A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

23 August 2008

More Olympic Musings aka Olympic Musings II

Some more Olympic meanderings...

It seems to me that it isn't the safest job in the world to be the guy who stands out in the field while they throw the discus, hammer or javelin. The shot put doesn't seem to be that terrible - but that discus seems it could go anywhere...even hitting one of the people running by who are doing the other events. All that guy has to do is get some vertigo or trip up while he's spinning around to toss it and it ends up walloping someone in the head. No thanks...I'll stick to being the gymnastics "bar spotter" (oh go read my first part).

Then I present to you - two multi-part Olympic events and my thoughts regarding them...

Triathlon: A competition comprised of three events. The events and official distance for them is thus: 1.5 km swim (almost a mile), a 40 km (almost 25 miles) cycle and a 10 km (over 6 miles) run. (Yes, I added the feet in because I just can't fathom what the distance is without feet, yards and miles involved...I am metric impaired.)

Decathlon: A competition of ten events - broken out below.

Day 1:

100 meters (328 feet)
Long Jump
Shot Put
High Jump
400 meters (1312 feet)

Day 2:

110 meter hurdles
Pole Vault
1500 meters (almost a mile)

So, the way I figure it - the Decathlete has it way easier. When you add up all those distances - they don't even jump, run or throw anywhere near the distance the Triathelete does - yet they get all the glory - PLUS they do it in two days instead of back-to-back-to-back like the Triatheletes. Where is the justice? How many Triatheletes have you ever seen on a Wheaties box? How many can you name? There...my point is now made. :) Now just for fun, a bonus question: How many Heptathlon winners can you name? Again...my point exactly.

More random stuff that popped out of my head...

The Steeplechase: Typically this seems like a race a horse should be doing...you go over the same type of obstacles - the gates don't flop over like hurdles do - so you can actually vault off them with your foot if you really wanted instead of clearing them totally...plus there's also a water jump...like the horses do. Seems either the horse event or the human even should be retitled...or at the very least make the human competitors carry a small monkey on their backs or something. I'm betting it would get a lot more NBC coverage if they added the monkeys.

Sports vs Competitions: There are a lot of events at the Olympics which seem to get peoples' ire up over the single fact they don't consider them a "sport" per se. Now...one can contest this until the cows come home, which, incidentally, is not any event IN the Olympics that I know of. Some people have been telling me that Women's Rhythmic Gymnastics - you know the one with the ball, ribbon or hula hoop type things...is not a sport. I counter with "well, Beach Volleyball isn't a sport either" - my justification volley (yeah, that was meant as a pun) goes something like this: "How can that be an Olympic sport? I mean...[possible] time outs for "desanding", wearing hats backwards and playing "Who Let the Dogs Out?" between volleys? That last one alone should disqualify it."

My friend and I were talking about clarification of what exactly constitutes the events that are in the Olympics and are some actually not sports? I told him I thought it might be like that Wide World of Sports voiceover would always say "The human drama of athletic competition..." Merriam-Webster Online defines "sport" as: 1 a: a source of diversion : recreation b: sexual play c (1): physical activity engaged in for pleasure (2): a particular activity (as an athletic game) so engaged in. Even watching Olympics late nite...I've never seen anything they televised remotely coming close to that "b" one (at least not on NBC). So, while some things are clearly sports...using teams and balls...some are clear winner one-against-one...such as races and archery and such...and some are scored against others you are still competing against even though you aren't competing against them at the same time...such as gymnastics, diving and ice skating. So that got me trying to find out exactly what the Olympic's basis for allowing a sport/event - and while I didn't find any real 'cut and dried' criteria, I did find this if you are interested:
Lots of rules regarding the Olympics. No word yet on Olympic dart throwing and NASCAR.

And while we were talking on the phone, the marathon was run and diving resumed...and I mentioned how great Greg Louganis was and how remiss I was for leaving him out of my "all-time favourites" list in my last blogumn. Ironically, as soon as I mentioned him, Visa featured him in a commercial. That man could dive and I got to see him in the 1988 Seoul, Korea Olympics...in fact I have photos of him in the preliminaries (I didn't get to see him in the finals) and I was there when he hit his head on the diving board...and he STILL managed to win
gold in the end. Best diver ever. Ever.

And is it just me but does the "Bird's Nest" stadium remind anyone else of one of those giant rubber band balls? At some angles it also looks like it's Duck (duct) Tape...which would be apropos because...well, a duck IS a bird.

Maybe more later...

Olympic Musings

First off - an excuse...I've been dealing with a stabbing ice-pick headache for the last few days...so if this makes no sense and I find out later and you find out before me...I apologize. But considering this idea's been sitting in the back burner of my mind since the second day of the Olympics and the time is waning...I'm going to jump while the iron in that burner's still hot.

I LOVE the Olympics (Summer and Winter)...I have since the 1968 games. When they grace my screen, I stay glued to it watching everything and anything they throw at me...from those "gotta see" events like gymnastics, swimming (how about that Phelps!) and ice skating to the ones that make you go "hmmmm" - like Men's Synchronized Diving and Women's Synchronized Swimming...to the "Ski a Bit...Shoot a Bit" competition I only have a vague idea of the name (Biathlon - "thank you", Google)...to Curling, which has GOT to be the oddest of all Olympic "sports" out there. Somehow I think boredom and booze were involved coming up with that one. But, last Winter Olympics - I watched Curling...and it seemed to get its 15 minutes of fame and glory - at least everyone was talking about it...due to the actual airing of the event. That "leftover '
Whatizit' element" - probably artfully tied in somehow during their commentary when they did their backstories. Eh...probably not. Let's move on...

And for my money (not that I'm buying anything NBC's advertising)...other than the late great Jim McKay, you just can't beat Bob Costas as a host. He's informative, intelligent, silly enough to seem like's actually being genuine while being silly, and darnit, he's still pleasant on the eyes (even with the darker hair). But first and foremost the show and his sporadic interviews with various athletes is not about him - it's about them and he is an unpretentious sort and not an opportunistic attention grabber like that irritating weasel, Pat O'Brien was when he covered the Olympics. I cringed each time he showed up because it was going to be HIS interview - no matter the subject matter...it always segued into "the show about him".

But there are some things which always stay the same...and things that always make me go "hmmmm" - so since I am now watching platform diving...I thought I'd take the platform myself and share some of my own personal Olympic meanderings and musings...

First off, the sideline comments:

There are rule books the judges use, the officials use, the participants use...but there should be one the reporters and commentators also use. One that deals with cliches and just plain dumb verbiage. In other words - sporting vernacular they always fall back on which makes everyone else cringe or go "NO...REALLY?? It also begs the question, "Do they even bother to know how silly it's going to sound before they say it?"

Oh, I'm not saying I could do any better...altho I think I'd jot down some "pre-event" comments before I went on the air and then tried to work them in instead of the others. You'd think a big network would say..."Could you possibly refrain from using the following utterances? (Hands list to them.) Please?"

Keep in mind these are things which highly paid people say during the Olympic broadcast (and have for years) and, just because it's my blogumn, some of my comments after...

"Oooh, that's gonna cost him."

"I don't think he meant to do that."

"He really didn't want to do that during this competition."

"What's going through their mind right now?" (Before, during, and after winning or losing any event.)

"She hasn't been able to do this all week..." Promptly followed by either "...but she managed to do it this time" or "...and she still didn't". It's witty banter like this which secures their place in the annals of broadcasting history, right up there with the "oh the humanity" guy.

And I don't know about you, but if I hear one more reporter say "He really wants to win this thing"... Noooooo, really?? I thought he was trying for fifth, ya moron. And then there's the "geez, ya think??" factor for the ever popular "Oooooh, he's going to regret doing that the rest of his life".

And now...some random Olympic thoughts:

The guy who lifts the guy up at the high bar in men's gymnastics...just what does he shout to the guy who's doing the routine? "Yes...that's it - now swing around again...and again...okay, that's good...don't forget to grab the bar...now go around again...now get ready to let go...but only when I tell ya." I mean, you'd figure the gymnast already knows his routine...and it's not like he's relaying key information like "Hurry up...the guy swimming next to you is catching up!" or anything. I'm kinda curious as to what they say.

And why don't they have balance beam spotters? Do you only get a spotter when there's a bar involved? The men's high bar has one and the women's uneven bars does...why not a rings spotter? And doesn't this "back seat driver of the bar" get on the gymnast's nerves? Each time they do any move - the "bar guy" inches up a foot and then retreats...inches up again...flinches...puts his arms up...down again...then steps back. You'd think it would be like the guy yelling just when the golfer's going to make his putt. Plus I've never seen them stop anyone from falling. When the gymnast misses...they end up splatting on the ground...not really like the "bar guys" are that much help if you ask me.

Can they call a time out in order to get the sand out of their bottoms during Beach Volleyball? And if so...just what does the hand signal for that look like? (Oh...trust me, I made one up...it's pretty good.)

Shouldn't there be Olympic "do-overs"? When someone trips you from another team...say, hypothetically...when you are Great Britain and Jamaica comes into your lane and bumps into you when they're passing their baton. That really isn't good. By that adage...they could possibly team up like in NASCAR. Get two teams in the finals - have one smash into the one who poses the biggest threat...so you can run off with the gold. Seems plausible. Not that I'm saying they do it - but I have seen missteps in quite a few Olympics...from the Zola Budd/Mary Decker incident...to, well, this one tonight. It's never fair - and I think they should have "do-overs". At least let the "wronged" people do it over...I'm not saying everyone has to start over - but sheesh...let them have their shot.

If some athletes like to take banned drugs and swipe the glory away from the true-deserving competitors (sometimes years after the fact) - why don't they just have a "Steroid Olympics"? Heck, I'd watch that for sure. Just think of the arms being pulled off during weightlifting and the records being broken and how itty bitty the men's Speedos could be with all the ...oh, c'mon you DO know the side effects of taking steroids, right?

And can we please only compete in the country in which you were raised for the majority of your life? Not "oh I didn't qualify for Berlique...so I'll go to Upper Slobovia...they have no one...I'll be a shoe-in to make the cut."

Yeah...I know - that last one probably already got me some hate mail...but can we just give the games back to the people who didn't turn pro yet? I mean a cereal box here and again to fund the house your parents mortgaged three years ago so you could afford moving to a place where an Olympic coach trains - is one thing. But when you've been pro for X years and you can now (technically) represent your country in the games just to win a medal that you (ultimately) take away from someone else who isn't pro who'd also like the possibility of a medal...well, that's still unfair and unsporting if you ask me. Yeah...medals are nice - but opportunities are, too. Give the opportunity to a non-pro athlete - there are probably plenty of them out there who'd love to represent their country and could do a darn fine job in the process.

Lastly, since I'm getting hate mail from the last two...might as well go for three. Mark Spitz still ruled and always will in my book. Yes, I know, Michael Phelps is phenomenal. I agree. I really do. But Spitz was magical back in my day...and like one of the commentators said after Phelps won...(and I'm paraphrasing) "Spitz was from 'our generation'" referring to us older viewers who lament Spitz' record being broken. His "our generation" is also MY generation and it is the one of my glory days of my youth - and that youth comprised of Olga Korbut, Mark Spitz, Bruce Jenner, Dorothy Hamill, Franz Klammer (anyone else remember him?) and the incredibly great Toller Cranston (who got cheated out of a gold if you ask me). It always will. It's a bittersweet moment to see it...I knew Phelps was capable...but, secretly I'll admit - I wanted him to tie it. I knew he wouldn't - but to see Spitz "dethroned" considering he didn't swim eight races...seemed - wrong. (And some people were just so incredibly disrespectful if you ask me about the whole ordeal.) Yes, I know...Spitz only swam two strokes and Phelps swam four...but a part of me...again, a part of my youth I wanted so desperately to hang on to...was relinquished. I'm just glad it was by someone who wasn't an arrogant twit. Phelps is so very nice...and no one (in their wrong or right mind) can possibly argue he can't out-swim anyone and everyone...but...I'm still a tad curious just how much slower he might have been had he donned a Speedo and a moustache. ;)

14 August 2008

The "Dating Game" (Conclusion)

Now don't get me wrong, we aren't ALL hypocrites...but I've spoken with a lot of people about a lot of things and what people say to one person of one sex isn't necessarily the thing they tell the person of the other. I've actually been quite surprised by the number of people who contacted me, privately, via message, and posted on my blog about what I've been writing. And it goes with what I've been learning, and yes, I say 'learning', over the course of my life. Ironic it's the "course" of my life...because it has been a sort of education...it's a "course" I'm in...and it's not an elective. It's mandatory. And I can't opt out. Well, I could...but I'm not going to.

And I know I whine. Many times I feel so alone since my parents died, so wronged and so cornered with no way out...and then I look around and see what other people are going through, all around the world - and I can't help but think of how fortunate I really am. I honestly don't know how some people can go through what they do...and how many even rise above everything and persevere under such adversity.

But most of the comments I received were from people who felt as I did and felt like so many people I talk to. Regardless of whether you are male or female - if you've devoted a portion of your life to another and it goes wrong, or you had to take out a zillion loans to pay off your bills...and now you are only working to pay off those loans, or you lost your job and you find yourself looking for another one when you are in (or fast approaching) your 50s...and you know you are competing against people who are younger than your own kids...or you're now tasked with taking care of one or both of your parents, or had health issues of your own...it's hard. I think you'll be hard pressed to find someone from the above list who would disagree.

I have to admit - I had a different road I was going to take this story down...but, I don't jot down notes...and when I write one of these blogumns, I sit down at the computer (sometimes on a notepad) and basically run with it. It always turns out differently than what I envisioned...and this time is also no exception.

What I've found out is that people are resilient, remarkable, and also very easily hurt. That guy you see where you work each day who you think has it all together? Probably doesn't. And that woman who brightens up everyone's day...well, she might have been through a lot - but covers it well. Many times I start talking to people, and trust me, when I start talking...chances are we're going to be at it a while...and for some inexplicable reason, they do something I'm not sure they do with everyone. They start to confide in me...and most times very intimate details of their lives. Yes, I am a complete stranger to them...but for some reason they feel compelled to unburden themselves and vent...or, what I'd rather think...they sense I have compassion, empathy and I'm easy to talk to. I'd like to go on thinking that.

Case in point...I ran into a lady the other day at a store here in town...she's from another country and new to the area - and, rather apologetically and reluctantly she asked me a question regarding finding school supplies for her child. I answered, walked away, got in line, and then saw her again while I stood there...and I debated in my head, "Should I just walk up after I'm done here and start up a conversation with her? Maybe she's new here (she DID have an accent afterall) and could use some help finding her way around? Should I even bother?" Well, I'm an extrovert, so the extrovert part of me took over and after I made my purchase - walked over to her and offered up my aid, if she needed it. I think she was appreciative...she started telling me some details of her life...and even a story from her country (yes, I'm respecting her anonymity) about someone who lived there essentially her entire LONG life...and when she died, the cliquey townspeople came up with their "less than welcoming" epitaph for her: "She wasn't from around here." Now, I don't know how true this story is...but it's a story she shared...maybe because I cared enough to lend a hand to show her around town. Sure, I made it known I would also love to have a friend...as you see, I'm also "not from around here"...and altho I've lived here for 18 years and not 99 like the lady in her story...I always feel I'm just an outsider looking in. I've got my nose pressed up against the proverbial glass outside the shop...but they just won't open the door to let me in. And just like that dog that's been kicked so many times...you learn to stop trying to gain anyone's affection...and you go sit back down in the corner licking your wounds.

And there are a lot of wounded people out there. My theory is - as people get older they don't necessarily let new people and new situations into their lives because life IS scary. The longer you live...the more you might have seen it...especially if it seems to happen to you over and over. But familiarity is safe. So some people stay within the confines of their "safe zones"...and their circle of friends...and their dead-end jobs and equally dead-end lives. It IS scary to trust another person...it's hard to not think about rejection (especially when you're not a stranger to it)...be it in a job, a relationship, or even, sometimes...something as simple as talking to a stranger in a shop.

But I'm trying.

10 August 2008

The "Dating Game" (Part 2 of 3)

And what IS this preoccupation you men people have with breasts? It doesn't matter if they look as fake as two grapefruit halves shoved under some tightly stretched skin...you still crave them. If the woman bleaches her hair to that totally unnatural shade of blonde (c'mon, there's a reason Crayola doesn't have that colour in the box...please pick a shade that actually registers in our spectrum) and then cackles at the top of her lungs like the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz...as long as she's packing some 'boobage'...she can do no wrong.

But when those puppies start going south...

...well, let me give you a scenario which has happened to me a few times. True scenarios. They kinda go like this: "You could always get a tummy tuck and a boob job IF you won the Lottery." "IF you got a boob job you'd be happier." "Would you get a boob job if you could afford it?" And yes...they were all uttered by men.

You know...after living 47 years I'd like to think people are above looking at me below the neck...but it just isn't so. Sure...there are those of you out there with husbands, boyfriends - or ARE husbands and boyfriends...who are probably shaking your heads in disagreement with me right now saying "well, that isn't ME"...well, it might not be YOU...but look around. You are deluding yourself if you don't think that's the prevalent thought in man-stream (and main-stream) society.

I run across nice women every day. Really nice women. Women of all ages. And don't fool yourselves - we talk about you guys. We flat out slam ya. Yup, we do. Oh, if we could take a vote tomorrow to have you guys voted off the island...let me ask just one thing? Have you ever heard of the
Amazons in Greek mythology?

Regardless of a bitter hatred of all things men (oh...c'mon, surely I jest), there's a couple other things these women have in common. They are nice, smart, and funny - but they aren't all "Barbie-doll" perfect.

Let me clue all you guys in...most of you aren't up to Antonio Banderas-par neither. But I have yet to hear any woman say "ya know...if he'd only have liposuction or some type of implant..." - and what would you guys say if we started preaching how much better YOU'D feel if YOU had a little work done?

I'm not speaking out of turn. Look at those magazines and Internet celebrity sites all over the place. They pick on Uma Thurman for being a bit "saggy" or Jennifer Love Hewitt for having a big butt. Geez the woman weighs 100 lbs...it's against the laws of physics for her to be ABLE to have a big butt. But I never see "oh look at Matthew McConaughey...he's going to need a pec lift soon", "Brad sure is in desperate need of electrolysis" or "ya know - in retrospect...Sean Connory DID make an unsexy Bond".

Those tables sure are turned when it comes to women and their bodies...no wonder we aren't content...no wonder we feel like we can never live up to our expectations...we can't live up to anyone's. And that is JUST not fair.

We live in a society which tells our daughters to be happy with the body God gave them...that they aren't overweight, that their chests are just the right size and that they will grow into their noses...then we turn around and nip and tuck and shove implants (or wish we could) in our own bodies - or, worse yet, tell our wives or girlfriends to do it...to achieve something we can never get back: our own youth. No, a BETTER youth..."better" than the one we originally had.

We are such hypocrites.

(Part 3 tomorrow...and yes, that will be the conclusion...I promise.)

09 August 2008

The "Dating Game"

I am 47.

Some of you may know this - some of you may not. Some of you may also know I am going through what I call a "pre-divorce" situation. It's been for a couple years now. Why I haven't gotten divorced is personal...most of it has to do with the fact I have no family (my mother and father died in 1999) who can help me out monetarily, I haven't been able to get a job in years because I have no college degree and I can't afford to get a college degree in order to get a job which pays more than barely minimum wage...plus once I get divorced, my health insurance, which is provided by my eventually-to-be-ex-husband's Air Force retirement, will stop cold turkey altho I've been married to him for over 20 years. Yes...I am, in their eyes, and the eyes of many others a non-entity. And I count myself fortunate. Many people don't have health care at all - many people can't afford a lot of the stuff I still treat myself to...many people deserve better than what they have to live with.

But, I still think...I too, deserve to be happy. There is nothing wrong with me wanting this.

I've been reading in the paper (online) about the speed-dating thing - X amount of seconds you spend with each person as you flit from table to table trying to fill out a "score" card (yes, that's an obvious double entendre there and meant to be) based on mere moments with a person. It's been around for years, I don't know why Montgomery is making such a big ta-do about it - but perhaps it's new to this region. Whatever the reason...the idea behind it is the same: "People who want a relationship seeking out people in a venue which doesn't seem sordid." It IS a nice way to meet people - it's not while you are drunk at a bar at closing time...it's not in the supermarket where you will, trust me guys...run into THE most attractive person in the world...but only when you don't have a face on and are dressed like a Dickensian orphan. I NEVER run into anyone at ALL when I have a face on. I've not tried church...you see...I'm NOT divorced. I don't think they want me dating...they probably really would have a problem with me remarrying without that whole "divorce technicality" cleared up.

And WHO would want to date me anyway?

First off, I'm married - I have this thing about dating...as, well...I'm still married. I'm married on paper...but definitely NOT in my heart...but that is where it counts...legally. Again...I am a non-entity.

And I am not getting any younger. My youth is way behind me. I am one of those women who can't but look at her life and say "Ya know - I devoted my YOUTH to this person...and for what? It's OVER." Both my marriage AND my youth. I didn't bank on that. And I didn't bank on getting divorced so I didn't funnel away money in some secret bank account...I am sooooooooooo stupid.

But not really. I'm actually very intelligent when it comes to IQ...if I told you what mine was you'd probably not believe me. I read once...that those with "my IQ" usually do one of two things..."excel" and "fail miserably". Well...altho I possibly made some stupid decisions...staying home with my children wasn't one of them, and I feel I am constantly being penalized for that decision. Especially in this juncture in my life.

So, I'd still like the opportunity to "excel".

(And because this is getting quite long...and I'm on a rant here...I'm going to "pull a Scheherezade" on you...and continue this story...tomorrow.)

01 August 2008

Dying To Get To Sleep?

This is something somewhat silly (and hopefully somewhat entertaining) I wrote back in January 2006. What jogged my memory of this long-forgotten piece you may ask? Well, I was reading blogs here (yeah...I sometimes do indeed read other people's blogs...and sometimes I comment on them, too - hint hint) and I came across chernandez's blog about the Stephen King novel, "Insomnia"...and that got me thinking about the little comedy snippet I wrote about his book after I had picked it up at the librar... well, you can read it for yourselves below. As for Ms. Hernandez...and anyone else I don't coerce into reading my blogs: Thanks for reading...AND commenting on them...thank you very, very much.

So, anybody here have trouble sleeping?

I seriously have problems sleeping...which I've had since as far back as I can remember. Tried relaxing, warm milk, cold vodka...NOTHING works. So, I figure I'll go and read a book...you know, you read some...you get tired...you fall asleep. That old wives' tale.

I drive on over to the Wetumpka library because, one...it's close; two...I have a card, and, three (mainly, three)...you can pick up used books there for like a quarter...and I picked up a few, including one massive one by Stephen King called "Insomnia". Well, I'm no genius, but I figure the reason most of these books are for sale for less than a buck is because no one wants to read books with more pages than the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Warren Commission's report on the JFK assassination - COMBINED. But, first and foremost, who's going to want to read some horror book about not sleeping when they're trying to sleep?? Just what the hell was he thinking?? Oh wait...I said "hell". Can I say that here? Well, regardless...that's a whole OTHER story he wrote.

But I've got to hand it to Mr. King...he thinks of an everyday happening and then makes a scary as anything story out of it. The way I see it, he's sitting there in his home at the typewriter...yellowing-at-the-edges disturbingly gruesome crayon drawings his kids drew long ago tacked up behind him on a cork memoboard, going..."Dogs...YES! Really...mean...dog. Really...mean...RABID dog...Cujo! Corn. People like corn, right? How about kids AND corn? Kids IN corn? Hmmm...children OF the corn? Oooh...what else do people like to do? Drive...yeah...Christine...okay...how about talk on their cell phones...I got it! "Cell"!

Okay, so let me get this all straight. I can't want things, can't get on an airplane, can't lose weight, can't have a dog, can't ever bury anything behind my house if anything were to die, can't eat corn or talk on my cell phone...forget about talking on my phone IN the car...and I'll never sleep again IN a hotel...especially IF I read "Insomnia".

What's next? A horror story about a toilet?

Oh, gee...thank you, Mr. King.