to them.  It seems as all along the watchtowers stuff is happening that I don’t think they ever anticipated.  The common folks are standing up and saying “No more!”  I mean if I were Mubarak I’d be grabbing the next flight out just to save my own life because if he makes them wait until September for elections, he’ll be in some severe deep shit long before the ballots ever go out.  If he doesn’t move his butt, it’s only going to get worse.  And he wanted to put his kid on the throne.  Dude, pack up those dreams because that ship has sailed.

It just seems to me that the 60’s held itself in stasis because it’s alive and well in the middle east right now and the journalists are getting a first hand look at it.  Anderson Cooper already got his butt kicked in Cairo, to which I say, “AC!  Get your ass out of there pal!  Watch from a safe distance!”  Did you learn nothing from all those journalists who got messed up in Vietnam?

Ok, so without the LSD and other psychedelics, we’re getting a first hand look at the 60’s…and as a hippie who missed her time, I’m begging y’all to jump on the peace train, chill out and call someone today to let them know that you’re grateful for them.

Girls, put a daisy in your hair and burn your bras in effigy…

Most of all, be grateful it’s not happening here in the States.  We had our moment like that, now it’s their turn.

And of course…here’s your song of the day, Jimi Hendrix’s recording of  “All Along The Watchtower.”
(and to avoid incurring Soosi’s wrath, I’m making sure to mention that the song was written by Bob Dylan.)

Everlasting Mondays.

Remember Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstopper?  Well, it seems as gobstoppers can be days of the week as well.

Ok, let’s talk about Monday.  I guess it’s just one of those things, I’d much rather crawl under my desk in the fetal position than even think about Monday again.  First, I must swear and curse at my temporal difficulties.  I was about 5 minutes late to my Global Media class on Monday in which Doc Fish looked like he wanted to fry me up and serve me up to the class on little crackers.  Lucky for me, I had someone in the same situation right next to me walking in…yeah and Doc Fish looked at him like potential hors d’oeuvres as well.  So, not an auspicious start to Monday.  Then came the reading test…in which I had spent the majority of the weekend going over all of the stuff for my history exam (that I took today, more on it later) so my Global Media book got scanned, but not in-depth read.  So, a whopping (and painful) belly flop for Monday’s Global Media.

I walked out of class feeling dumb, unwanted and completely useless. I tugged my book bag onto my shoulder and headed off to Personal Growth where it was “blame the parents” day, mixed with some role-playing then role-reversal.  We went over “warm” and “cold” parenting.  I looked at the list that denoted the two types and went “brrrrrrrr,” because it seems as I grew up in an antarctic winter.  Oh, so encouraging to learn what you already know…

After class, I was walking out to my car, and like the gobstopper, it seemed as the dismal day just had to deal me one more blow just to make sure I didn’t get up again. While traversing the campus, it seems as a sidewalk curb wanted to get in on the smackdown because I wasn’t looking at my feet and I lost my footing, I tried desperately to regain my balance only to find myself face down on the asphalt.  My left thumb is completely bruised on the outside edge along with my palm being abraded and bruised to kingdom come, my right hand has a welt and a thick black bruise at the heel of my hand, both knees look like they’ve had a bat taken to them and the rest of my body, one day after, still feels like a sequel to Joe Pesci’s death scene in the movie “Casino.” (If you don’t remember the film, let me refresh your memory, they kill Joe’s character by beating him to death with a baseball bat.  Get the picture?)

Upon seeing me wipe out, a young man came upon my sprawled figure and asked, “Are you ok?”  My reply was swift, “No!  I’m not ok, but tell ya what, I will take a hand up.”  The young man helped me up and once back on my feet and walking, I chuckled at myself remembering the mantra that I so DO NOT want to live by…”If I can trip over it, bump into it, step on it, step in it or do something else clumsy, I probably will.”

So in essence, my Monday was very stereotypical…one that you wanted to crawl back in bed and just forget about.  But, it’s Tuesday right?  It’s a new day that’s supposed to be better, right?  Noooooooooo.

See, Murphy’s Law is one of the guiding forces in my life.  If there is a way I can land on my face and have a bad day turn into a bad week, it’s going to happen, even though I try my damndest not to let it go there.

Today I had my history exam.  I arrived to class on time and I breezed through with not an ounce of problems because of all of the time I spent on studying for it at the sacrifice of two very dry chapters in Global Media.  You win one, you lose one, right?  Oy.

After my exam, which took a total of 20 minutes and that’s with the exam hitting my hands at 10:05, I looked at my watch and asked it, “What am I going to do now?”  If you said, “read” you would be correct!  What better way to spend the three hours I had to wait until my IMC class?  So I went across the street, grabbed some breakfast at the Einstein Brothers Bagel place across the street from school, and while I was eating, I cracked my book open and read.

I’m behind, *gasp* on all of my reading, none more than my reading for IMC.  Trust me, I do a LOT of reading already, but when you’re going through academic text books, no matter how relevant or what have you, they’re not the sexiest things in the world to get through or be motivated to tackle.  I’m really disappointed with being behind with my reading for IMC because of the simple fact that it is my one sexy textbook this semester.  And you should see it, every page with some wonderful ad and some fascinating tidbit about the advertising world. I was trying my best to read it as if I were reading “Whipple,” but to no avail.  The entirety of “Whipple” is the length of three of my textbook chapters.  Every time I sit down with it, I’ll read a passage then get caught up in my cereal campaign again.  Getting through it without having my mind wander off on some creative tangent is close to impossible.

So, after finishing my snack and at seeing how my reading was coming along, I took a trip to see Doc S. over at his office.  If anyone could make me feel better after the week I’m already having, I figured the one person in the world that could was Doc S.  I mean the man swims the ad waters, he gets it, he understands…he knows what goes through the mind of young addies like me.  So I tell him about the problems I’ve had with my reading.  He looked at me sympathetically and gave me some hints and tips to try to streamline myself a bit while I read.  To hear him chuckle at my tribulations made me feel better that what was going on in my head creatively was normal, it’s just that I had to restructure how I’m doing it.  Dedicated time that if I catch myself wandering off, to discipline myself to get back on track while not losing my enthusiasm for the material.   So after a visit with Doc S., I took myself down to the Student Union and sat outside, textbook open, daring myself to get through the chapter I’m behind on.

And wouldn’t you know it…three men sit down at the table next to me and start discussing their Excel spreadsheets and so forth while I’m trying desperately to concentrate on the very fascinating Albert Lasker.  Well, after they quieted down a bit, I was able to get about 10 pages in until the Red Bull girls showed up.  Great little mini-event execution when it comes to advertising, I have to say, but it distracted me again.  I tried to get back into the book until one of the guys looks at his pals and says, “I need to make a run to Starbucks.”  His friends look at him incredulously as he’s got a Red Bull in his hand, but he’s on his way to a Starbucks.  Oy, Starbucks coffee AND a Red Bull?  It seemed as a bit of overkill to me besides the obvious fact that his buddies were going to have to chisel him from the ceiling with a paint scraper.  At that point, all my efforts at reading were lost because my mind went directly to the cereal ad just with the one word thought of “overkill.”  My mind went into high gear.  I’m coming up with a strategy to market a high-fiber cereal, 11 grams per serving to be exact, and then it hits me, why do people add fibrous fruit to their already high fiber cereal?  It seemed as it was “overkill.”   Isn’t that like washing down your bran muffin with two cups of coffee then following it up by sitting in traffic for an hour?  Not a pretty thought, is it?  So why do people do it?

After the “overkill” moment, it was no use, the book went to la la land as my brain went directly on a trip to cereal land.  By that time it was 12:35 anyway, so I packed it up and walked to class cursing because I caught not one hand, but both in very uncomfortable bruise pounding positions trying to get my book bag up onto my very sore shoulders.  To be honest, I just wanted to sit down and weep.

Doc S. really should be canonized as a saint.  He really should.  He took us through some more swoonfest moments of dissecting the IMC process, where we were in the scheme of it and so forth.  Then a pretty young woman lifted her hand and asked, “What’s the difference between the product name and a brand?”  Doc S. asked the rest of the class what we thought it was and I had a Horshack moment of “Oooh!  Oooh!” Oh yes, I knew that one, right?  Not quite.  Remember, my brain works in very broad strokes and is very big picture.  When I think product vs. brand, my brain goes to the big dogs.  I immediately thought, “Nike.”  Now that is a brand!  In over 80 countries to boot!  So I explain the concept of branding from a corporate standpoint, thinking of branding in the umbrella sense with it’s many different subsidiaries lying underneath.  I talk about how Nike is a huge brand but then it has its’ tennis shoe division, the clothing division and so forth. Now, is this what Doc S. wanted?  No.  He was going for the very simplest of definitions, which is that the product itself is a physical, tangible object and the brand is a psychological construct.  Not only did I overshoot, I missed the boat altogether.  I felt like I had just fallen over the curb again, landing face first in embarrassment.  Doc S. and Haley comforted me after class, after I moaned that I had flopped for the day.  Haley reminded me that it was an introduction class and that it seemed like I had already taken it.  We talked about how I doubted myself because I think in larger scope and I tend to forget the little things and basics because I take them for granted which Haley insists that it’s not a bad thing, but for right now I need to think smaller instead of bigger. Wise, sweet woman.

It reminded me of my Graphic Arts instructor so long ago who looked at me and said, “We’re not there yet Sheri, just wait…”

Meanwhile, I think I’m just going to go flop face first on my bed and cry.  I hate weeks like this.  They start bad and just snowball.  I hope by Thursday afternoon I can just crash into a tree and get it over with.

Like the Everlasting Gobstopper, my horrible Monday just doesn’t want to go away.