Friday, August 28, 2009

Just how socially network social are you?

Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, MyTwitFace, MyBookSpace.....

Ahhhhhh!  What is the world coming to?

Yes, I'm guilty of joining two of the major social networking sites.  Why? I don't know.  Just because.  Keeping up with technology and the Joneses or something like that.

I remember a time when people looked each other in the eye when they talked.  And I remember a time when people sat down in a chair and dialed that thing called a telephone to speak with friends and family members.  (Texting?  What the heck is that?)  Why, I even remember a time when people sat down at a desk and whipped out something called stationery (along with a pen) and, GASP!, wrote a letter to friends who lived far away.

But, alas, that was back in the caveman days.

I was one of those cavewomen who stubbornly clung to her customs and cultural routines for quite a while.  The computer age?  The digital age?  Oh no, not that!  It's a lot safer hiding in a cave.  Just give me the basic, rudimentary sticks and I'll scratch out a message in the dirt.  As long as the message didn't have to be too long, I probably wouldn't run out of dirt.

Does anyone here remember typewriters?  Those noisy, clippety machines that typed out letters and other correspondence?  Why, I bet one of those dinosaurs would be worth a bundle at an auction these days.  A real antique!  No real use for one, but you could put in on display for future generations.

And what will the future bring?  When Kathy is in her eighties, what will all the young whippersnappers be doing with their time?  Just how will they be communicating?  Let's try to imagine the possibilities, shall we?

What might be coming down the road?  Our current cell phones DO just about everything.  (What is that commercial that goes:  "There's an ap for that." ??)  Applications, music, photography, texting...  What else might a phone be programed to do?

The future classroom might feature each student sitting at his or her desk texting on a cell phone to the person at the next desk.  Oral communication will cease to exist! No human teacher will be required because a computer will beep out the lessons the students will listen to on their earphones.

Husbands and wives will no longer speak to each other.  The wife, for example, will stand in the kitchen preparing dinner, and if she needs to ask her husband a question, she'll simply use her nearby wall computer and type in her question.  This will be relayed to her husband who's seated on the couch in the living room.  Something will beep or lights will flash and he'll see the question on his wall screen and type in his answer.

Ah.  It's all so simple.

At the kitchen table, on those rare occasions when all family members are present, each one will text messages back and forth while enjoying their tasty meal.

And what kind of wonderful high-tech social networking site will exist thirty years down the road? Hmm.  One can only speculate.  Probably each home will have a huge wall devoted to just that.  Rather than Facebook's virtual wall, this will be a REAL wall.  People will push a button or flick a light switch when they return home from work and one entire wall will light up with messages and pictures along with videos and music.

Or why stop at that?  Maybe EVERY wall will have all of this stuff flashing and beckoning.

That's okay.  The young people can have it.  I'll be in my eighties rocking in my rocking chair, senile and oblivious to all of it. Maybe I'll have saved my trusty iPod and be tapping out the beat to some oldie but goodie.

Or there's always the chance that life will do a complete turnaround and we humans will go back to the days of talking face to face, writing letters, and only using the telephone once in a while when it's really needed.

Excuse me now.  I have to go check my email, read some blogs, see what's happening on AW, Facebook, Myspace, Yahoo........................

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fifteen Films in Fifteen!

Inspired by another blogger, I am going to try his experiment of posting 15 of my favorite movies in 15 minutes.  Don't know if I'll have time to say why they're my favorites, but I'll try.  Here goes:

1. The Silence of the Lambs:  Just excellent in so many ways--the acting, the script, the direction, the characters.

2. While You Were Sleeping: My favorite romantic comedy.  I love the budding relationship between Lucy and Jack.  They squabble, they laugh, they fall on the ice together.  Here is a couple which actually gets to know each other before they sleep together.  Actually, the audience never does see them sleep together.  But it is obvious they are good together.

3. Rocky:  I'm not normally interested in sports or boxing, but there is also a love story in this film.  Adrien is so interesting to me because she's shy and not your usual perfect beauty.  I love the relationship between Adrien and Rocky.  I also love the idea of an underdog trying to win.

4. Jaws: I've always loved this movie.  It scared the crap out of me when I first saw it in the theater.  I could see it a hundred times and still be scared.

5. Fried Green Tomatoes:  Wonderful characters in this film, people you can really care about.

6. Tombstone: A great western with great acting.  And I'm a big Kurt Russell fan, too.

7. Forrest Gump: Charming, funny, interesting, and touching.

8. Alien:  I love the first of this trilogy.   Or are there 4?  Very scary.

9. Gladiator: When this movie first came out, I did not think I would like it.  Was I wrong?  Wonderful acting, scenery, and battle scenes.

10. Meatballs: Yes, it's kinda goofy, I suppose but I love the idea of a young boy trying to fit in.  A counselor takes him under his wing and helps him find some confidence.

11. The Karate Kid: I love the underdog working hard and winning.  And a great relationship between teacher and student.

12. Pretty Woman: Funny and touching.  No, I don't think it's very realistic.  But a fantasy type of story, so I can live with that.

13. One flew over the cuckoo's nest: Very well done and thought-provoking.

14. The Sixth Sense: Love this film.  I did not guess what was coming at the end.

15. The Green Mile: Good acting, thought-provoking film.

Okay time is up!  Now I'll go back and explain my reasons.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oh those lazy, hazy days of summer!

Ah, it's August.  Such a sticky, sweltering, suffocating summertime month.  Here you see some beach goers soaking up the sun.  Some people here think the beach is THE place to be when it's hot and muggy.  Sure, if you don't mind all that beach traffic as you're on your way to your destination, made worse if you don't happen to have air conditioning in your vehicle.  And then there's the problem of all those bodies splayed out on every inch of sand from here to eternity.

No, that's okay, I'll pass.  Give me a nice, cold, air-conditioned room!  Ah yes!  Give me a nice, lengthy book to prop up in front of me as my legs are stretched out in front of me, feet resting on a little stool, my back pressed against a comfortable chair, and I'm happy as a clam.  (While others are out in the hot sun digging for clams.)

Sure, I live in the Ocean State.  That's what we're famous for.  The ocean, tall ships, beaches, quahogs, seafood--all that stuff.  And all of that stuff is great.  But I find hot, sticky weather very uncomfortable.  It's hard to breathe, hard to think, hard to concentrate.  I want to be able to write something coherent and read passages from an intriguing novel just once, instead of over and over again.

So, speaking of summertime reading, I'll tell you what I'm reading. First I read Kim Richardson's autobiographical book, The Unbreakable Child. Also read a fellow writer's unpublished novella tentatively titled Reaper Tales. Now I'm reading My Quirks and My Compass by H. Charles Dilmore.  After that, I'm planning to read Summer Sisters by Judy Blume.  If there's any summer left by then it's on to Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner.

So how about you?  What books are on your beach blanket reading list?  Or, if you're hiding from the sun, your living room coffee table?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Picture this!

blurry I don't know what
floral collection
boats on the bay
flowers and flag
sunflowers are us

I took a walk the other day with my trusty digital camera accompanying me.  The mission was to seek out lovely, interesting, or unusual images to photograph.  My own yard is devoid of flowers at this time.  It's just the timing; end of August seems to be end of summer/almost fall, so my yard is at that in-between time.  Our flowers seem to spring up in early spring, then disappear after a few weeks, not to be seen again until next year.

So my only option was to search for flowers in other people's yards.  I've posted them here with little captions so you can see what I found.  I particularly like the one called "blurry I don't know what" because I truly don't know what it is.  But that's the fun of it.  See if you can figure out what's in that picture.  It's good for the imagination!

Note:  If you click on a picture, it should show you the larger version.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is it better to look good or to feel good?

A certain topic on the writer's site I frequent got me thinking.  It dealt with the aging process and how people feel about milestone birthdays: turning 30, 40, 50, etc.  Also, the question of whether it's better to "look good" or to "feel good."  Or does one guarantee the other?

Let's suppose a person takes good care of herself.  She eats healthy foods, gets plenty of exercise, enough sleep, watches her weight, protects her skin from the sun, etc.  Let's say she does all of these things but has a job she hates or no job at all.  Let's say she looks good, too.  Do all of these things she's got going for her matter if she's basically not happy or fulfilled?

Now let's counter that with a person who eats anything and everything, barely exercises at all, gets either too much or not enough sleep, is overweight, doesn't even own any sunscreen, and doesn't put much effort into keeping up her appearance.  But this person has an interesting/fulfilling job or career, so she's happy, she "feels good."

Is it possible to have it all?  Is it necessary to have it all?

I once read an article about Halle Berry, a beautiful actress.  In it I was shocked to learn that years ago she attempted suicide. I simply could not fathom why a beautiful and talented woman would want to end her life.  And even though the cause of her depression was a failed relationship, it still made no sense to me.  She's Halle Berry, I kept thinking.  She could have any man she wants.  Why would she not have enough self-confidence and self-worth to rise above her troubles and keep going?

But this is the mistake many people make--we judge others by what we see.  We see the exterior and have no idea what's going on inside the person.  If someone doesn't have as much beauty, confidence and worthiness on the inside as what people are seeing on the outside, this does not make for a very happy person.  I made the mistake of assuming that a beautiful woman could not possibly have serious problems in her life and would be lacking in self-esteem.  Not true at all.

So it would seem that spending one's life doing something interesting, meaningful, fulfilling, fun, joyful is really the key to being a happy person.  We can't count on our looks to fend off bad things happening in our lives; they'll happen anyway.

Inner peace brings about true happiness.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Out for the count

I had to have a medical test this week, for which I had to be sedated. They probably gave me the same stuff associated with Michael Jackson.  I think it's called Diprivan.

At any rate, it's such a strange thing indeed to go under anesthesia, being at the mercy of others, unaware of what is being done to you, how long it's taking, or what people are saying.  And what I might be saying, I should add.  That was a particular fear I had going in.  I'd heard that people under anesthesia often talk in their sleep.  Can you imagine how embarrassing this could be?

"It's too friggin' cold in here!"

"Watch what you're doing with that instrument!"

"You better not be looking at my bum!"

I must admit I cannot remember much about my recent outpatient testing.  But I have this vague memory of being wheeled back into the recovery room and in it I see myself being combative, fighting off nurses/attendants who are either taking tubes out of me or disconnecting things from me, etc.  I have no idea what really happened; it's all just a blur.

I sure hope I didn't say anything weird or insulting.  It really bothers me that I can't remember what happened.  They say it's better that way, but I'm not so sure. 

I hope not, but it's possible that some unfortunate medical staffer might be sporting a black eye right now.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Funny Little Story

I wrote this little humorous story as an entry to a contest.  At the last minute I changed my mind and entered a different story.  So I thought I'd post it here for (hopefully) a few laughs.

They Made a Flying Monkey Out of Me

Greetings! My name is Monty. Yeah yeah, I know, Monty who?, you're thinking.  My name doesn't ring any bells, I'm sure.  You've probably watched The Wizard of Oz a million times and the name Monty doesn't mean anything to you.  I get it.  But I've decided it's my turn to tell the story you don't know, all the little things that went on in that witch's castle nobody has told you.  But man, I lived it!  Do you have any idea what it's like to be a flying monkey?  Even the term gives people chills.  Hey, I know. We were the bad guys, hated by little kids and grownups alike.  Too bad you people don't know what it was like. That's where I come in.  Sit back and I'll tell you The Wizard of Oz from my perspective.

Okay, first of all that Wicked Witch of the West treated us like crap.  Some people would have considered us cute little monkey pets, but not her! Oh no, we were just her little servants, her little fetch it guys. "Fetch my broomstick! Fetch my pointed hat! Fetch my nose hair clippers!" And the stuff she fed us? Mushy brown bananas, cat food, and pretty much any crappy leftovers rotting around the castle.

So, as I said, I'd like to tell you the story of Dorothy, Toto, and the rest of her gang the way it really went down.  Please don't believe everything you've ever read about that Dorothy.  Sweet and innocent little Kansas girl, my ass!  She was a tramp.  The minute we brought her back to the castle (as commanded) she started flirting with all the guards!  Fake crying about getting back to her precious Aunty Em, boo hoo, yeah, I don't believe a word of it.  I know what she was really whispering in their ears.  Ya know, the witch really locked the chick up in a room by herself because she couldn't keep her slutty little hands to herself.

And then those three friends of hers showed up--the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion.  Those guys were the ones the other monkeys and I roughed up in the haunted forest.  Now that was a blast. Imagine us monkeys beating up a lion!  King of the Jungle.  Yeah, what a wuss.  He went down so easy I'm embarrassed to tell you.  Why that little mutt Toto put up more of a fight than the lion.  Growling and biting. Man, he grabbed onto my leg and wouldn't let go.  But that Tin Man?  We sure kicked his can. And of course the big bag of straw was no challenge at all. We just ripped him apart, scattered him here and there and then flew off with Dorothy and her doggy.

Now our boss, the Wicked Bitch herself, said there'd be a reward for bringing back the tramp and her little mutt.  Yeah sure!  Some reward we got.  A kick in the rump and all the rotten bananas we could eat. But I digress. I was telling you about the three gang members showing up to rescue Dottie.  I heard them whispering to each other in one of the hallways. They were arguing over which one was going to play hide the banana with Dorothy. The Tin Man warned the Scarecrow if he tried to make out with Dorothy that'd be the last straw.  The scarecrow told the Tin Man that Dorothy wouldn't want a heavy metal, hard-nosed dude like him.  And the two of them told the Lion little Dorothy wouldn't want to be seen in the company of a big fat coward like him.  So while they were arguing, I scampered off to tell my boss, her Wickedness, that the enemy had penetrated the castle walls.  I figured that would earn me bonus points. Instead, what did she do? Gave my tail a yank and screamed at me for breaking ranks! Bitch! Ya try to do someone a favor.

So, to make a long story short, after my fabulous, but unappreciated tip, the green-faced guards (who seriously needed facials and about a year's supply of acne scrub) surrounded the enemies on all sides.  Our wicked leader came forth and greeted (read that threatened) the intruders. Now, here I want to tell you what really happened. Yeah, yeah, I know you'll say I'm making this up. I assure you, I am not. Just as the Scarecrow's arm was burning due to that wicked witch, I spotted a bucket of water up on a shelf. I have magnificent vision if I do say so myself. So I jumped up into the air, grabbed that bucket and tossed it in the direction of the Scarecrow's burning arm. But folks, putting out that fire was really just gravy. Ya see, I was really aiming for my boss, The Wicked Witch. How I wanted her to die! Years of cruelty and injustice will make a monkey turn wicked, will make him do anything. And it worked! That water splashed all over her body and she melted into nothing but the crappy black outfit she never changed out of for all the years I'd known her.

So, there you have it, that's what really happened. I, Monty the Monkey, am the true hero of The Wizard of Oz. Don't believe any other version 'cause I'm telling you what really went down. After the melting of our evil leader, my fellow flying monkeys and the ugly green guards bowed down to me. They said, "All hail, Monty.  The Wicked Witch is dead!"

And now that I was no longer forced to hunt down and destroy the witch's enemies, I showed the world the compassion that lived in me by sparing Dorothy and her gang members. Handing the girl the witch's broomstick, I told her to go taking a flying you know what back to Kansas. She and her buddies scampered out of there like a bunch of scared and twitchy little squirrels.

As for me, I was crowned Monty, the Magnificent, King of the Castle.  No one would ever again make a flying monkey out of me!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Then and Now...My Kids in Pictures

I used to take a lot of photographs of my kids when they were little.  Believe me, I did.  My kids were always such fascinating subjects, in my estimation, that almost anything they did was picture-worthy.  Unlike my husband, I felt tub pictures were off-limits.  No naked kiddos.  My father snapped the occasional naked baby on a bearskin rug photo when I was growing up, but not I.

However, I did take pictures of the kids eating their meals (and wearing a shirt full or face full of applesauce, beets, prunes, etc.), playing in a playpen, smiling back at me in their cribs, toddling around in the snow, and all dressed up for special occasions like Easter and Christmas.

I'm so glad I grabbed the camera each time to document all these milestones and once in a lifetime moments.  I've always said if my house was on fire and I could only grab one thing to take with me (besides people) it would be my big box of photographs.  I can buy just about anything to replace that which is lost, but not pictures.

So recently, realizing there was a lack of images of my grown-up children, I gathered them together in the back yard and snapped a bunch of pictures.  I must say this was some huge feat for rarely are the three of them at home at the same time these days.

And I got a little misty-eyed thinking of that.  My kids have grown up so fast and I have been forgetting to document these changes as if somehow they will stay just the way they are, as if it doesn't matter now that they're no longer running round with pigtails or droopy diapers.  Maybe I've been afraid to show these changes because that would force me to reckon with the changes in me.

Life is a scrapbook of memories, and photographs are the proof of time moving forward.  We can't stop time.  As Joni Mitchell said, "We can't return we can only look behind from where we came."