I cleaned my desk so I might as well use it.

Hey, what’s up? If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you got left behind when the rapture came and all of your Mormon friends got taken away.

Go ahead, click on the image and check out the website. I'll wait.

What, you didn’t see that episode of Family Guy? Or South Park? I can’t remember which raunchy cartoon it was that said the Mormons got it right…

Anyway. On to more important things. Like, why I’m blogging sober on a Friday night.

“Toni, why are you blogging SOBER on a Friday night?”

Because I’m unemployed and therefore unable to afford liquor, and I’m in a place where I know roughly 10 people other than my husband, therefore I have nothing better to do on Friday night. Thanks for rubbing it in, asshole.

Actually, I started writing this blog so I could tell you two things.

I see you leaning towards the screen of your looted Mac (pretentious much? Isn’t the whole point of owning a Mac being able to tell people that your computer cost three times as much as everyone else’s?) in rapt attention as you wait for the life-changing lesson that will inevitably follow.

Shit, I forgot what I was going to say first.

Give me a minute, I’ll remember…

I think it might have been something about my inability to finish anything other than a sandwich. Yeah, we’ll go with that. See, I have all these big plans for things, like books and a website to meet other pathetic losers who are stuck at home Friday night because they’re new in NC and don’t know anyone, and all sorts of diet/exercise plans, and I’ve never finished any of them. Not one. Hell, I can’t even finish cleaning my house in one try. Usually, half of my house is clean one week, the other half the next.

I’m being generous about my cleaning skills. They’re more along the lines of the whole house is a mess most of the time, and occasionally a room or two gets cleaned.

That would be a pretty awesome name.

So yeah. I need to work on that whole willpower thing. It’s not that mine is inadequate… it’s that I just don’t possess anything that could be even slightly construed as willpower. Unless, of course, you count awesomeness. I’ve got lots of that.

Now that you’re all completely in awe of my awesomeness (check out that awesome alliteration!), I’ll tell you the other thing I came here to tell you about.

(Insert creative segue here…)

Get it? Segway? Ha, I slay me!

In 2006, I started a job as a switchboard operator. I got the job completely by chance… It was through a temp agency, and I hadn’t checked in with them in 6 weeks when they called me about the job. They had decided that I would be perfect for it; they described me as “bubbly” on the phone.

For the record, I have never, ever been described as “bubbly” in person. Or even “fit to be out in public.” But that’s beside the point.

Obviously, I took the job. It was employment, and part of my job description was playing on the internet all day. Woot! My training was pretty basic. They covered how to talk to the customers, how to record their info, and who each type of call should be directed to. What they didn’t really cover was what to do in the event of an irate (and possibly mentally deficient) customer. Sure, they warned me about the “bad” calls, but they didn’t really give me much guidance as to what to do in those situations.

Fast forward two weeks. Keep in mind that I was still a temp at this time, and still worried that one day they’d tell me not to come back. We had a new customer whose service was a pain in the ass to hook up. It took a few days, but everything finally got dealt with and they were just waiting for their scheduled installation. A woman and her boyfriend were listed on the account, both of whom had been nice in their impatience. After fielding quite a few calls from them over the course of a few days, I recognized the name and number when it came up on the caller ID.

Me: How may I direct your call?
Her: I need to speak to a manager. (Note: this wasn’t the woman whose name was on the account. And I knew why she was calling.)
Me: What is this in regards to?
Her: Tell them it’s about marketing. (Really? Make it a little more obvious that you’re lying. And also, how many managers will actually take a call about marketing?)
Me (rolling my eyes): Sure, hold on just a moment please.

I tried to transfer the call to 4 different managers, but the only one who was available told me to transfer the call about “marketing” to his voicemail. I switched back over, and no one was on the line. Not surprisingly, she called back a few minutes later.

Me: None of the managers are available at the moment (since I had just tried them all), would you like to leave a voicemail?
Her: No, I need to talk to someone.

I’ll save some time here and not type out every fucking word… and also, it was 5 years ago so I don’t remember *all* of the conversation. She reiterated how desperately she needed to talk to someone RIGHT NOW, blah blah blah, and refused to believe me when I told her no one was available.

Her: I may have a little bit of an accent, but I’m not stupid. (Dude, did I just get accused of being racist over the phone? Yes, yes I did.)
Me: (I told her for the 42625465387th time that no one wanted to fucking talk to her.)
Her: What is your name? I’m gonna report you to the Chamber of Commerce.

Of course, I refused to tell her my name. Why would I tell anyone that who just called me racist… over the phone? Fuck that. Surprisingly, I got a little sarcastic.

I know, you’re shocked. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures!

Anywho, she actually called the Chamber of Commerce. I had to explain to my manager what had happened, you know, how someone who wasn’t on the account (therefore I didn’t have to do shit for her) wanted me to lie to the managers about why she was calling. And that whole I-hung-up-on-a-customer thing too. Oops. Apparently that’s frowned upon unless they’re cussing at you.

The bitch also called AGAIN, and then she came into the store.

I’ll admit it, I hid.

What did I learn from all this, you ask?

1. Apparently I don’t need to know what color someone is to hate them for their race.
2. Everybody was on my side. Ha!
3. There was a very racist statement here. Then I realized that ending the blog that way would cancel out the funny. So, I’ll put in this picture of adorable kittens instead!

Awww, a pile of kittehs!

Just think… when your heathen grandchildren ask you what you were doing the night before the rapture someday, you can tell them about this blog.

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Just Write: The First Step

themindofgame.com

I’ve read it a million times from every author/hobby writer who’s ever used the internet:

“The biggest part of writing is just that… writing.”

How can anyone expect to get their writing noticed if they don’t ever write? I suppose that I could explain the thought process. See, I’m one of those “writers” who just sits around waiting for the muse to strike and tell me exactly what to write. I remember when I used to write on-demand: I’d always have a notebook with me, and any spare moment would be spent adding to whatever story I happened to be working on at the time. Those days are long gone even though I have more time I could dedicate to writing than I used to.

any-parental-control.com

The difference is distraction. There are so many other things to do. Get on Facebook, watch TV, check out the entire internet a few times, get sucked into the Youtube cycle of suggested videos… I could name a hundred more distractions, but I think that list gets the point across.

The question becomes this: How do you overcome the distractions?

The simple answer for me is to grab a notebook instead of my laptop. That way, when I get stuck, I don’t have that little button to get on the internet and completely forget about my writing. Then there’s making time to write– determining a specified amount of time each day to spend with just my notebook and a pen.

I think the best solution would be to find a cave or a log cabin (think: Secret Window) to go hide out in. No internet access, a phone only for emergencies, and a beautiful setting to draw inspiration from. Unfortunately, hiding out for as long as it takes to finish a book isn’t exactly feasible for most people. Then there’s that whole developing homicidal multiple personality disorder thing that makes me a little weary…

So how do you eliminate the distractions from every day life? How do you put aside time to write, and not let your writing be affected by life?

1. Write whatever is in your head. Don’t worry if it’s not the next great American novel. Just write through the crap, and eventually you’ll find the good stuff.

2. Find a little bit of time each day to write. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, take that time to write something. A blog, a letter, a page on your story, a poem– whatever. Just write.

3. Limit your internet usage. Figure out what is important when you get online, and do it quickly. There are programs available to lock your internet access– if you need to, invest in one of those and set it up to only allow you online for 30 minutes or so a day. Or, set it to block access for the time frame you’ve determined you’ll use to write each day.

4. JUST WRITE.

That’s the bottom line. If you want to be a writer, all you have to do is write. If you truly love writing, it won’t feel like work. Just let the words flow, and don’t worry if it’s not your best work. You can always edit later, and not everything you write has to be seen by the world. Eliminate whatever distractions you can for as long as you can, and listen to your characters as they tell you their story.

And start looking for abandoned caves you could hole yourself up in for a few weeks…

thezensite.com

What do you do to overcome distractions when you want to write?


Oh, you’re a photoblogger? Grrrrrrreat.

Digital camera + URL = Photoblogger?

Sorry, but that’s not right. It has something to do with the quadratic formula and algorithms and the moon being in the 7th house… the math just doesn’t add up.

In my mind, there are only a few reasons to include pictures in your blogs. The first, and most important, is if you’ve just had a baby and you’ve mentioned it on your blog. Chances are, people are only reading because they’ve been waiting to see what your spawn looks like. Food blogs also need pictures– just don’t go overboard. A picture of one or two steps in the preparation and a picture of the end product are enough. And if you have a hilarious blog that’s made even more hilarious by the illustrations? Those are perfectly acceptable. However, it has become apparent to me that people aren’t aware that there are boundaries when it comes to photoblogs. They’ve been unwritten (as far as I know) until now:

1. Keep it minimal. Just 3 or 4 shots will be enough. Any more than that is just overkill, usually.

2. Don’t try to get all artsy. Every emo kid with a camera phone thinks they can be an artsy photographer, and it’s getting old. Take a picture of something hilarious or significant or with boobs… just make sure it has a purpose.

3. No, I do not need to see pictures of every second of your vacation. Those blogs are just like the old home movies Grandma used to drag out as torture devices for long weekend visits. Yes, I know you went somewhere cool. Yes, I’m jealous. Now I’m going to hate you because not only did you rub it in, you bored me to death in the process. Asshole.

4. Have I mentioned the minimal thing? I use Google Reader, and I subscribe to Freshly Pressed. Why I did that is beyond me at this point, but that’s a topic for a different blog…

Anyway. I’m sure you’ve used an RSS reader before. If you haven’t, imagine a never-ending newspaper page. It’s nice and broken up around the individual blogs, and you can scroll past the ones you don’t want to read pretty quickly. Unless, of course, some asshole has decided that they’re the world’s greatest photographer and has posted 4567890976546754 pictures in their blog. Without captions. Not only do I not want to look at all your fucking pictures, I don’t even know what I’m looking at. I’ve wasted precious moments of my life scrolling past other people’s forays into photography and I have to say, I’m not impressed. I’m mostly just annoyed.

5. Pictures, but no words?
Get a Shutterfly account, or whatever the hell is popular for online photo viewing nowadays. I still have all my pictures in Photobucket…

6. Photoshopping is perfectly acceptable… to a point. Learn the limits. I’m not exactly sure what those limits might be, but there are some.

In conclusion? A few pictures in a blog are great as long as they accentuate the content. If they’re the only content? Get a damn photo album. They still sell those at Walmart. Really. I think…


I give up.

So, this whole CSS thing?

OhmyFUCKINGgod it makes me want to rip my hair out.

For now, I give up. At least until I understand CSS a little better. Right now, I’m completely clueless. I found a generator, but even that didn’t work for me. I’m sorry my blog isn’t more visually appealing, but I’ll try to post things that make you want to come back anyway.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen, though…

Also… can anyone recommend any good books for making CSS make sense? I’m completely, utterly lost.


I just don’t trust technology.

Maybe it’s an insecurity issue. Maybe Myspace burned me one too many times, and now I just can’t trust a machine to keep my important data for me. Sure, technology has given me good things, like many friends made through blogging and the ability to be in touch with anyone, anywhere, at any time. But that’s not enough. I’ve seen one too many blogs disappear into internet oblivion before they posted, and I’ve clicked the wrong button on enough occasions to know that just one little mistake can cost me everything.

Then there’s all the privacy issues. Have you heard of spokeo.com yet? If you haven’t, go ahead and check it out. Type in your name and see what comes up.

See why I don’t trust technology?

Most of the information I found on there under my name has never been public on Facebook, or anywhere else. It makes me wonder what other kind of sensitive information that I’ve entered on the internet can be so easily made public… like, my debit card number.

Yeeeeeeeeeeahhhh…

Then there’s the idea that anything I put on the internet will be saved for all eternity. Sometimes, I can convince myself that’s not true. I tried to retrieve my blogs from my old Myspace profile a few months ago… no dice. However, I don’t want my kids to Google my name 15 years from now and see some of the stuff I’ve written here. I feel bad for all the kids who are the subject of their parents’ blogs– it’s a permanent record of all their ups and downs as toddlers and young children. Really, who wants to Google themselves and find a 10 year old blog about the first time they pooped on the toilet? Internet records are so much different from a scrapbook or photo album. They’re accessible by anyone, and they’re impossible to destroy.

I’m not saying I won’t blog about my kids once I have them… I’m just saying I won’t be proud of myself for doing it.

Because I don’t fully trust technology, I haven’t truly gained an understanding of everything I have at my fingertips. I mean, what does WordPress have to offer that I just haven’t discovered yet? What can my digital camera really do if I utilize all its functions? How simple could my life be if I just let go of the fear and trusted my life to technology?

I long for the days when my move would have inspired pages upon pages of handwritten letters. I’ve gotten a few, and I’ve written a few, but what’s the point of that when most of the people I know are on Facebook? That’s something I want to do more of: hand-write letters. Just a page or two to say hey, I’m still alive. And I was thinking about you.

I feel like I’m out of the loop with all this. I’m part of the age group that’s supposed to be techno-savvy and techno-dependent. We grew up with computers… literally. We remember MS-DOS (and all the cool games that went with it). We’ve bitched and whined with every change to our beloved programs, and then oohed and aahed when we finally figured out everything we can do with the new program.

How is it that “oohed” is a word, yet “aahed” is not? Hmm.

I need to let go. I need to realize that technology is a good thing. There’s a website out there for everything from tracking ovulation to helping me lose weight. I don’t have a smartphone… yet. I can’t wait to get one, to be able to constantly be in touch with everything and everyone.

Then there’s the website I want to start. I’ll need to stay on top of that, and checking my e-mail once or twice a day just won’t suffice. There’s so much I want to do with it, and it’s all possible. Now, if I could just figure out what the hell I’m doing…