Creepy and Odd

First with the creepy. Check out this nasty story from ESPN about a high school football player whose head was being eaten from the inside out by a nasty beetle.

[High school fullback Jake Asp] woke up because he felt something strange and painful in his right ear. When the pain became unbearable, family members took him to a nearby clinic. They speculated that something had happened to him in the game the night before.

"Someone said I could have popped my ear drum," Asp said. "...But when I got to the [clinic], they took a look in there and saw it, and I was like, 'What the heck? How did I get a bug in my ear?'"

Asp could hear it, and it nearly drove him nuts. "It was digging and biting into my eardrum," he said. "That went on for, like, 15 minutes. I could hear it -- a whole bunch of loud popping noises. It hurt pretty bad."

Um, yeah. So, nightmares away. Thanks to my fave sports blog, Deadspin, for that one.

And this is just really bizarre to me. Big Ben was bleeped in local Pittsburgh newspapers for saying "brainfarts" - they replaced farts with "(cramps)" because the word "farts" is apparently just too offensive for the general public. What the hell? Okay, I thought it was pretty wacky when my young sister-in-laws (they're now 13 and 14 years old) weren't allowed to say "fart" and were only allowed to say "toot" in reference to the act of passing gas, but that was just a family quirk, but for a newspaper to censor it? Jeez, don't they have better things to censor? As if I didn't have enough issues with the media right now, now they've taken it too far. Let the man say FART! Thanks to Dave's Football blog and Deadspin for covering this odd censoring.


Football and Politics?

I came across this article on Daily Kos which says:

For several years, ESPN has been manufacturing fake cheers and fake boos for politicians. It's a very simple rule. If you are a Democrat not named Joe Lieberman, ESPN will play a tape of boos previously recorded and insert them into the audio after the Democrat is announced. If you are a Republican and ESPN is expecting boos, ESPN will play a pre-recorded tape of cheers unrelated to the Republican.
The article goes on to explain how the author knows this and how if you listened carefully when George Bush Senior was conducting the coin toss for the New Orleans/Falcons game ESPN cut the cheering tape too early and you could hear boos. Now, I watched that game and honestly I didn't notice, but I wasn't looking for it or even paying attention whatsoever, but this article definitely alarmed and disgusted me. If this is true then I'd be ready to boycott ESPN... well, except for PTI which I LOVE.

More Football Stuff

A hilarious article on Sports Pickle about the continuous problems with the law from the players on the Bengals, making fun of Marvin Lewis' apparent philosophy on the players he chooses to have on his team (in my opinion, complete thugs).

Meanwhile, a recent poll has determined once and for all that the Pittsburgh Steelers are truly America's Team.

And good ol' long time beat reporter for the Post-gazette and long-time reporter on the Steelers on his weekly chat about the Steelers put some idiotic fans in their place when they suggested that Ben be benched for Charlie Batch.

TomBaker: Hi Ed. Is there any point in which you can see a quarterback controversy existing in Pittsburgh? Hopefully this is a non-issue but the last two games haven't been pretty.

Ed Bouchette: This question makes me crazy. Do you really think the Steelers have lost faith in Ben Roethlisberger after two games? After what he did the previous two seasons. Are these the leftover fans from the early 1970s who gave Terry Bradshaw such a hard time?

LetsPlayBatch: How many more Red Zone interceptions before we sit Big Ben?

Ed Bouchette: How about, oh, 932 more?


I live in the here and now, not last season!

Ed Bouchette:
You sound like one of those fans who get to choose the batting lineups for that minor league team that is dead last in its league. Perhaps you'd also like to bench Joey Porter because he's had only 1 tackle the past two games, since you live in the here and now. And get rid of Jeff Reed because he's made just 2 of 4 field goals, since you live in the here and now. Or what about that Hines Ward fellow. He has only 99 yards through 3 games. I say get rid of him and elevate Sean Morey to start. You never know.

Um, yeah, couldn't have said it better myself. Freaking idiots!!

The Curse Of The Perfectionist

Yeah yeah, I know. I changed my damn blog colors again. But ironically, this leads me to a topic I've been wanting to post about for a while. My perfectionism.

I think many people don't understand perfectionism and the curse that it is. People may look at my sloppy desk at home with papers piled on top of each other, dust streaked on the surface, books and slim jims lying side be side in an disorganized mess and raise an eyebrow as I say I'm a perfectionist about organizing my work space. But I am and the mess drives me crazy, but the main thing about perfectionists that people don't understand is that if a perfectionist doesn't feel that they can't do it perfectly then she doesn't want to do it at all. Almost can't. It's one of the hardest things for me to make myself do something when I know I can't do it perfectly. I'm constantly staring at our items on our fireplace mantel, adjusting them a half of an inch here, a half of an inch there until it's perfectly and evenly placed. I'm obsessed with symmetry, it makes me peaceful inside when things are set up symmetrically. I can be distracted with these small details for hours, driving my husband nuts and wasting time over something completely insignificant, but I can't help myself. I literally can't half-ass anything. If I start something, then I'm putting myself into it 110%, which is why I often get stressed and overwhelmed. I take on multiple projects and try to put myself into it 110% and there's never quite enough of me to go around. Often I get stalled in projects I take on because I know I don't have the time to devote to it 110% and I can't stand only devoting say 80% to, and so I don't start it at all which usually leads to guilt and stress. I mean, if I can't do it perfectly, why do it at all?

Which is where my perfectionism acts as procrastination for writing.

My professors always preached the get the first draft down without going back and editing a word and then go through your revisions and edits. I've tried so hard to follow this advice, but I find myself going back and changing a word, then a sentence, then a paragraph and the next thing you know, I erase the everything I'd written out of frustration, feeling like a complete failure. I want it to be perfect right away. I can't stand leaving a story unfinished and imperfect, which leads to writing sessions lasting no shorter than three hours every time I write, which then leads to me writing less because really, who has three hours regularly to devote to writing every day? I tried to write one hour every day just so I was writing regularly, but I was so obsessive that I couldn't Only write an hour, and by the end of it I'd be lucky if I had anything worth keeping since I'd butchered it to pieces already with revisions before the story was even finished.

I'm not sure where my perfectionism comes from. Perhaps it's from growing up with the high standards Chinese parents typically put on their children (any grade below and 'A' was a travesty in the family, but all an 'A' would get would be a dismissive nod because you're supposed to get straight 'A's, it wasn't necessarily a great achievement). I mean look at my family, as an honor student who went to very good college (Miami University of Ohio) I'm the underachiever. I have a cousin who went to Stanford, one who went to Northwestern and my brother went to Washington University at St. Louis. All extremely good top notch schools. So perhaps that is a part in my perfectionism, but I also have to think it's partly my personality. I'm an obsessive person, which I think many writers are, it works well with our purpose. Writers often have to obsess about a certain time period or an event in history, etc. if it's involved in their story. To write as other people you have to become an expert in what they're experts in whether it's biology, dancing or politics. So that obsessive personality works for me, at times. But I think it feeds my perfectionism. I'm obsessed with it and get anxious when things aren't perfect. What do I really think will happen if it's not perfect? I'm not really sure, there isn't a clear cut image in my head of the disaster that would ensue, just a feeling of impending disaster that I can't shake.

Anyways, I'm trying to train myself to just write shit and be okay with it because every once in a while you strike gold and that's what it's all about. I know I have some mental disease, but we all have our own little mental diseases so I'm okay with it. I just need to figure out my work arounds and keep reminding myself to prioritize and that it's okay to not be perfect.

Heh, like that'll happen. Oh well, at least I tried. (*Note: as further proof of my perfectionism, I've already edited this post about ten times.)

What personality flaws/quirks keep you from writing? How do you get around them?

Links Away!

What a cool idea! An Online bookfair! It's October 3-5, 2006 at the Love of Reading Website. Make sure to check it out. Thank you to The Elegant Variation for alerting me to this great event.

Also from The Elegant Variation today, Poets & Writers offers a directory of writers and their agent contacts. It also tells you if the writer is willing to do readings. What a cool way to connect with your favorite writer or harass their agent to pick up your unpublished novel about space creatures from the planet Znargf that like to eat chocolate donuts. I mean, come on, that will Sell baby!

A new book club around the block started by Amazon. Apparently Amazon is teaming up with Penguin Classics to start a new book club that will be hosted on a blog at the site. It should produce an interesting book selection since the first book selected is fairly obscure book Fifth Buisness by Roberston Davies. If you're desperate for new books to read, which I never am since I already own so many that I need to read before I die, check it out. It should produce some interesting reads. Thanks to The Millions for this link.

I just now noticed that this is my 100th post! Wahoo! I'm a posting freak. :)

China Is Taking Over The World... With The Five Friendlies!

The Olympic mascots for the 2008 Olympics in China have been revealed! In addition to strangely creepy mascots for the Olympics (thanks for the story from Deadspin and Wanbro), China is also embracing it's soon-to-be first NFL pre-season game in China by supplying jerseys in Chinese. I wonder if the Chinese will have any idea who Tom Brady or Shaun Alexander are? Ah well, if you can make money of it why not make it, right?

Well, this is strong evidence that China is moving up in the world and supports my mom's insistent theory that China will soon take over the world. Let's just hope they do so with less scary looking mascots than the "Five Friendlies." They give me nightmares.

P.S. Is anybody else about ready to murder Blogger? If I get one more "This document contains no data" pop-up I'll scream. Seriously, in the middle of my eerily quiet office, in my cubicle, I'll scream.


Quick Hits

Football Hit

First, I want to say that I was very touched and very happy for the New Orleans Saints' win last night over the Falcons. I know it's only football, but there's no doubt what that game meant to the city, to the fans and to the players. The Saints, now 3-0, played with heart and have proven that their wins over the Browns and Green Bay weren't a fluke, they've now forced the impressive Falcons to a 2-1 record. Good job Saints! I think everyone but the Falcon fans were rooting for you last night.

Kitty Hit

What Can't science do? If I had a spare $3,950 lying around I'd soo buy one of these. I love my kitties to death, but the fur the fur the fur!! In your mouth, on your furniture (which is now lined with tinfoil and those plastic runners with little spikes on the bottom to try to keep the kitties OFF the furniture - you'd think buying them three cat trees at $100 each would be enough for them, but no, they want it all) and even somehow in your food. Especially when they're in your lap and rubbing all over you like they're trying to seduce you and you're nose starts to itch and become congested and your eyes water but they're so cute that you just take it even though you can't breathe through your nose anymore.

Clinton Hit

A sweet ass video of Clinton Smacking Down our favorite conservative news station. You guessed it, Fox News. Holy Crap! This is the greatest smack down ever! Thanks to Bill Cameron for the link.

Old and Unsuccessful Hit

So recently I just got another rejection letter for a short story I'd submitted. I was really hopeful with this one, so I was disappointed and my hubby comforted me by telling me that everyone's unpublished at some point in their lives and that I'm still really young. It made me feel better, until I read this article that is. An eleven-year-old girl getting a book deal?!?! Goddamn, I'm way behind. Thanks to Bookninja for this link, I needed the extra little jab to throw me back into my depressive state.

Reading Hits

Okay, so this is an old post (a couple of weeks old) but I clipped it because I liked and wanted to comment on it and just am now getting to it. I totally relate to much of this post, I've been teased for always having a book in my purse but also people often take it as an insult. Often when I go to a friend or family member's house I bring a book and people take it as I think I'll be bored there or that I don't want to interact. That's not the case at all! I just am always anticipating the slow times, when my mom's cooking and I have nothing to do, when my friend needs to jump in the shower real quick before we head out. There's nothing so devastating to me then being stuck somewhere with nothing to do regretting that I didn't have a book with me. But of course, it does have it's downfalls. I've been caught in the rain with a book before, unfortunately partly ruining the book, which just about kills me. Which is why I've started to get in the habit of bring magazines places, they fit easier in my purse and if they get ruined by rain, who cares? I'll just throw them away after I'm done reading them anyways. Plus, we get Time magazine which comes weekly, those are impossible to keep up with so we always have a pile of unread magazines that I need to get through.

Way Cool! According to Amazon.com's blog, "St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, a private school in Austin, Texas returned a three million dollar donation rather than submit to the donor’s request that the short story [Brokeback Mountain] be removed from the school's list of optional reading for twelfth graders." That's seriously the coolest thing I've heard in a long time and it makes me even more excited that Austin, Texas is my number one choice for grad school. Wahoo! Go Austin!


The Devastation That Was Sunday

For those who have no interest in football, feel free to skip this very football-y post!

Wow, I had an ugly football weekend. Both of my teams (Steelers and Vikes) started out strong, scoring first, having great drives and basically owning the game. Then slowly it all unraveled. And mind you, the games were on at the exact same time, so I had both recording on my TIVO so that I wouldn't miss any of either games and I'm pausing and flipping back and forth between the games. Near the end of the game, the Vikes were up and had possession of the ball so I flipped to the Steelers' game feeling things were quite in hand there. The Steelers were also up when our favorite (not really) returner, Colclough, muffed the punt and gave it to the Bengals on the ten yard line. Free TD for the Bengals. How many people have to scream for Willie Reid, the return specialist from
Penn State and the reason we drafted him to be on our active roster list? If Cowher doesn't make the switch for our next game after our Bye week his head will be fried by the millions of fans who are sick of our horrible special teams performance of late. One thing that does make me a little hopeful is that this is awfully familiar to Ben's return from injury last year, right before he led us to the Super Bowl. He came back and lost to Indy and then barely lost to Cinci, throwing multiple interceptions. They had an 8-game winning streak the resulted in a Super Bowl Win. So, maybe he just needs a couple of games to get into it, and this Bye week will help us get in sync since Ben and Hines haven't had a chance to practice much together. As much criticism as Ben's getting around the web, let's talk about our receivers dropping passes. In the Jag game, there were at lest 5 dropped passes that would have resulted in a first down. This game, there were probably more including a dropped TD pass. I can say easily that 90% of these passes could have and should have been caught.

Well, needless to say, after that disappointing loss, I switch back to the Vikings game, expecting at least that victory, but no. Brad Johnson fumbles when we have the lead and are just trying to eat the clock and wind the game down. Chicago ensues to get a TD and the game is over. WTF? I think the Universe was punishing me for something Sunday. Argh, that was a depressing day. To top it off, I have a feeling I will lose both of my fantasy games this week. Bad football weekend.

And now a rant on Cincinnati and stupid Bengals fans. First, I hate Cincinnati, if that much hasn't been made clear yet. It's not culturally rich or diverse, it's not friendly (anybody who has lived somewhere friendly and then comes to Cinci will know what I'm talking about), it's dirty, it's conservative, it's old money and it's ugly. Yes, perhaps you may think I'm being harsh, but coming from Minnesota where it's beautiful, strangers are your best friends, it's liberal, it's super diverse and there's so much culture there, Cinci is hell. So there's that, and then on top of that is the fact that I'm every obnoxious Bengals' fan token Steelers' fan, it gets old. Now I don't mind the friends I talk to regularly who I jibe at them and they jibe at me. No, I'm talking about the people who Do Not Talk to me unless it's to ride me about the Steelers. GET A LIFE! I don't sit there hoping my team wins, just waiting to ride a Bengals' fan about it, or, a better example, a Browns' fan about a loss. I have a couple of Browns' fans as friends and when they lose a game, especially a close one like this Sunday, I call them and tell them sorry that they lost, it was a close game and it sucks even though the Browns are also my rivals. I don't live to kick a friend when they're down, especially if I never talk to them otherwise. It gets old because I'm EVERYONE's token Steelers' fan whom they can complain about for "dirty" hits that only Bengals' fans still even think of as dirty and to ridicule when we lose.

Here's an extreme example that still irks me. I have a Bengals' friend who's not talking to me right now because He texted me at the end of the Jags game last Monday mocking me because of the shut out, and of course I was in the moment and already pissed off so I responded angrily (plus another freaking text message, what the hell - I seriously need to cancel my service) calling him an asshole and he got all upset and wrote me a whole email about how his feelings were hurt because I called him an asshole, etc. I mean, what'd he expect when he texted me at the end of a horrible game? It's in the heat of the moment and I'm still fired up. The next day, fine, but at the end of a game? I've never done that to a friend to date and if I did I would expect an angry response. Nonetheless I emailed back telling him it was in the heat of the game and I was still angry about it so I responded emotionally and apologized it offended him and even sent him an e-card to tide things over, because, after all, it's just a silly game and I don't take it seriously beyond the moment, but no, he has not responded for over a week now. Seriously, grow up and get over it already!

Anyways, I hate Cincinnati and I hate Bengals' fans because they act like complete asses to me, did I mention I went to pick up a movie in my Steelers' jersey on Friday and the guy working there told me I wasn't allowed to come into his store? I did anyways and unless he physically threw me out I was going to rent my freaking movie, but why is it okay to be rude to a complete stranger? I can't wait to move somewhere where I can feel like it's home. Somewhere that fits me as a person and where people are nice to you despite your favorite sports team or your ethnicity. Did I mention Cincinnati's the only place I've seriously been racially attacked? Sure, I've been given dirty looks before in places with confederate flags and with only white people (other than me) and I've literally been not served by someone before because I'm not white, but good ol' Cinci is the only place that I've actually been verbally attacked for my race which escalated to a physical attack.

Give me a place where I can feel comfortable and where people are open and accepting of differences. It'd be nice to be somewhere where there's some diversity. I'm sick of always being the only person with different point of views, beliefs, etc. because then I'm the one everyone always wants to argue with and debate! I'm totally cool with disagreeing with people and having different points of view from people, but I'm sick of being everyone's token Steelers' fan or token liberal or token minority or token non-Christian, etc. Fine, you disagree with me, I get it, I don't care!!! Leave me alone. In Cinci, if you're not a white, conservative suburban Christian then you're the odd man or woman out and they don't let you forget it either!

I can't wait to move and get the fuck out of here.

Alright, rant over.

On a Much happier note, I had a Wonderful time with my hubby this weekend celebrating our 2-year wedding anniversary. It was everything I wanted out of the celebration and I'm thrilled and walking on air that I'm married to such an amazing man. Today is our Official Wedding Anniversary (we just celebrated it on Saturday so we could stay out late) and it just seems like yesterday that we had our beautiful wedding with all of our friends and family and our doggies of course. That day was truly amazing and seriously the best day of my life. I felt like everything in the world was perfect on that day. I never felt like that before and I haven't since. I know with hard work and lots of love that this relationship will make it to the ends of time.

Alrighty, I'm done with the mushy stuff. I'll spare you. :)


A Breath Of Fresh Air!

Whew, so one more stressor is now off the table as a huge deliverable for my job was due yesterday so now I can relax and surf the web as I ought to be able to while at work!

Some items of note:


Despite the dismal play of the Steelers' against the Jags, apparently Joey Porter's dogs are tougher than the team, having killed a miniature horse. Yikes! Of real note is that the Steelers/Bengals game is this Sunday, a huge rivalry for me since I live in the freaking 'Nati and have to deal with the obnoxious Bengals' fans on a constant basis. I actually think some of my friends are pissed at me right now because of my Steelers' devotion... only Bengals' fans...

I'm actually pretty optimistic about this game, Ben coming back from a horrible game will be motivated and hopefully healthier and against an injured Bengals team. It'll be a physical game for sure and we'll have a much better time against the Bengals defense than we did against the Jags. As long as we get our Offense going, we've got the game won because our Defense rocks so I'm pretty confident we'll be able to stop them.

As thrilled as I was that my Vikings have pulled out two wins against tough competition (the Redskins and the Panthers), they were a little close for comfort. The Vikes have to step it up this weekend to prove that they are for real against a huge division rivalry Chicago Bears. This game is important because the Vikes and the Bears will probably be the only two teams in the division competing for that Division Title, so this may an important tie-breaker game later in the season. I'm not going to lie, I'm nervous about this game because Chicago has been looking explosive, but then again Chicago has played Green Bay and Detroit, two horrible teams in our division. Meanwhile the Vikings have played the Redskins and the highly acclaimed Panthers, two tough teams that were highly talked about in the preseason. So, while the Vikings have barely won some games, they've done it against tough teams and they've fought for their wins.

Two division games this weekend, it's going to be exciting. A funny little article on which team is most like which female food network celebrity chef from the AFC North.

By the way, WTF is the President doing visiting with the Bucs for a pep talk? Doesn't he have better things to do? Like, um, run the country? Not that he's really doing much in that department either... but don't let me get into that.


On top of that and much more importantly it's my two year anniversary with my husband! Saturday night will be some wining and dining and hopefully a little somethin' somethin' on the side. Hehe, I'm excited. I can't believe it's only been two years because we've been together for seven years and have lived together for four years now. It hasn't been easy, but it's been fun, challenging and wonderful nonetheless. I love it and am excited to have some romantic time with him, which is hard to sneak in our busy, hectic lives. Especially recently! But now that most of my stressors are over with I can completely concentrate on our anniversary this weekend, and the Division games of course!

Yummy Leftovers

Sandra Ruttan has a great post on authors reviewing other authors' stuff and the controversy that ensues.. There is also an interesting post about Amazon.com allowing authors to respond to customer reviews of their books. Interesting, though I could see this getting ugly. Also check out this post from S. W. Vaughn's blog on whether or not writing critique groups are helpful or hurtful for authors. An interesting topic that is highly debated in the writing world! I left my thoughts on the matter in the comments section, leave yours too!

Also, an interesting article on plagiarism, including a nice little dig on apparant plagiarist Ann Coulter, gotta love that. Which brings me to this verbal exchange on the Overheard in the Office blog. OMG, how hilarious is that? I lo-ove it!

Anyways, I'm off, probably leaving work soon since I've put in oodles of extra time this past two weeks and then I'm hoping I have a fabulous weekend with romance and some kicking ass football games in which my teams, of course, win! Luckily we're going out for our anniversary Before the football games because the results of those would have definitely affected our night out, for better or worse. Yeah, I get pretty into the games, as a friend found out when he mocked me through text message (Blast Text Messages!) near the end of the Steelers' shut out game... oh, he was toast! Argh, Bengals' fans, can't live with them, can't get away from them in the nasty 'Nati. Lucky me. At least I ran into a Pittsburgh fan at lunch today, wahoo. That's always a small treat.

Hugs and kisses everyone, thanks for all the support and kind messages of recent, especially about my new look! :) Looking forward to this weekend and in an awfully cheery mood today despite the dreary, rainy weather.


Color Me Thrilled

Yes, I do have a new template, and no, you're not crazy if you visited it yesterday. I've played around with the colors and (at least for now) I'm settling on this! Let me know what you think! Does it bore you? Hurt your eyes? Or (hopefully) do you love it?

Now if I could just figure out how to create my own banner...

Update: Okay, so I got some complaints from loved ones and friends that my new blog style wasn't colorful enough and wasn't Me. So, with the wonderful help of my Hubby, and with more time than I'd like to admit, I've unleashed a new color sceme that is more "Me" to please you nay-sayers out there who say I'm not a boring blue and tan. :)

Hope it's not too girly for y'all out there, but then again, I am a little girly at times, so fuck it, I'll embrace it. I was going for light and airy, pretty and soft. Hope I accomplished it! And I swear, unless it drives me crazy in the next couple of days, I plan on sticking with this one for a while.

I know, you all think I'm going to change colors every couple of days, but I promise I won't!!! Seriously, I don't have the energy to. Hopefully I still like this color sceme in a day or so.


I Make Myself Sick!

No, this isn't some self-defamatory post about how I disgust myself for some reason or another. I literally make myself sick. See, I have a stress-handling problem. As anyone I'm sure couldn't fail to notice this past week or so, I've been stressed recently. Unfortunately I don't handle stress well. I take life, and probably myself, way too seriously and I end up making myself sick over it, literally. It always seems that after the climax of the stress is over that is when it all hits me physically and it makes me ill. I am now accustomed to getting horrible migraines after a period of stress, being physically nauseated and light-headed as if I have the flu, and the worse, I gave myself Shingles from stress. Yes, Shingles. That adult version of chicken pox that is deadly to and normally only gotten by the elderly. I got Shingles the day after my last final exam my Junior year of college - my most challenging year of college - and my doctor told me that people at my age who get Shingles get it from extreme stress and are prone to getting it chronically when they are stressed. Luckily I have yet to get it again since it's quite uncomfortable and there's no real treatment, just a medication that "quickens" it through your system, so that my poxes would burn intensely for an hour after I took the medication.

So I have a problem and I'm home sick today from work because I took my GRE on Saturday, nearly threw up during it and ended up doing horrible on the second half of it because of it, and nearly threw up and passed out this morning. What the heck's wrong with me? I'm sure I've made myself sick again. I need to change, I know this, but I'm not sure how. I always set very high standards for myself and detest failing, actually am scared to death of failing. I rarely have not gotten what I want, I've gotten the scholarships I wanted, the research projects in college I wanted, gotten into the school I wanted, got the job I thought I wanted (now I hate it), got the hubby I wanted (you betcha, I asked Him out). I'm a pretty determined gal and am very aggressive in going after what I want, but I stress the hell outta myself in the process. The only thing that I truly feel like a failure in is getting published, which I have yet to accomplish, to the extent that it almost stresses me out to write now when writing used to relieve my stress. I know, I shouldn't worry about getting published and just write because I love it and because I'd write anyways even if I never got published, and that's probably true. But I'm such a goddamn perfectionist I can't help myself. And I'm so obsessed with achievements that I can't stop focusing on that. How do I know that I'm getting better at writing if I have nothing to measure it by? No publications or reviews?

I've always known that I was ambitious, but I never realized how stressful it is to be ambitious. I'm the type of person who wants to change the world, and actually believes that I can! I worry my mother sick with my dreams of working with refugees in war zones, and I probably stress my husband out with my ideas of trips to war zones for untold months living with the refugees so I can really understand their needs. And the thing is, if I want to do these things, I know I will. My mom and hubby also know that I will, because that's the type of person I am. But it's hard being this way. How do I relax and let go of all my ambition and perfectionism? How do I Enjoy life more and not be so tense all the time? Okay, how do I do it other than just consuming alcohol, we don't want me to become an alcoholic here! I know I need help and I need to change the way I live life somehow without losing that ambition and drive that I truly do love about myself. But I burn myself out too quickly and put too much of myself into everything I do, I just can't help myself. Anyone else this crazy? Anyone have any suggestions?


Oh Politics!

Found some interesting political articles that I'd like to direct you to.

First, an encouraging post called Conservatives Want Republicans to Lose. I'm sure you can get the drift of that article! It's a breath of fresh air that some Educated and Prominent Conservatives are disgusted and worried about the Radical Republicans that are holding positions in our government right now.

One little snippet, but make sure to check out the article to read what other Conservatives had to say on the topic:

BRUCE FEIN: Democrats, for their part, likewise place party above the Constitution, but their party loyalty at least creates an incentive to frustrate Bush'’s super-imperial presidency. This could help to restore checks and balances. For the foreseeable future, divided government is the best bet for preserving both the letter and spirit of the Constitution. If Democrats capture the House or Senate in November 2006, the danger created by Bush with a Republican-controlled Congress would be mitigated or eliminated.

Also a scary interview with Stephen Baldwin and the reason why I have my doubts and reservations with the whole idea of "religion" - not that everyone is this obscenely retarded, but there are a fair amount out there...

Straight from the horse's mouth: I represent the new breed of Christians, baby, that are gettin' ready to kick ass in the name of the Kingdom.

Hmm, okee dokee Stephen, because the old breed definitely didn't try to kick some ass in the name of the Kindom with, say, a couple million years of WARS?? Right.

Lastly, completely non-political and user-friendly, unless you're a Bengals', Browns' or Ravens' fan of course, the History of The Terrible Towel.

Have a fantabulous Thursday, y'all. Wish me luck, I take my GREs on Saturday... *gulp. You do gotta love it though, the Only school that I'm interested in that requires the GRE just happens to be my top choice. Life loves me in that way.

Anyone have any funny jokes or tidbits, feel free to leave them for me! This day feels impossibly long and horrible and I'm exhausted so I need a boost to get through the day. Possibly due to the fact that I had to stay up to watch Project Runway and then woke up super early to get to work early because I'm Swamped and have to leave early for a meeting today. Usually I would just leave work early and not worry about it, but I can't afford to right now. Argh.


World's Largest Chicken Dance Anyone? Anyone??

Yeah, I didn't think so. This is so Cincinnati and even more, sooo #85... which is probably why I hate it. Living in Cincinnati as a Steelers' fan, you can't help despising the Bengals and everything Bengals.

Really though, WTF? And more importantly why?

As if the Mohawk wasn't bad enough, now Chad's going to be flapping his arms like he means it. And on that topic, what is UP with the Mohawk trend? Chad Johnson, Clinton Portis and now Shawne Merriman?? Seriously guys, it's all fun and games, but do you realize you be looking like damn fools? Though that may not be a concern for someone staging the world's largest chicken dance, someone who dresses up in costumes with names such as "Reverend Gonna Change" and "Coach Janky Spanky" or someone who has a light switch tattooed to his arm and has a convulsion imaginatively flipping it on and off.

Only in the NFL! You gotta love it.


The Power of Blogs

OMG, I died laughing when I read this post. You will not believe the power of blogs! From an innocent and humorous rant to international news, if only we all could be so lucky.

I stole this picture from The Daily Dish because I thought it was gorgeous and of course it made me think of my BFF (Blog Friends Forever of course) Elizabeth! Supposedly this is Cape Cod, but since I've never been I can't confirm that for you. Someday I'll take my own awesome pictures and put them up for you, I promise! It'll have to stop raining here first for me to get a decent nature shot, though Ohio isn't known for it's natural beauties I'm sure I could find something.


Beyond that, my Vikes pulled out a victory last night despite a plethora of penalties (wince). New coach Childress made a daring move benching our starting Strong Safety as punishment, for, ahem, some indecent conduct in a stairway of a hopping Minneapolis club. I think the benching of Dwight Smith in addition to cutting Koren Robinson is Childress' way of making a statement... The Love Boat Era Of The Vikings Is Coming To An End. That means no more double-sided dildos for you, Mr. Smoot. I think all Vikings' fans are relieved, though football and non-football fans are perhaps a bit disappointed. Has there been any thing more grotesquely entertaining than the details of the Love Boat incident? It's like one of those gorey scenes in scary movies where you don't want to look because you know it'll be disgusting and give you nightmares, but you just have to.

Though I do think the fact that Tom "Famed Couch Hurdler" Cruise and wife "I told Teen Magazine that I wanted to marry Tom Cruise when I was thirteen" Holmes made a public appearance and were, shocking, holding hands (I mean they did just have a baby together, you'd think holding hands wouldn't be a news flash) was bigger news than the actual game going on. That was annoying to say the least.

The Vikes definitely have some cleaning up to do in their game, but overall I'm pretty happy. Boo Yah is all I have to say to the Chester Taylor doubters, he looked great! He'll really be tested against a tough defense next week against Carolina. Now, the fantasy football question, do I start him against a good defense or do I take a chance on rookie Laurence Maroney or coming back from injury Deuce McAllister against weaker defenses? Argh, fantasy football is such a mindbender. For those keeping score, I won in one league getting the week high points (wahoo) and the $10 prize money for the week (double wahoo, lunch money!) and I lost in my other league by 4 freaking points! All Lamont Jordan had to do was get one TD or run for 60 yards, but no, he had to stink like a pile of dog poo sitting out on hot concrete after a couple of days.


Lunch Break

Okay, so I have a monster headache and am busier than hell at work, which has made catching up on reading my fave blogs difficult, though I am using it as a break every once in a while from the monotonous work I have to do to keep me sane. So I've decided to use my lunch break to blog since I know I'll continue to be busier than hell after I eat. Anybody else hate their jobs too? If so, feel free to rant in my comments, I'm sure I'll emphasize.

I'm very excited about this interview and the upcoming release of Charles' Frazier's Thirteen Moons in October! Some of my favorite parts of the interview:
Frazier published "Cold Mountain," his debut novel, in 1997. He was 46. He had quit teaching at a local university to write it, after his wife, Katherine, told him, "You don't want to wake up at 65 and wonder what kind of book you would have written."
That gives me hope, I have quite a few years before I hit 46. Plus, what an awesome partner to support her husband in fulfilling his dream, even though it meant a loss in income. I know that I have just as amazing of a partner in my hubby who is willing to move with me where ever my schooling and passions will take me!

"Cold Mountain" was riveting, though too meticulously written to be a page-turner in the usual sense: reading it was a steep hike, rather than a walk in the woods. Frazier hoped there might be 10,000 Southerners who'd buy it. But even without the divine agency of Oprah, the novel has become a modern classic, with more than 4 million copies in print. Today, outside Cherokee, Frazier passes a restaurant that his work obviously inspired: Inman's Cold Mountain Cafe. When it's pointed out that a lot of authors have given the American people great books, but not a lot have given them all the pancakes they can eat for $3.99, Frazier laughs and nods, looking slightly embarrassed. "I've contributed," he says.

I totally agree about the way Cold Mountain was written, it wasn't a page turner in the typical sense, yet I don't remember it being a difficult read by any means. I got so wrapped up in the intricate plot that I couldn't wait to find out what happened next and finished the book rather quickly. I think the way Frazier played out the love story was so intense because of it's almost lack of intensity in the interactions between Inman and Ada. I loved how shy both of them were and that they truly loved very intensely but couldn't show it, but then war forces those feelings up and forces people to truly evaluate what is important to them. Also, I thought that little story about the Inman's Cold Mountain Cafe was too cute.

"Thirteen Moons" before coffee one morning. Random House paid $8.25 million for it, and producer Scott Rudin ponied up $3 million for the movie rights. Frazier was admonished in some newspapers for leaving the small publisher, Grove Atlantic, that had discovered him, though he's still friends with his former editor. (Grove had bid $6 million in partnership with Vintage paperbacks.) It was not an entirely pleasant time for such a private person, although, sure, there are worse problems a guy could have. "I called my mother after the deal was done and I said, 'There may be some stuff in the papers about this'," says Frazier. "She said, 'Oh, I already know. I saw it on the crawl on CNN'."


Even now, after advance raves for the new novel, there is still the occasional snipe in the media about Frazier's rich deal—evidence of our peculiar, self-fulfilling notion that art should never sell and that only hacks should get the big bucks. "All that stuff about money - I sort of understand where it comes from. Do I like it? No, I don't, but it comes with the territory," says Frazier. He's sitting in a coffee lounge, waiting for a meeting about a translation project he's funding to render portions of the novel into Cherokee, part of an initiative to keep the language alive. "I saw something that said I was 'the symbol of greed in the publishing industry.' I'm not the one who decided what the offers were gonna be on the book. And it's not like I went into this just looking to take the highest offer." Several offers were in the same vicinity, he says, but the strength of Random House's marketing team was a factor. The publisher could hardly be handling the novel with more gravitas. These days, when Frazier says something goofy to his family - —when he relates a joke from "South Park," say - —his 20-year-old daughter, Annie, will needle him by intoning, "An American master returns!"
I definitely have some mixed feelings about the whole controversy over Frazier's book deal. I have to admit, I'm fairly naive about the publishing world, though I have been trying to learn, but I don't truly understand what the hoop-lah is about. I know, small publisher's need all the support that they can get, but wouldn't Anybody try to go with a bigger publisher just for the reason Frazier stated? They can reach more people, can't they? I'm not trying to justify big publishers morally or saying that's how the system should work, but isn't it hard enough to become a published author, let alone a successful published author? Wouldn't any author do all that they can do to get the best book deal for their own interest? It even sounds like Frazier's still friends with the people at the small publisher, so I'm Really not sure why there was so much criticism of him over it. Like I said though, I don't know a whole lot about the history or the current world of publishing, so I realize I may be missing parts of this picture.

I do love that his family can ride him a little bit about his success from Cold Mountain, if your family can't, who can? It's good they keep him grounded though, I like that.

Overall, I loved the interview and it has gotten me very pumped up to read Thirteen Moons... hopefully by the time it comes out I'll actually have time to read for pleasure then!!

Alrighty, back to the deathtrap that is work. And my headache was just going away too, damn.


Big Ben Bigger Than Life

Love This Article! Having watched My Big Ben throughout college, I KNOW the boy can throw. He'll make a play out of a busted play and he's tough as nails. Why doesn't anybody know this? Has he not done it in the NFL? Did he not carry the team through the playoffs with the fourth-best three-game playoff passer rating (125.8) in NFL history? WTF. So far, Ben has had the best starting two years of any QB ever in the NFL. I think that speaks for itself. He may very well possibly be the best QB in the game, and yet nobody notices. Maybe it works in his favor to be under the radar, but he deserves to be recognized for his accomplishments and skills. I recognize you, Ben. Ben and I are ti-ight!


Literary Slacker

Not only have I not been reading for pleasure whatsoever recently - well, unless you count studying for the GREs pleasure, which I have a different word to describe that experience - but I've been totally slacking on my literary posts. It's not that I haven't been keeping up with it or that I haven't found anything interesting to blog about, in fact I've found many things that I clipped in my Bloglines that I wanted to blog about, but I've been swamped and just haven't found the time to devote to a quality post that I'd want to on a literary topic.

I still don't have time, so I'll point to some of my favorite posts of recent on the literary market:

  • Around the World in 100 Books brought these new translations into Chinese to my attention! My mother will be thrilled to see some Russian novelists there, she's a huge fan and only reads books in Chinese. Great, now I can read Crime and Punishment in English and she can in Chinese. She'll probably whoop my butt and finish before me though since I don't have time to pleasure read right now...
  • Want to be published but don't have the patience to write a story or a book? Write a blog and think it's the greatest thing on earth? Then why don't you bound your blog in a book? Either a wicked cool idea or a wicked lame idea, I can't decide yet... I guess it depends on what blog we're talking about! Good link Book Ninja!
  • It's about damn time! I'm especially interested in this since this will very soon be applicable to me. Thanks to Cuppa Joad for this one.
  • Yikes, isn't this why we have separation of church and state? Thanks Maud for the link.
  • Sandra Ruttan has some great posts on Killer Year and on her personal blog about privacy and becoming a well-known author. Boy do I love her posts! Start checking out her blog, On Life and Other Inconveniences and you'll quickly become addicted too!
Alright, that's all folks. Sorry I've been such a slacker, I'll try to write some more thought provoking and interesting posts on the literary world very soon, as soon as I get my life in order... um, okay, maybe I'll try to get one in before that since that may never happen at this rate!


Project Pimp Squad

I'm always up for a party, so I've joined the elite Pimp Squad. Please enjoy the vid clip and go out and buy Anne Frasier's Pale Immortal right now!


Alright Ben, You're Not God

Okay, so the Universe has to be trying to tell my Big Ben something, with the near-death motorcycle accident and now this silly little Appendicitis bit. Sure, it'd be easy to think you're Invincible and a Living God when as a rookie you led your team to the AFC Championship with a 14-0 regular season record, and then your sophomore year, um, you win the freaking Super Bowl. But apparently Ben is Not God, a sad and disconcerting truth that Steelers fans everywhere are learning... the hard way.

In the words of teammate Brett Keisel, He's Cursed.

So, Ben, will you humble yourself already or whatever so you can stop getting hurt and our team can win some football??

Luckily it wasn't a very invasive surgery and it's rumored that they are targeting the third game of the season for Ben's return, conveniently our first divisional game against Cincinnati. Unfortunately our first two games are against the Miami Dolphins (who many are slating to make it to the Super Bowl this year) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (whom the Steelers always struggle against). Damn Damn Damn Damn. I was looking forward to Thursday like you wouldn't believe (giddily counting down the days to the start of the season, getting my Steelers flag out and hoisting it onto it's pole in front of my house, ironing my Terrible Towel - okay, so I didn't do that, but just because I don't iron in general). Now I'm slightly dreading Thursday, nobody wants to lose the first game of the season at home. Batch is decent enough, he won't lose the game for you but he won't win the game for you either. So Willie has to have a big game and our D has to step it up and win the game for us. Ike, you just got a lovely contract extension in which you make more than Polamalu (which makes no sense at all to me, hopefully they correct that when they extend his contract next year), so why don't you start catching some of those dropped interceptions for a change and step it up this Thursday? That'd be nice, thank you. I guess we won't get our "shoot out" that everyone was buzzing about for Thursday's game.

Well, get well soon Ben. I really am not blaming you for your illnesses (though a helmet would have been good for the motorcycle accident), this is just getting eerie, like karma or something so you gotta start wondering, why? Why Me?? I mean, uh, why Ben... yeah.

Thank you Brett for thinking of me when you heard of this! That means I've been successful in my Steelers ranting to make my mark. :) Some more articles on Ben's appendicitis if you're interested at Post-Gazette and Deadspin (the funny spin on it, yes, even in these dark hours we can find humor). My favorite line from the Deadspin article is: "During the surgery, doctors also took the precautionary step of affixing a little tiny helmet on Roethlisberger's appendix." Too funny. And then, just for funsies: Why People Love The Steelers, in case you were wondering. Boy, do I love Deadspin!


Template Grrrs

Okay, so I spent more time than I ought trying to get double sidebars on both sides of my blog. After hours of working, looking up things, playing around I finally get it! It looks great, everything's perfect and I'm ecstatic. Immediately I call my hubby to have him check it out and give me his thoughts.

"Um, well, it's not really lined up right."

"What do you mean? I spent like 30 minutes getting it lined up perfectly," I respond, a little defensively.

"Well, the left sidebar is in the body of the blog," he replies tentatively.

"What?!?!" So in a hurry, I check IE, even though I know it doesn't show my template, to see if it's lined up right. It isn't, what my husband said was completely correct even though we'd both been looking at my template through Firefox.

So, why did it look great in My Firefox browser, but all skewed in my hubby's browser and in IE? Luckily I saved the template code elsewhere before playing with it so I was able to restore it to it's one sidebar only version, but I'm truly annoyed and confused. Why can't I have two sidebars?? Why did it look perfect for me but not for hubby?

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. This is why I'm not a computer programmer.

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