The family that views together?

My mother loves watching television. Loves. It. So it’s been a challenge for her since arriving back in Paradise to adjust to our television viewing habits. Um, we don’t exactly have any?

She’s got to feel like she’s in TV Hell.

We do have shows we enjoy, but from my perspective, it’s more about being with my menfolk in the evening after dinner than the show itself. Sappy, but true. Now, the MoH would probably say, “Whatever,” to my response being the avid one-who-looks-forward-to-his-three-shows-that-aren’t-sports type person that he is, but you do get the idea, right?

Outside of those few shows on our highly intellectual viewing agenda (American Noodle, Bones, House, Top Chef…), we surf. Someone grabs the clicker while I’m putting the finishing touches on the latest recipe I’m subjecting my family to and their job is to find something we’ll all enjoy while we’re eating — nothing anyone really cares about. You know, like Dirty Jobs, which is great viewing while eating. Have you seen the one about the clean up after the toilets exploded? Nice.

This isn’t always as easy as it sounds since we’re usually ready to park our butts on the couch with food and beverage in hand around 7PM most nights. There’s never really anything on. One-hundred-fifty channels, not counting choices for the On-Demand channels or pay-per-view options and there’s nothing on. If you have a closet full of clothes and often feel as if you have nothing to wear, it would be similar to that feeling. Completely hopeless.

Like I said. We surf. It doesn’t matter that it’s 6:50 or 7:12, the one with the clicker stops at whatever looks good — erm, that would so not be Cash Cab, okay? Who thinks of that crap? We settle in while we eat, try to ignore the Doggo who waits patiently for any finished plate to lick, never blinking lest she miss that opportunity, and like the relatively content saps we are, watch whatever is semi-interesting. Sometimes, that means staring at the pretty pictures on one of the HD channels.

This is all very contrary to what my mom is accustomed to. She is a stalwart TV Guide person, planning her television viewing time meticulously. In fact, she enjoys reading said TV Guide aloud to others so that they, too, can know what is on and marvel at all the possibilities. So I’ve explained the on-line Guide to her. You know. That place that lists all shows on all channels across all hours of the next few centuries? Yes. That one. I’ve also shown her how the DVR works. That way she can record her favorites, then watch them while I’m wasting the prime years of my life *snort* sitting at my Mac every freaking morning of the week. Okay, so maybe not weekends. But still.

So she’s adjusting, but it’s got to be strange. Annoying? Probably downright aggravating. I know we can be that way. So I also encourage her to watch television in our bedroom when we’re downstairs. Warm the bed up, blow the cobwebs off the Sony and fire up the engine to see if it still runs. And she has. Once.

We have been enjoying American Noodle together, and that’s been fun, but I’m sure she’d like to hunker down with her own schedule, with her own television, which, by the way, is sitting in the garage with the rest of her Earthly possessions and is just about as big as the little bedroom I wedged her into. In fact, now that I think of it, that television is so enormous, I wonder if it will fit through the door.

Okay, so maybe not that big. But I don’t want to think about trying to carry it up the stairs. Besides, we don’t have cable active in that part of the house. Gawd forbid giving the RTR another reason to hole up in his cave. Besides, can TVs actually pick up stations without being hooked up anymore?

So this morning, after diligently recording Boston Legal and Grey’s Anatomy, do you think she’d actually be able to sit down and enjoy them? One would think so. But for some reason, the sound wasn’t working on the television. One of us must have pushed a mysterious button on the clicker and it’s hopeless to try and figure out which one it is without dorking the entire operation up beyond all repair. So I clicked off the power surge for a few minutes and let the whole thing reboot.

It works now.

But she’s upstairs messing around with her laptop which was freezing up every time she had more than a couple of windows open.

I have my fingers crossed that it’s fixed now, too.

Because, like I said, I’m in the prime of my life and have so many swell things to get on with.

Like vacation plans.

I finally found a cute little place in Sorrento for the second leg of our trip to Italy (I booked an apartment in Rome for the first leg) which is happening in less than six weeks and I am sooooooooo not ready…The Hotel del Mare sits nearly at the Marina Grande and is a winding, hilly walk to the center of Sorrento. A great way to work off the breakfast that comes with the room!   It sounds like the four of us will be shoulder-to-shoulder and have some family bonding time.

But I am starting to get pretty excited about the whole thing.

It’s finally beginning to feel real!

Parts is Parts

What does it say about me when I can admit that I spent most of my morning at work putting labels and stickers on file folders in preparation for this next year of business and L.O.V.E.D. it?

CONTROL. The woman craves CONTROL. (insert wicked and crazed laughter here and clasp your hands near your chin, making sure to rub them as if applying lotion) It’s an office supply problem. You know. Paper, and pencils, envelopes and white out? I’ve always had an issue with office supplies, and I’ve learned there’s no cure.

But wait! There’s more.

I worked a whole extra 90 minutos loving it. I could see a real live finished product that had dimension. And I could carefully pick up all the brightly colored folders, and click them on the desktop to make sure they were PERFECTLY lined up. So. Cool.

About half way through my time, someone brought up New Year’s Resolutions, and I was surprised that I hadn’t even thought of making one. Of course, now, it’s still on my mind. But not so much that it has kept my drawers in a knot or anything. Now that would be quite the conundrum. Call this practiced avoidance.

Why do you need a resolution when you have a list. I made one last night before going to bed so I could hit the ground running when I got home from my J.O.B. Guess what was first on the list? Okay, so you’ll never guess, and although I’m a complete pro at Twenty Questions, I’ll cut to the chase…

…my friends at Best Buy. Or better said if you’ve watched the show on Monday nights, Chuck, which is beyond surprisingly good for television and no, I’ve never watched Boston Legal, or 30 Rock, or…Okay, you get it. Buy More. That’s what the store is called on Chuck. Best Buy is Buy More. Whatever.

Anyway, I called like a gracious and tolerant consumer who has been screwed and dragged over the coals by the capitalist machine that will be the bane of our existence before we know it ahem…has been so patient with an obvious communication problem.

I was less than thrilled when Josh answered the phone after I dealt with the cheerful machine and sitting on hold for 10 minutes. It wasn’t that Josh wasn’t thrilling. He’s been well trained. “Let me verify that the television we’re talking about is at (***) 555-DORK.” I told him that was correct and that there were most likely red flags and unhappy faces stamped around my phone number along with a few Jolly Rogers and a Fickle Finger of Fate for good measure. After a professional pause, he stated that they did not deal with red flags and unhappy faces (bwahahahahahaha!) and then he read me the notes the supervisor wrote on 12-14 after I spoke with her about what could be done.

Poor Josh read, “General Electronics (authorized posers) is having difficulty ordering parts.” I could only gasp delicately and ask him to tell me if that meant the parts to fix our T.V. still had not been ordered before I collected myself to breathe scorching flames through the receiver. He politely responded that,” because I’m not a supervisor, ma’am (wince), I may not be able to access all the information regarding what has transpired.”

So yes I spoke to yet another supervisor whose name I was provided without a request and isn’t that stellar customer service? But after she said hello, she asked to put me on hold so she could review the service notes. Uhhh…what service?

And when she couldn’t tell me whether parts had or hadn’t been ordered, I told her I would take the T.V. to the closest Buy More Sucker Store and stay there until they gave me a new T.V.

And guess what?

She said in her well-trained and pleasant customer type service voice, ” I can submit an authorization for you, if you’d like.”

Huh? “An authorization for what?” I asked.

“An authorization for a replacement T.V. which will take three to five business days.”

Go figure. So I told her I’d prefer the quickest way to ensure the T.V. was totally functional and wasn’t this a lot of horse shit from me.  She said she’d pursue both avenues and ain’t that special. I was smiling, however. And I did NOT raise my voice ONE time. But my eyebrows were very angry.

So next Wednesday, I’ll bring this up again. You will be soooooo over it, but it will be so special to find out whether I’ve been granted a brand spanking new T.V. or parts. And you know what they say about parts.

Parts is parts…OR…the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

What’s that song that says something about being happy if you know it and clapping your hands?

Yah. Like that.

Now, on to the next thing on my list.

Once upon a time, the customer used to be right.

Ahhh…what a difference a day makes; it allows the nut inside to cool down a bit so stock can be taken of what matters.

Friday dawned as one should when there’s no work and no carpool duty. I got to enjoy my coffee instead of spilling it down the front of my shirt rushing around. I got to scan the newspaper and not learn anything I didn’t already know because I’d heard it on my car radio.

And then I got to drive my car down the hill to finally have it serviced. Finally. I picked up another coffee at a non-Starbucks joint and proceded to walk back up the hill to begin my day. I wasn’t too surprised to figure out that it is possible to walk up an incline that averages about 15 degrees holding a cup of coffee, occasionally taking a sip, and actually look stupid. No one would do that but me. What a dork. But I walked the distance in about 25 minutes and got my exercise in for the day.

And then all hell broke loose.

Since I was in a “take care of business” type of mood, I’d decided to check in with the authorized service provider we were told to use for our television which is just barely into its extended warranty. We’ve had it for exactly three years and purchased the extension through Best Buy where we bought the LG TV.

So let me back up here.

A bright red stripe about 1.5″ wide that extends from the top to the bottom of the left side of the screen appeared the day before Thanksgiving. Of course I got on the LG website to try and trouble shoot thinking that it may not be quite the big deal. I got out the owner’s manual, too, thinking I could learn something there.

Uh. No.

So the pleasant service guy showed up the Tuesday after Thanksgiving after I called AGAIN because they never called back after the first call. That should have been my warning.

The nice service man said that he’d check about whether parts and service OR a replacement television was in order. Honestly, I didn’t care. I just wanted to not have the red stripe on the screen. OR the pinkish, whitish, greyish conglomeration of tech-snow interference that conveniently did its thang while the service guy was here and thank you very much. For twenty minutes it snowed. Pink.

He said he’d call as soon as he got word on how to proceed. And he did, the very next day saying that parts were to be ordered. They’d come from the Right Coast, take about two weeks to get here, they’d come to collect the TV, install the parts, then keep it a couple of days to make sure everything was fine.

Totally groovy. I was feeling sooooooo efficient.

Just to convince you I’m calm, I waited two weeks and two WHOLE days before I called to check and see about the parts since the authorized people hadn’t called me.

The woman who answered the phone is now my mortal enemy. Her not really connected to this planet attitude and cavalier response about “the parts not being ordered yet” sent me completely through the roof. Her annoying, “Ma’am.” interrupting my request for her to repeat the offending information sealed the deal. She blamed the entire thing on Best Buy saying they didn’t have our information in the blah-blah-bla-dee-dah something or other. And she was, I think, a tad offended when I suggested to her that it was blatantly bad business practice to let something sit unresolved. She had no answer when I questioned her about just how long she’d wait before calling us to say that nothing had been done to service our TV after they’d told us it would be taken care of.

She didn’t like me. She really didn’t like me after 10 minutes of listening to me. But I’ll bet her dislike of me doesn’t approach my less than enthusiastic attitude about her prissy self.

So then I called Best Buy. Or should I say I punched in the number and several hundred others until I actually spoke to a human. I’ll spare you the details. But I did end up with a Manager who did tell me that the authorized people were having trouble getting the parts. Okay, so sure. That story was totally close to the crap the authorized chick on the phone told me. Liar. Great. So I asked the Manager when I might expect to get the parts. Sadly, she didn’t have that information. That maybe in 24-48 hours, I might be able to have that information. Mind you — 24-48 hours and two business days are not the same thing. It was Friday for goodness sakes. Puh-leeeeze.

So I called LG who told me that since everybody was pissing around, I should expect, demand, get a replacement TV. Okay, so the guy didn’t exactly say “pissing around,” but still. So I called Best Buy again, and after speaking with a few other people, got Kayla the Manager on the phone who sounded less than cheerful, in fact, quite resigned when she got on the line with,” Hello Kelly” and I told her what LG had told me. Like she really wanted to hear it.

And then I asked to speak to her Supervisor, Amber, who initiated our conversation with a verbal download of the day’s events so I’d know that she knew what she thought I’d expect her to know to be in the know. Yanno?

But all she could tell me is that it looked like the parts had been ordered.

And I told her that although we’ve purchased many, many things from Best Buy over the years, I was done. That had we purchased the TV from Fry’s, the service people would have taken it off the wall for us so that the MoH and I wouldn’t have had to do it. We are just not quite inclined to do those kinds of things. But we managed to pull the fist full of wires and cables far enough out of the wall to allow the TV to sit on the console below it and reattach it to its stand. Very. Scary. And Oh how I just can’t wait to put it back up there if the damn thing ever gets fixed.

Good thing we have muscles. Feh.

The TV ordeal took a couple of hours out of my Friday. But the good thing about it was that I got a lot of housework done while I was on hold which made it easier to put up the Christmas decorations later in the day.

I’m going to wait until the television is fixed (at the rate we’re going it should be sometime in February…) to write my letters commending the employees of Best Buy who know exactly how to say all the right things in the correct fashion. They’re so well trained. It’s too bad that the content of their comments is worthless. I’ll find a pithy way to extend that particular gem of information.

I’m thinking their goal would be to keep me in a state of suspended animation until the extended warranty time is up. Then they won’t have to do anything about the TV. After all, we already got raked over the coals because we purchased ours so long ago they only cost a fraction of what we paid — one quarter the amount we paid, actually.

So heed my warning if you’re headed out to purchase appliances or electronics this holiday season. Ask lots of questions about the warranties and extended warranties. If we hadn’t purchased the extended warranty, we’d be S.O.L. on our TV right now. LG said had it still been on warranty with them, they’ve have replaced it.

Of course we have a nice Sony in the bedroom that’s years older and has never had a single problem.

So happy shopping, guys!

B.L.O.B. News

Now that I’ve been ripped a new a**hole by two very lovely folks from New Hampshire, let’s move on to discuss the great things happening in “other news…”

Right now, my mother is thinking, “News? If I wanted to know what was going on in the world, I’d watch the news.” Sorry, Mom. I’m not in the mood to write about why one of my cats peed on the floor next to the catbox instead of in the catbox last night, but I am still scratching my head because it’s never happened before. Well, at least with respect to the catbox. I am quite used to boys missing the toilet, but I don’t feel like writing about that, either. Or why the Yack Star is on an “attach her fat self to the side of the leather chair before hoisting herself up to the arm” kick right now.

She’s. Going. To. DIE. Yack Star

I’m also not feeling like grousing about neighbors, issues with the new school year, housekeeping — or the lack thereof — or food. Mmmm…food.

But I am interested in — because it’s my B.L.O.B.* and I can write about it if I want to:

From the Detroit Free Press: “State gas prices 37-cents higher than national average, no reason why”

Uh…welcome to our neighborhood. Seriously. I feel for you. For about three seconds. It’s about freaking time someone else had crappy gasoline prices. Any time now, “THEY” will tell us that they’re switching to winter gasoline, whatever the hell that is and we’ll be right back there with yah.Oil Prices

Western Farm Press: “California hiding behind tiny smelt, not facing reality”

“Makes you wonder what DWR leaders were thinking when they shut down Delta transfer pumps and told everyone: no big deal. People would just quit drinking water and farmers would stop farming while fish biologists count needles (tiny minnows) in a haystack (the vast California Delta)?”

OMG — this guy is hilarious. Whatsisname? Harry Cline. Fuh-neeeeee.

The easy save-the-smelt target is the pumps. You can turn them off and on.”

I just love this guy and his completely irreverent attitude toward our illustrious politicians. Smelt Hook, anyone?

BBC News: “Markets fall after dip in US jobs”

“The surprise 4,000 reduction in the US workforce in August sent the main Dow Jones index down 211 points…”

Hmmm…how many college students quit their jobs before going back to school each fall? Or which giant, struggling US company released employees instead of being able to renegotiate labor contracts? Wait, it was that huge mortgage company…

“Analysts fear the job cuts show that the recent market turmoil has spread to the wider US economy.”

The sky is falling, the sky is falling…I’ve always wondered what “analysts” actually do. You know…work wise..?

“Michael Metz, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer & Co in New York, reacted to the latest employment figures with gloom.”

“It’s dreadful…it seems to me almost inevitable we’re heading for recession,” Mr Metz said.”

Doom. Gloom. Chicken Little Sorry. I couldn’t resist. No, I didn’t make it. Image credit to: Internet Weekly [dot] org

Market Watch: “Assessing Maria Bartiromo and Erin Burnett”

“Today, the media biz’s juciest smackdown is taking place inside the hallowed halls of CNBC. Maria Bartiromo is fending off Erin Burnett, who is about nine years her junior.”

I like BOTH of them and what the hell does AGE have to do with it? If this was about two men, there would be NO mention of age. They’re both great — well, except Maria does get a bit worked up on the floor and yells…’Money Honey?’ Now that’s just wrong.

The Motley Fool: “Curse You, Steve Jobs!” iPhone Brainwash Ad courtesy of iPhone Matters

“I work hard for my money, and shelling out the $600 for the phone wasn’t easy. But it felt cool having a phone that everyone wanted but not everyone could have. However, with the phone now retailing for $400, the device will be financially accessible to a wider audience. Apple has to know this decision would frustrate its customers who paid nearly 33% more for the phone just over two months ago. So why would it do this?”

Uh…I get that there are people who get a rush over having the latest and greatest…but to actually write it. Like this? What? You’re expecting positive attention for this? She’s joking, right?

“Apple figured that it could significantly mark up the price initially, as the phone attracted gadget enthusiasts willing to pay premium prices for the phone. But now it feels that it has maximized profits from that market and is now tapping into the lower market in order to keep expanding sales.

Lower market? Would that be the common folk? Who is this person? I hope I’m supposed to be laughing right now, because otherwise…It reminds me of the sanctimonious attitude of those who, after paying premium prices for real estate, are disgruntled to find that “RENTERS” have moved in next door. The horror of it all.

“I absolutely love my iPhone, and I may be a bit overzealous about the price drop since it directly affects me…”

Okay, so I’m laughing?

MSNBC: “Apple responds to backlash, offers apology”

“Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs apologized and offered $100 credits Thursday to cusomers who shelled out $599 for the most advanced model of the iPhone this summer, only to have the company unexpectedly slash the price $200 in a push to boost holiday sales.”

So this is a bit like the mortgage default problem — people in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida who bought homes with zero percent down loans and never intended to live in them (read Flip That House) are now whining, getting ready to dump the load on everyone else, and hell, if they wait long enough, have Uncle Sam bail their sorry asses out. Yah, I think that sounds about right. They’ll turn around and purchase something else that’s risky. The people who receive the iPhone rebates will go to the Apple store and buy more Apple products.

iTnews: “Storm worm botnet more powerful than top supercomputers”

“Sergeant said researchers at MessageLabs see about 2 million different computers in the botnet sending out spam on any given day, and he adds that he estimates the botnet generally is operating at about 10 percent of capacity.”

Great. At least I can rest easy knowing that I’ll have the opportunity to purchase cheap Viagra, vibrators, knock-off Gucci purses, and no point loans.

Garlic Spam

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, stay tuned for our regularly scheduled programming.

*B.L.O.B

Beleaguered Labour of Bullsh*t

Edsels, Nexters, and Whining Reporters

I know this constitutes the second politically based commentary I’ve made in a single day, but in the spirit of ranting about “the other side,” I thought, what the hell.

So finally Fred Thompson has officially declared his candidacy for the Presidency. And although that isn’t a surprise, it is a bit humorous that he chose to sit out the debate the other Republican wannabees were elbowing their way to in New Hampshire at about the same time, in what New York Times writer Susan Saluny described as “[providing] himself a pleasant, risk-free forum, safe from potential negativity and tough questioning from reporters, a debate moderator or the public.” Oh, yes, that would be terrifying, wouldn’t it.

Uh…are we whining here that someone isn’t playing by the rules? I think it’s pretty funny. Thompson did it because he could. Period. And why not? I’d want to separate myself from that pack as well. I’ve tried to watch them in previous forums, and I just can’t handle it. They’re all so…insignificant. Unimpressive? Typical. Well, except Romney who looks like he should be doing toothpaste commercials. Or selling Grecian Formula for Men.

The Thompson announcement that ran in our local paper from the Associated Press and The Washington Post included reactions from “some New Hampshire Republicans” who “expressed disappointment, even sounding a bit hurt, that the former U.S. senator from Tennessee didn’t show up.” Being empathetic to the obvious plight those republicans are struggling with (knotted panties), I’m will attempt to put myself in their collective shoes. Somehow it comes out similar to the feeling I imagine one may have if, after being given pre-season football tickets, he arrives at the game to discover that a newly signed and much touted free agent won’t be playing. It doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a newspaper, log on to the Internet, or watch television to find out what will be happening as time goes on.

The fact that the article continues, stating that “curiosity is giving way to skepticism and maybe even cynicism about [Thompson] in part because of how he’s handling his grand entrance” is what bothers me. Cullen, the New Hampshire GOP Chairman has a bit o’ the sour grapes as well, and reminds me of someone who’s reacting to being snubbed by a desirable invited to an afternoon tea. Get over it.

I understand that New Hampshire has this bizarre arrogance about their primary and being “first” for eighteen gazillion years, but how many people live there and vote? More importantly, how many of them are people who watch Jay Leno, are inclined to look up a web site to gather information, and then join forums to discuss what they’re learning?

In case you’ve been wondering whether this means I’m happy that Fred’s hat has been thrown in the ring, think again. I’m more interested at this point in watching the goings on while I sit back and gather my thoughts.

And I’m fascinated by George F. Will’s piece on Ford’s ’57 Titanic that ran today and the connections I made between what he had to say about an ugly old car and Americans:

Americans are more discerning and less herdable than their cultured despisers suppose, so what matters most is simple. Good products.

Are there any out there? It’s going to be tough to weed through the sludge encased in this spin or that, but I’m gearing up for the challenge. Funny thing, though. There is a whole group of individuals who will just make their decision without getting too worked up about any of it.

PBS’ Judy Woodruff dubbed them “The Nexters” in their broadcast “Generation Next 2.0.” The program documents Nexters’, or “young people between the ages of 16 and 25” “views on life, the future of the country, social activities, technology, and other topics, comparing and contrasting them with previous generations.”

The conclusion drawn was intriguing: that they are somewhat more conservative than their parents.

It’s interesting to see how the younger set’s inclinations with respect to the election are being tracked…Very.

I think I’ll stay tuned. Edsel, anyone?

No Palm Trees — Just Reality TV

I know you are sick and tired of hearing about how seriously no whoop-tee-doo great it is to live in Paradise: endless days of grey blue skies and overcast sunny weather; squawking birds and lawn mowers waking me up and the crack of dawn palm trees rustling gently in the dank air warm breeze; and the cold and murky glistening blue Pacific at my doorstep whenever my friends drag me kicking and screaming I wish to go for a dip, or sit on the beach to completely wreck my skin relax.

But isn’t it better than having me blather about Search Engine Optimization? Or monetizing my blog? (Yes, I know it says that at the end of my posts, but I didn’t put it there, and I’m seriously not going to try and take it off now that my blog is working fairly well) Or how to increase traffic to my blog? Who cares? W-H-O?

It reminds me of someone who has heard that they can make great money if they open a restaurant. They don’t know how to cook, they aren’t especially great at creating ambience, they may not even enjoy food that much. But hell, they’re going to get people to think they want to eat there anyway. They’ll do absolutely anything to get people to think they need to eat there — even if there’s nothing to eat. Even if there isn’t a menu. At least with Hell’s Kitchen you get a show.

Chef Gordon Ramsay Speaking of Hell’s Kitchen, we’ve been rotting our brains with quite a few summer TV shows I’ve been meaning to bring it up from time to time, but my self-indulgence always gets in the way. Although I’ve got my opinions on whether the shows are actually worth watching, one can get quite the education on the various ways the f-word can be used syntactically. That’s fairly entertaining coming from Gordon Ramsay. I like the way his mouth is scratched out when he’s ripping someone a new sphincter. Why bother watching? Because I don’t like the shopping channel? Or re-runs. Because we watch them together — en famille. *sigh* What a concept, huh? The RT isn’t tied to the sofa or anything, so occasionally he drifts upstairs with his iP-OD. Or the MoH will grab his laptop so he can look at Arctic Basket Weaving stats, or Hungarian Handball updates. Numbers, remember? He’s gotta see those numbers or he gets pretty cranky.

I get the shows we watch mixed up. Not just the nights they’re on, but the people who are in the shows. Somehow, I thought Adrian who was recently booted off The Next Food Network Star was the chef from San Diego who’s really on Top Chef — Brian. And don’t get me started on the issue of why I am challenged to know exactly WHICH episode of Top Chef I should record from the 89 that are shown in one day. Gimmeabreak. Of the three cooking shows, at least it seems some of the individuals on Top Chef can actually cook — the real reason I like the shows. I keep hoping they’ll really show cooking. Stupid me. And I can tolerate most of the contestants — well except Hung who is completely and arrogantly obnoxious, reminding my of the less than tolerable Marcel, the runner up of last year’s competition. Top Chef Contestant Hung They have got to tell the contestants to act like this, right? They can’t possibly be that insufferable all on their own. And can he cook without putting foam on something? It truly looks like the remnants of my dog’s yack, and who would want that on their plate? John Foxx Photo Blech. What I’m not good at tolerating are this guy Tom and this Padma woman. They’re so wishy-washy with their comments. So…sanctimonious. But I love the fact that Anthony Bourdain did a guest blogger spot and agreed with me about Hung and Marcel. Smart man. Okay, so maybe he isn’t quite agreeing with me, but I wrote it before I read that he thought it, so, close. He also had some interesting advice that I found quite useful…

A little humility; a willingness to accommodate what people are likely to enjoy and appreciate, instead of pursuing that which honors only his own perceived genius, would be a good adjustment.

A man after my own heart. Ahem…revisit paragraph two above.

Speaking of “perceived genius,” I’ve had some trouble with The Next Food Network Star show from the beginning. So why am I still watching it? Amy’s from San Diego, and I guess I’m rooting for the home team. Plus, she actually knows how to cook. What completely pisses me off is that it seems they’re not really interested in that. She uses vocabulary that it too challenging, or uses correct terminology for her equipment, or isn’t baring an ubsurd grin and dropping food down her cleavage. She refers to herself as “The Gourmet Next Door,” and I guess that won’t go over well with Wall Mart shoppers. As for the show, there’s too much drama, and we are continuously reminded that The Food Network is about food. Oh, okay. I forgot.

Can TV execs get a serious clue that not everyone in the TV audience is stupid? Those of you who completely avoid TV — yes, I know you think the rest of us are stupid, and I was like you one upon a time — but you need to get over it, okay? I’m glad you think television is mindless drivel and I agree with you about 95% of the time. Now, what was I saying? Nothing important, I know…

I know the execs conduct their perfunctory market analysis crap and that drives everything, but a TV show where a grin is worth more than knowledge or experience? Really? Oh. I forgot about news anchor folks. Yah. Shit then. Sign me right up. I’m there. Morning CallI want to be one of those people on CNBC in the morning who talk about stocks, trading, and the economy. They look like they have fun arguing about all of it. I love it. And I could do a fairly great job of faking it. I’d just need to occasionally mention things like “leading market indicator,” “hedge fund,” European Market,” and “Consumer Index” or something like that. At least someone would fix my hair for me every day and pat makeup on my face. Okay. That rant is over. Back to reality TV. Are you still there?

The show I actually enjoy is So You Think You Can Dance. Season One It takes skill to move your body like that. And your face. They have to learn their routines in five hours. Five. Okay, you might be able to convince me that making something edible from vending machine items is also very difficult, but save it, okay? Because I can make meals with crap I find in my refrigerator. But that’s a post for my food blog. When I watch this show, I think about how much our society does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to encourage or support the arts in public school. If someone learns to paint, or dance, or sing, it usually isn’t because of the public school system. You’ll occasionally hear someone who has managed to gain some attention or a bit of fame thank a particular teacher for their support and influence, but that isn’t because of the public school system. No. It’s because of the passion and dedication of that particular teacher. That one person who spots a kid and just knows there’s something special about her — before someone else gets their claws on her and tells her success is all about getting into the corporate world — whether she wants to or not. Whether she’s good at it or not. Whether that world wants a kid who isn’t interested in, nor particularly inclined toward Technology, Science, or Math. I’m not going to say those areas of study aren’t important — they just aren’t important to everyone. Shoving a kid into a program full of Science and Math when he just wants to dance is like cramming a square peg in a round hole. It’s painful, and it doesn’t work. If you can actually pull it off, the individual suffers forever. Our schools do it every single day. Unfortunately, so do parents. Ah…rant number two?
Fred Astaire & Ginger Rodgers I love to watch people dance. It makes me want to dance. To sway and move with the music. To have dancer’s legs and muscles — but maybe not their aches and pains. To leap and spin and wonder how it would feel to be tossed from another’s arms and land exactly as I should. Except the guy would need a hydraulic lift for me. And the strains of Tchaikowsky’s “Swan Lake” wouldn’t exactly work as I landed on the stage in a lump. I love the costumes, those high-heeled dancing shoes, and all that heaving and sweating they do. It’s so much more difficult than getting on a stage to sing.

And it’s definitely more difficult than sitting at home on the couch watching people who can’t sing…well, not singing.

But maybe not quite a difficult as reading to the bottom of this page today, right? I do appreciate you and promise to work on my humility.

Where in Hell did the day go this time?

Do you know what’s worse than being a dedicated blogger, don’t you? Being a dedicated cook. A cook with a cooking blog. And what could possibly top that? Having said blogs and having your husband at home for a week. It isn’t that he’s here that causes the problem — it’s the hopping and moving and shaking. You know. Going places and doing things. So blogging in general causes the first round of why the hell my house looks the way it does, and the MoH being on vacation mode (a much deserved one btw) really sends the ol’ hacienda over the edge. Over the edge and into the dump. The good thing about all of this? We’ve done every thing there is to do, so now the RT and I can grow roots for the rest of the summer. Trick.

So what did I do today with resolve to shower first thing, read the paper to stay abreast of cutting edge news find something blogworthy, exercise, and get some much needed house projects done — which really means make a bigger mess than already exists. What did I do? I’ve been checking out other’s blogs. For TWO HOURS. There is simply not enough time in the day to do what I want to do. I find that to be a problem. I could use an additional six hours to take care of my responsibilities. The list grows as I write:

  1. Revamp my Phoodplan. Let’s face it, I was doomed to failure from the start. But there’s more to it. Does it make sense that for eight weeks I was excellent. On the job — well, okay, four. Four serious weeks, with four more of a dwindling, oozing kind of problem. But still. My VBF did come around again, we did start walking at the crack of freaking dawn again, and after getting within spitting distance (if you’re a weak spitter) of the magical 10 lubs lost mark, I popped up four lubs. So being the human I am, I flipped the flying bird to the Thinner bitch in my bathroom IMG_0963and stopped measuring and writing, and doing everything related to the Phoodplan except walk — a few miles a day at least five days a week. And guess what? I stayed the same. How can that be? So today (after diligently eating branflakes with 1% and blueberries……and later two pieces of raisin cinnamon toast……with butter &@#$***&$@%%%%%…..)I’m going to revise what I said I’d do. And hell no, I’ll not lose 50 lubs by September. But that shouldn’t be the goal. More later. sounds noble, doesn’t it?
  2. Clean my refrigerator. You should see it. Really. We’re at the “shoving it in and slamming the door before everything else falls out” code mold stage of non-Martha-ness with our refrigerator. My middle son dropped by the other day, opened the fridge to get some milk and after lining up a few cartons on the counter asked, “So what kind of a problem are you guys having with milk?” with a smirk on his face. I let him know that it’s not a problem, but simple: whole milk for the ice cream recipe, 1% for my cereal, half ‘n’ half for the MoH’s tea, whipping cream for the creme brulee recipe, 2% for the RT and his addiction to chocolate milk, buttermilk for the sorbet recipe, and heavy cream for the chocolate cake recipe. Okay, so maybe it’s a problem.
  3. Cook and post recipes from less fat laden sources. Not nearly as fun, and often not as tasty — but not always. My body and my refrigerator would be forever thankful. But the dairy council of American will most likely send a hit squad out to get me. Or I’ll have mad cows on my doorstep mooing in protest. On second thought, that may be more conducive to sleep than the army of lawnmowers and hedge cutters outside first thing this morning.
  4. Get a job. Ugh. I don’t want a job. GardenerI’d like to earn some money occasionally, though. Dog WalkerOr even routinely. That might be nice. I do remember it was swell to have a dollar in my wallet once in a while. Bear in mind I didn’t say I didn’t want to work. CookThere’s a big difference between having a job and working. Tutoring I should clarify by saying that I’d like to earn money in a less than typical eight-to-five way. Writers-publish dot comI’m not going to mention too loudly the earn money from home thing, because I could write for an entire week about that racket and its related gimmicks, purple kool-aid drinkers, and downright scum-sucking scammers. I’ll save that story for another day, also. I’ll call it, “How Not to Be the Poster Child for the Work At Home Scam Sucker Born Last Minute.”
  5. Try to get straight all the summer reality TV shows we’re watching. Really. I need a tote board or something. The person who used to scoff at others for wasting their time with such drivel. Me. Sanctimonious moi. “The Next Food Network Star,” “Top Chef,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” and “So You Think You Can Dance” all compete for our time. Thank goodness for our DVR. Otherwise, we’d have to watch….uh…..I dunno? Maybe we could each vanish into separate rooms in the house doing our own thing instead of being together in the family room familying like the good family we are. I haven’t written about any of these shows like I have in the past with American Noodle, but that isn’t because I haven’t wanted to. So much to say, so little time….But I will take the time to say this: I found someone who Giada drives as crazy as me. You know. That woman with the teeth and the cleevage who acts like she can cook. Giada De-Lah-Cookless Check out Jerry’s well executed tirade at Cooking By the Seat of My Pants. I think he’s my hero.
  6. Keep making progress on my pile o’ books. I’m experimenting with sidebar widgets because I less than love writing book reviews. Especially when I haven’t loved the book. It’s like kicking a dead horse. Well, maybe not all the time. But I’ve got to have some credibility, right? Let you know where I am with that pile. What’s shining, and what’s to be avoided — just in case you’re inclined to dash to the bookstore to ready a Pulitzer winner that’s five years old instead of the newest. Right? I just finished this The Reader at Random House and this, and am getting ready to read this The History of Love at Authors on the Web. I just bought it. I know. I said I wouldn’t spend money for books. But I couldn’t resist. It’s a problem. Read, Spot, read. See Spot go.
  7. Catch up and keep up with my food blog posts. They take freaking forever to write. And Typepad loads the photos soooooooo slowly. I have gazillions of photos of food I’ve made and only a fraction of them posted. It’s grueling. Salads, desserts, main dishes, breakfast food. *sigh* I believe I did find in my food blog surfing yesterday, a cool new flickr toy that will make it all so much easier — and eye appealing. I’ll get back to you on that one.
  8. Say thanks to a few people on the internet who have recognized me….
  • Mel at Freak Parade who I miss quite a bit, who has decided that I’m a Rockin’ Blogger. Woot! Rockin’ Blogger I wondered what that rumbling was all about. Does it help burn calories? Mel is an outstanding human whom I enjoy tremendously. Her blog makes me laugh, stirs me to frustrated anger, and makes me cry.
  • Ev, the ever busy and ubiquitous personality behind My Life is Murphy’s Law, has deemed me worthy of an Imaginif award. It was started by Megan at Imaginif, a site dedicated to keeping children safe in all ways. I know my 15 year-old is safe. He’s a house potato like me. Yep, I know what he looks at on line, too. That’s my job! Imaginif Award
  • Steve at Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Blogosphere, 100 Bloggers, and Joyful Jubilant Learning — quite the involved and industrious group of individuals — wrote a great post recognizing my writing which always makes me puffier than I already am from all that food loving I engage in. He found me on the Technorati Billy Collins trail which I have to check out, being the Billy fan that I am. What an interesting way to be found on the Internet. Kind of like a needle in a haystack. But he found me!

Thanks for the kudos! And apologies that it’s belated. It’s heartfelt just the same. I will begin my thinking on when and how to pass the recognition along….