Tuesday, August 30, 2005
"The makers of Smucker's created a way to seal the homemade goodness of PB&J into a sandwich that can be enjoyed any time, anywhere. Made with strawberry or grape jelly Smucker's Peanut Butter and Jelly Uncrustables sandwiches are a great way to enjoy a PB&J, whether at home or on the go. Uncrustables sandwiches can be found in the freezer section and thaw within 30 minutes."
Okay, so, could someone please tell me why we needed to update the PB&J? What was wrong with the old one? So I had to cut the crusts off for my little ones. Big deal. Smucker's had to invent a whole new way of serving the PB&J (and charge me accordingly)? Is there anything simpler to make, and cheaper, than a PB&J?
Listen, I'm no Martha Stewart. I'm not June Cleever, either. I admit, I've tossed a few Lunchables at my kids when I run out of time or ingredients to fill their lunch boxes for school. They like them. So sue me. But, if I ever get too busy to make my kids a peanut butter and jelly sandwich...just take away my license to mother. Go ahead, do it.
BTW, there is a hot controversy involving who really invented the crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For something that will make you gape in shock and awe over the [insert euphemism here] that lawyers will cook up--er slather on--in pursuit of the almighty dollar, follow this link to read about how Smucker's tried to get the patent on the crustless PB&J, and prevent anyone else from selling them, too.
For real and for true.
Okay, maybe I'm the only one really excited about that, but I think I'm prouder of having figured out how to do that than I was when I got my master's degree. Tee hee. Reply, someone, reply!
Monday, August 29, 2005
I did have something more brilliant to say that was bright and witty and made me laugh. "I must write that down," I thought, "right after I finish washing the dishes."
Needless to say, I waited too long, my "half-heimers" kicked in, and posterity will have to wait until that brain cell revives.
Road Runner anyone?
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Okay, so this blog is probably more about tree roaches than I'd hoped, but I met another one today. As I described earlier, a tree roach is distinguished from your common cockroach by its absolute bigiosity. Plus, they can fly. Hey, never a good combo. These things, I kid you not, are the scariest bugs I have ever seen. Unbelievably big, armor plating, antennae at least a couple of inches long, and a really stealthy, creepy way of hiding in places where you least expect to find them.
So today, I was chatting with my sis on the phone long distance, and figuring I'd kill two birds with one hand wipe, I was also cleaning off the countertop in my bathroom. I have a little fan that I keep on top of the counter, and I was just about to pick it up to clean beneath it, when what do I spy but two enormous antennae scenting the air inches from where my fingers are about to rest!
I screamed like a horror movie victim. My sister, still on the phone, was convinced that one of the children had been killed. I'm babbling for the kids to go get Daddy, who had just arrived home, because there was no freaking way I'm lifting that fan and going after that roach. If DH hadn't been home, the bathroom would have been put into lockdown, and that roach would have stayed there until he got back.
Now, I have to say something about my DH here. This man has braved more bug and snake kills without complaint in the past six weeks than you could imagine. He's killed wasps, and copperheads, spiders the size of your fist, and he even has a special Styrofoam cup dedicated to slamming on top of bugs in order to stop them in their tracks while he figures out how to kill them. I am a strong, independent woman, but when faced with the prospect of having to kill a bug that could move my furniture, we go into "You Tarzan, Me Waiting Over in the Corner 'Til You've Killed that Damn Bug!" mode. Thank God for him, that's all I say. It's nice having a man around the house, particularly one who isn't afraid to take the antennae by the horns. Or something like that.
So, the saga continues. He got that one with his trusty cup, and he only shuddered once. But since the last two live ones were in our bedroom, I don't think I'm going to sleep too well tonight.
Friday, August 26, 2005
I had to share about this one item on sale that is definitely targeted for people who have more money than common sense. I'll put the link to the on-line catalog here, though as technologically clueless as I am, I have no idea whether it will show up or not. We'll both be surprised.
This product, called Treat & Train (TM), is touted to be the "fun, easy and effective way to train your dog--rewarding good behavior instantly by remote control!" It's on sale, too, for $99.95.
Now, I'm curious. I'm thinking maybe it plugs into the couch and when the dog resists the urge to jump on it, the handy little food tray the fluffy puppy is staring at in the picture dispenses a treat. That makes sense. But wait...no, that's not how it works. It's a magic bowl that the owner fills with treats, and then there is a little remote that master/mistress pushes when he/she wants to reward the dog.
So, from the description of the product, you actually have to be standing there, watching Rover do (or not do) the expected behavior, before he can be rewarded with a treat dispensed from the magic bowl. Remotely. With you standing there. By the bowl. With the dog. Watching him.
Anybody else see a logic problem here? What's wrong with just walking over to the doggy biscuit box, sticking your hand in, and tossing Fido a treat with your very own digits? And saving a hundred bucks in the process? As my military friends would say, "Low tech beats high tech any day."
I'm just asking.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
"Baroque" (adj): When you are out of Monet.
By the way, my contest seems to be a miserable failure. So, I'm upping the ante. I'll offer either a $10 gift certificate to Starbucks or Barnes & Nobles as a prize instead, if you would prefer that instead of the book. So there.
It is interesting that a number of agents have left the Ferguson Agency within the last year. Don't know what that means, and I ain't speculating.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Whatever happened to common sense, folks? As Exhibit A, I offer the following:
Went to get my car washed today, and paid full freight to have the carpets shampooed, tires shined up, the whole works. Now, my car is over ten years old, so it has a few...quirks. One of them is that the passenger side window (power) in front can't be rolled down. Well, it can, it just can't then be rolled up. The thing jams and kinks and shimmies, and it takes two grown men and a small boy to get it back into place. So, to prevent said window from being rolled down by repairmen, car washers, etc., I have both of the power buttons that go to that door taped up. I'm talking bright, shiny, manly DUCT tape, mind you, slicked down, pressed, and staying in place. No way on earth anyone would be able to accidently roll down that window, no siree BOB. The only way that can be achieved is to actually rip the tape off to get to the buttons beneath it.
So what happened when I went to the car wash today, you ask?
Take a guess. Some idiot born of sibling parents ripped the tape off--on both door jambs--and rolled the $@#% window down. You tell me.
Now, I'm thinking, what were the thought processes involved here (if any)? "Duh, there's some tape on this here door jamb. Wonder why? Dunno, but I gotta roll down this here window, and them buttons is under there, so guess I'll just haveta rip it off to get to 'em. Gorsh."
What possesses a person to simply ignore the obvious signs that they are not supposed to do something and do it anyway? I can imagine this person with a driver's license.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Officer, was I supposed to stop at that stop sign back there? Gorsh."
Sunday, August 21, 2005
"Here's some Southerly advice that may come in handy down the road a piece... Next time you are too drunk to drive, walk to the nearest pizza shop and place an order. When they go to deliver it, catch a ride home with 'em."
Purdy smart, dem boys. Gotta love 'em...
Friday, August 19, 2005
Christina Dodd's Scandalous Again (Romance)
Susan Kearney's The Challange (Paranormal Romance)
J.M. Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello (Literary Fiction--hardback)
Frank Peretti's The Visitation (Christian Suspense Fiction--hardback)
Jill Marie Landis' Lover's Lane (Contemporary Romance--hardback)
Hey, that's a pretty good mix, I think. Something for everyone, almost.
So here are your first questions. If you want a clue as to where some of these questions come from, visit my profile. Most will be from my "favorites" sections. I'll keep score, and by the end of the month, the two visitors to this blog who answer the most questions correctly will receive the book of their choice.
Interested? Okay, here's your first question (and no, Dear Hubby, you can't play)...
Q1: "What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?"
Q2: What is the correct response to this comment: "Well, I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition."
Q3: According to Jenny Cruisie, the Romance Writers of America is:
c. politically right-winged
d. all of the above
Q4: How big was the tree roach that attacked TJB's toe (hint: answer posted in one of her blogs)?
Q5: Which one of these men is not a member of the Four Tops?
a. Levi Stubbs
b. Lawrence Payton
c. Russell Thompkins
Q6: Rick, Victor, Sam and Ilsa. Name the movie.
Check back to this post later. I'll be adding more questions as I think of them. When posting your response, you can refer to the question number.
I sent my DH out to buy a, ahem, feminine product the other day (yes, he's the kind of guy that will do that for his woman. God, I love that.) I was writing down the description--hey, I get confused in the feminine product aisle, I can imagine how he must feel--and I told him I wanted the ones "with wings." He smirked and made a sort of flapping movement with his hands, then off he went.
I got to thinking...(gentlemen, if you're reading along, you may wish to look away for a moment during this intense discussion of female secrets) what kind of woman prefers wings vs. without? Is there some sort of general characteristic that we can observe in winged women? Are they trendsetting go-getters, so active and mobile during the day that their underpants shift about wildly, and they need sticky tabs to hold everything together? Or are they simply the kind of women who don't have the required two inch space between their thighs to keep things from bunching awkwardly and causing general discomfort? You know, the non size-four chicks?
I'd like to think we're that first thing. Yeah. That's me, trendsetting go-getter that I am. Snark snark. What do you mean, how much do I weigh?
As you know from my recent blog, my kids started school a couple of days ago. They were going to be riding the bus this year, for the first time ever. That has changed. The first day, the bus was twenty minutes late picking up, and over half-an-hour late bringing the kids back home. Okay, first day run throughs and all that. I get it. However, the second day, the bus simply never showed up. Here we all were, parents and neighbor kids, waiting for 45 minutes before I got frustrated enough to put my kids in the car and drive them to school myself. What if I'd been heading to work and dropped the kids off at the bus stop, as some parents do? They'd have been stuck, that's what. Right then and there, the DH and I decided we would pick them up that afternoon and make them car riders until the school could get their act together. Apparently, the bus never showed up again today, so good thing we did.
What happened? No one seems to know, although the rumor is that the bus driver pulled over to the side of the road, parked the empty bus, and walked away from it. She just quit, an hour before she was scheduled to pick up our kids. If this is true, I have to question her sanity. What kind of a person does something like that, leaving dozens of kids stranded with no idea how to get to school?
Rumors were flying about the nature of the hiring process, and now a bunch of parents want to know exactly what sort of background checks do these people we hand over our kids to before and after school have to go through? Added to that was the news of a fourth-grader being run over by a school bus driver in the city. All of this on the same day. Same contractor? I don't know. However, to me, the school district made a promise to provide for the care and welfare of our children when we put them on that bus. IMHO, the fact that they not only had no idea what had occurred when frantic parents called them up, nor could devise a satisfactory answer to the question "Will my kids be able to get home this afternoon?" is just not good enough.
Makes you want to join the PTA and get rowdy, doesn't it?
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Of course, I'm nervous for them--it is a brand new school for them, and they'll be riding the bus for the first time ever. We checked out the facility, and it seems very nice. One of my children, the one who is usually a pessimist, even declared, "I think I'm going to like it here." Hallelujah! Of course, then he bit his lip and said, "I hope there aren't any bullies." Amen to that, too.
That's my biggest worry. Are my kids going to be well-liked and popular, or are they going to be the nerdy ones that get picked last for basketball? Well, maybe not basketball--they are only 7, and already they come to my shoulders in height, so if these other kids are smart, they'll pick them first. But are they going to be popular? Neither their dad or I were in school, and I just can't bear the thought of them going through what we did. This actually keeps me up at night, though there is nothing I can really do about it. Many things keep me up at night that I can do nothing about. I worry about health insurance, global warming, identity theft, and dental caries, though I suppose I can do something about that last thing. So, back to school it is. The only question I have now, is how far behind the bus should we follow so the kids don't actually know we're there?
Friday, August 12, 2005
The answer to lower sales is bigger print.
The answer...to lower sales...is bigger print.
Nope, doesn't sound any better when you read it real slow. The price of these new bigger books is rising to go along with the bigger print, BTW.
So, the fact that they keep bringing old books out by the same authors over and over again, trying to fool us into thinking they're new, has nothing to do with it. The fact that the authors who have a gazillion books and are commanding the huge salaries that are causing the industry to tighten their wallets on the rest of us are RUNNING OUT OF THINGS TO SAY probably doesn't have anything to do with it either. I have a few favorite authors I like to read, but frankly, the last few books I got by these authors were disappointing. These folks need to take a creativity break and recharge, you know? At the very least, they need to stop rewriting the same old books.
Hey, here's an idea, Mr. Or Ms. Publisher...bring in some new, exciting untried authors, widen the market of things you are willing to publish, advertise and promote the new ones, and maybe, just maybe we'll start buying books again! It's so crazy, it just might work!
(Wait for it....)
Oooh, look! Harry Potter's got a new cover! I think I'll buy it again...
Thursday, August 11, 2005
You know, I used to work for the government about five or six years ago. I remember some of those people. Many of them were bright, intelligent, happy people who could do Algebra and everything. But many of them were...you know...government employees. How on earth did they get those jobs if this is the process they had to use to apply?!?
Let's face it: I have two degrees, I have written three books, I have raised fairly normal children (so far), taught hundreds of college level freshman how to write, led seminars and workshops with CEOs of Fortune 500 hundred companies...and it took me ALL DAY to complete the #*&@# on line application form. You tell me, how the heck does one answer a question like this:
Q: "When you completed computer classes in high school, did you usually receive a grade of B or better? Answer only yes or no."
A: "Well...uh...when I was in high school, they didn't actually offer computer classes. Not that it was that long ago, you understand, but they just didn't have them then. I would have gotten a B or better if they had, though, I bet. I'm pretty smart and all. I can do Word and Power Point like you wouldn't believe, and I manage Excel when I have to, and can stumble blindly through Adobe Photoshop and produce a reasonable facsimile of what I want. I did take computer classes outside of high school, but they don't grade those A - F, because it was for work, you know. I'm tired. I want to go home. What's the criminal penalty for guessing wrong on this question again?"
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
The thing had GRABBED MY TOE through my sock and wouldn't let go. I'm just sitting there, minding my own business at the computer, and I feel this little "tug tug." What the heck kind of bug is so big and bold that it grabs your sock and won't let go? Then it crawled under the bed and had to be sucked back out with a vacuum cleaner. I won't be opening THAT bag any time soon, no siree.
Look, I'm a girl from the suburbs, okay? I don't go camping because I don't believe it makes any kind of sense to leave a perfectly good toilet and shower behind. But since I've moved to my new home state a month ago, I've battled tree roaches, maggots, mosquitoes, copperheads, wasps, click bugs, little wiggly things that have yet to be named...I love the forest and everything, but if I woke up tomorrow and somehow my yard had been accidently covered in concrete, I probably wouldn't call anyone to change it back. Yuk.
However, repeated showings of Spongebob Squarepants and Avatar have convinced me that TV is not a vast wasteland. And no, I don't think Spongebob is gay. Silly, spongy, square, and very strange, but not gay. Okay, there was that one episode where he and Patrick became parents to a baby clam, but that was just surreal and not intended to be interpreted as a sexual metaphor. Spongebob's attraction is his very innocence, so let's not layer all our own stuff on top of him, okay?
Avatar has some of the best scenes of Goal, Motivation and Conflict I have ever seen, and has managed to develop a complex protagonist who started out being a bad guy, but now we just feel sorry for the poor sod. Not to mention having an absolutely cool premise. Creative, different, and yet not too different (it evokes memories of the Far East, American West, etc.). Why can't I think of stuff like that?
I also decided to read the Harry Potter series before my kids did, and got hooked. I know some people don't like the ending (I won't spoil it here), but anyone who knows about The Hero's Journey understands it had to be. Just like Luke and ObiWan. That's all I will say.
Perhaps I'm reliving my childhood, which in fact occurred overseas on military bases that showed TV that was already twenty years old. Deprived, that's what I was. All I got to see were things like the Berlin Wall, the Eiffel Tower, the Coliseum...boring stuff like that.
Take care, TJB
I'm new to my area, having just moved from a townhouse in L.A. My third day in the house found me stomping maggots in my garage after my washing machine flooded it due to the negligence of a handy man. I tell you what, we didn't have anything like this in L.A. Takes some getting used to. But as my husband keeps reminding me, we "own our house." And that's worth something. In L.A., we paid rent to the "man" like everyone else who didn't buy in the seventies or worked in computers, aerospace, or the film industry. Or the illegal drug trade.
Sometimes I wonder if it is really fun being a grown up. I really do.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Heard that Kelly Harms has left or will leave Avon and is going to the Jane Rotrosen agency as an agent. Those of you who pitched to her in Reno may want to follow up with the publishing house as to the status of your requested submisisons. Or, with her when she gets settled in at the agency. Maggie Kelly has left Jane Rotrosen, so Kelly may be taking her place.
Take care, TJB
The question I have is this: does anyone really believe "it all came together when Mom sang along"? Now, come on, don't you think David Cassidy would have been so much cooler if he hadn't had his mom singing backup in his band?
These are the things I think about, folks. Burning questions that must be answered.
Take care, TJB
Oh, that was naughty. What I'm trying to say is this. When men have confrontations, it usually ends in, at best, a trip to the local pool hall to have a brewski with no hard feelings, or at worst, weapons of mass destruction. When women have confrontations, they will smile and nod and go home and sob and plot the downfall of the race. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when after the Reno Nationals conference, I arrived home to discover a swirling controversy had erupted over the awards ceremony. I rather enjoyed the ceremony myself, though I seem to be in the minority. I will never forget my idol, Susan Squires, mispronouncing my first name after making me say it for her correctly several times in a row, then quickly correcting herself and shouting, "I got it right!" at me. That was fun. But many have since brought up some good points about the inappropriateness of some of the material presented. I won't go into that here--other blogs have done a far better job than I could. What I do want to say is this--I don't think we need to drag those people through the mud who did their best, or attempt to destroy careers and instigate revolution. As Rodney King once said, "Can't we all just get along?"
Let's move forward. I suggest a representative committee of the membership--from all spectrums (left, right, central, outside the box, under the table, next to your armpit) be put together to plan next year's ceremony. That way, these issues can be vetted before they become a problem. That, of course, is just my two cents, and worth every penny, I might add.
Take care, TJB
Monday, August 08, 2005
In an attempt to establish myself on the internet, and to be able to say I am both a) hip and b) current (although the use of these very words reveals the archaic nature of my being), I too shall blog. When I am on my deathbed, clutching the sheets around me with my gnarled, boney fingers, I shall look up, and with my last death rattle wheeze, "At least I had a blog!"
Or maybe I'll tell my children I always loved them. One of those things. Anyway, a little about myself. I am a naturally private person, so this freaks me out. I will attempt to both reveal and conceal myself, so pardon if I get dodgy on certain facts. Age: old enough to know better; older than my gums, but younger than my teeth. Take your pick. Sex: yes. State: One of the bigger ones, sort of square, with a pointy end. In the USA. Weight: On the moon, not much. Race: I don't race unless someone is chasing me, and then only if he has a gun.
Well, that's all you really need to know about me, I guess. Also, I write romance. Currently, paranormal romantic suspense, but not the real "whoo whoo" stuff. I have written historical, but as I was told the stuff I was interested in was virtually unmarketable at the time (okay, totally unmarketable), I decided to stop hitting myself over the head with a hammer and moved to contemporary. My first two novels were set in the Early Reformation period (16th century) in non-traditional locations (The Legacy was set in Wittenberg, Germany, at the time of the printing and protestant revolutions--uh-huh, uh-huh--and involved the arranged marriage of a printer and an ex-nun who escaped from a convent. Yeah, give me more of that. The second one, which is eighty pages shy of being completed because I got wise and realized THIS WAS NEVER GOING TO SELL, involved a German mercenary--the printer's brother--who falls for a Spanish blade merchant's daughter in Italy. Oh, boy. Actually, they were both very good, if I do say so myself. Just unsellable in the romance market).
[**UPDATE** 1/31/09: Of course, any of you who have been keeping track know that both THE LEGACY and THE PROMISE, to which this post refers, did eventually sell. Yay, me!]
My current manuscript is called Dreamweaver, is based on a horrible killing nightmare I had one night, and finalled in two national contests (the RWA Golden Heart and the Daphne du Maurier) and several smaller contests, including the Laurie and the Lone Star. If you're a member of RWA, you probably know these. If not, why do you care?
I love writing romance, but have yet to convince either an editor or agent that I can do it on a full time basis, though no one has discouraged me yet ("just stop already, please??") In fact, they've been very encouraging, and for that I'm grateful. I'm waiting for the right story to hit the right editor at the right time, and I'm also planning to win the lottery and retire young on my earnings. Well, it could happen!
Enough about me. Let's talk about you? How do you like my blog so far? Sorry. Old joke. Later.
Take care, TJB