Don’t Forget Small Business Saturday

Don’t Forget Small Business Saturday.

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It’s All About Food Today

It’s All About Food Today.

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Happy April Fool’s Day!!

I love April Fool’s. I don’t play many pranks anymore and I never played any really huge ones, but I just love the day nonetheless. I mean, an entire day set aside for silliness. Especially in the America I live in, this is a joyful exception to the rule. We have become far too serious a nation. In Colorado, for example, we have lost such lovely things as the Bob Festival, which celebrated everyone named Bob. I have heard nothing of the Dan Lynch Lunch, immortalized by John Coit, for twenty years. Pole dancing is seriously be submitted as an Olympic sport.

Have we lost our sense of the absurd? Online, there seems to be some appreciation for the rankly silly in the world (see, for example), but it has to verge on slapstick to be appreciated. What has happened to the finely turned pun? Sometimes, I don’t think we know our own language well enough to enjoy puns anymore. A sad, sad loss!

So here are some things I have found very funny lately:

    The Tea Party movement—These folks seriously want to get rid of the Democrats in office because things were so much better under the Republicans. Uh huh.

    Dog parks—I could take these seriously if dogs did not still poop and play any old place. Dogs don’t care about dog parks. Besides, it’s discrimination against cats and rabbits. Why don’t we have cat parks, perhaps better called Public Cat Boxes. And rabbits have, I’m told, have become popular house pets after. Where are the Bunny Hops?

    Homeland Security—Are we more secure since this new agency has been formed? Is information shared more willingly between government agencies? Not so’s you’d notice. In fact, this new agency appears to be a way to legalize government bullying even beyond what the IRS could do, leaving many of us feeling even less secure than ever.

Well, before I get myself in even deeper water, here is some of the fun on the Internet today:

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Starbucks Coffee

Blizzard’s Matchmaking Site

YouTube lets you watch video in text!

Just the research has renewed my faith. The human race may survive to laugh again!

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Keeping A Promise

When I started this, I promised myself I would write 350-750 words a day. In terms of paper, that’s around 1 1/3 to 5 pages of double-spaced type. Not so hard, huh? Particularly for someone who has produced 8 to 10 pages of material daily for weeks at a time.

Here’s the problem: back then, I was getting paid and being given a topic, if you will. Basically, as a technical writer, you produce documents, electronic or paper, concerning the topic your employer/client wants documented. It’s pretty cut and dried. Very, very dry, in most cases, which is why I enjoyed doing user documentation. Explaining how to use software to accomplish one’s job always appealed to me; after all, computers were supposed to simplify our lives, weren’t they?

I was already out of college when the personal computer was invented. I once had a boss who swore no personal computer would ever befoul the sacred confines of his IS department. Of course, he’d spent his career in a big IBM mainframe shop and was feeling a little claustrophobic managing a department using a Data General mini-computer. It was a nice machine, with a fairly simple operating system proprietary to Data General. I learned a lot in that job, including that saying yes at the wrong moment can be catastrophic. I am thinking of the time I nearly deleted the accounting department’s files. All of them. Actually, I did delete them, but I had an up-to-date backup file and I put them right back. Until now, I was pretty much the only person who knew about that. Twenty-five years is sufficient for keeping that little secret, I suppose.

Just talking about it brings up the “Holy S***!!!” falling feeling in my stomach. Amazing how long those feelings can hang with you when you have to keep them secret. My boss at that time was not tolerant or forgiving and the organization I worked for was barely willing to have me around, because I was a single parent. At least in that area, most employers are more willing to work with employees these days. Thank goodness I had a great daycare mom who was willing to keep my son when I had to work overtime for month-ends. My daughter’s boss loves his young mothers and mothers-to-be and supports them as much as he can, not penalizing the women when they have to get children to the doctor or have a daycare breakdown. It pleases me; I know women like myself who did what they had to do to support their kids contributed to a more tolerant time.

Well, there you have it, today’s maunderings. I have a couple of things planned to write about in the future, but tonight was just a pop-off. Sometimes it’s like that, I suppose.

Just some thoughts on a beautiful spring day in Denver.

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I couldn’t sleep last night. I’d love to say I couldn’t sleep because of something outside myself, but that wasn’t the case. I couldn’t sleep because of a surfeit of words. By my own choice, I’m not expressing myself and it’s starting to keep me up at night. The truth is, it’s time to be what I always said I wanted to be and I’m both terrified and exhilarated.

I’ve been a published writer for years. I’ve had editorials published in a variety of publications, including the deeply missed and mourned Rocky Mountain News. I’ve edited a couple of newsletters. And, of course, there was that twenty years of technical writing for various companies in the Denver area. In the end, though, I always wanted to really be a writer. Somebody who gets up in the morning, dusts off the keyboard, and spits words onto a page for the outside world to judge and evaluate. In the 21st century, anyone has the ability to do this, thanks to the blessing and curse of blogs. As anyone with access to the internet is aware, there are a million zillion blogs out there, so mine has the chance to slip in and go blissfully unnoticed. But I will once again be a published writer, with something I can point to and say, “Yes, of course, I’m writing.”

Ah, but therein lies the rub. To be a writer, I have to keep writing. Writing is damned hard work, frankly. I’d rather sit around and think about it than do it, especially because at some point I will tell somebody I’m doing it and they will expect me to keep doing it. I don’t know if I can promise that. I can try, though, because if I don’t start spitting some of these words out, I may never sleep again.

So what’s tweaking me today? Current news stories: David Stone, Sr. and David Stone, Jr. were arrested as part of a sweep of an America militia group preparing to wage war on the American government. The news programs keep running a sound bite of David Stone, Jr.’s mother, Donna Stone, weeping over his arrest because he was caught up in his father’s activities. As I listen to her, I hear a mother willing to allow her ex-husband and son be responsible for their actions but still so sad that her son has messed up his life. I know that feeling; I’m a mother with a son who’s made some costly mistakes and I am so, so sorry. I can’t do anything for him except love him and I do. Always and no matter what. I hope he knows that.

I also have a daughter. Same thing; I love her totally, always and no matter what. She and her husband are struggling to have a child, despite having been married less than a year. She may not be able to have a baby if they don’t hurry. They should have had more time, damn it. I spent my younger days trying not to get pregnant, with two notable failures. I volunteer at Bridgeway, a home for pregnant teens. Life is rarely fair, but I wish it was treating my kids better. So does Donna Stone.

And then there is the case of Phoebe Prince, a fifteen-year-old girl driven to suicide by her classmates at South Hadley High School in Massachusetts. There are no crueler people in the world than teenagers, especially teenage girls. I am glad to see that some of her torturers will stand trial for what they did; this kind and level of cruelty is intolerable. My question is, why didn’t some of the teachers step up for her? Were they so intimidated by the same children that they couldn’t defend her? Or is this kind of mistreatment so rampant in high schools that they just didn’t notice?

The suicide bombings in Moscow are also immensely disturbing, particularly because women were the bombers. That is a discussion for another day, I’m afraid. Today, suffice to say my heart and prayers go out to the people of Moscow and Russia. They didn’t deserve this. To terrorists everywhere, you are killing people who cannot make a difference to your cause, who don’t deserve to pay the consequences of your rage, and whose deaths will not win you sympathy from your government or the world at large. Find some other way to express yourselves.

That’s today’s thoughts. Have the best day possible and treat the people around you well. Please.

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Snow day

I think this may be blog two or three for me. I don’t promise to write everyday, but I will write when something tweaks my “spit it out” nerve.

Today,  for example, it’s snowing in Denver. In fact, we have a Winter Storm Warning, which means we’ll get significant snow. Now, what bugs me is, all the businesses and government offices stayed open. Why does this bug me? Because people had to get up and drive to work, including several people I love. Snowy roads can be treacherous and really heavy snowfall, which we’ve had off and on, makes it hard to see. There were some ugly accidents this morning, fortunately avoided by my loved ones this time.

So what is so blasted important out there that people had to go to work today? It brings up the whole philosophy of work that drives me nuts (yeah, I’m unemployed). My life and time are valuable to me. I consider a job as an agreement between my employer and me that, for a specified number of hours, I will devote myself wholeheartedly to their interests. They, in turn, will agree to certain constraints such as not putting my life in jeopardy (some employers have not done this well at all). This includes driving to the office on days when it’s not wise to be on the road. Granted, when I am working, I’m a writer and working from home has not been a problem for many years. In fact, I’m more productive when I’m not in an office.

I do my best not to impose on other people: I do my shopping on less hazardous days and, if I have appointments, I do my best to reschedule them for other times. In other words, I really don’t want anyone out there who doesn’t absolutely have to be. Law enforcement, fire departments, hospital personnel, the folks who plow the roads; couldn’t we make their lives easier by simply staying home on seriously crummy days?

As it turns out, things haven’t been too bad where my peeps had to be. It’s pretty likely we’ll get through today without any mishaps. But, darn it, what was so important that they had to go out to begin with? How has our world become so impatient that people like admins and painters and dental assistants have to be in the office on a day like this?

Just an odd thought from Denver on a snowy day. Be careful out there.

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Microsoft Office 7

Totally my personal opinion. Office 7 rocks. I love ribbons.

Yet another odd thought, possibly more suited to Twitter. Oh well.

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