Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Monday!

For your viewing and listening enjoyment.  I LOVE this video because it reminds me of the parties we used to have when my kids were young, and now here's the next generations.  Those of you who came of age in the 70s might see this as a blast from your past, too.

My daughter ,Courtney, who sings this song, is the one making the goofy faces.  My son, Chris, is the guy with the beard and glasses dancing with Connor.  

"This World of Mine" written by Courtney Blackwell Rice.  Performed by The Blackwell Sinners.  I'm so proud of them!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Greetings from Sedona!

I really, really try to maintain a regular Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday posting schedule, and today I'm getting in just under the wire.  I'm writing from Sedona, Arizona, right now and man, we had a spectacular day.  Here are a couple of pics from the area around Bell Rock, which is probably the most gorgeous scenery I've ever experienced.

I know--I wear my favorite Rock 'n' Bowl New Orleans baseball cap in every friggin' ourdoor picture, right?  That's because a) usually I don't take a shower before I go hiking and I have to hide my Medusa morning hair, and b) I had skin cancer on my face a few years ago and I try to shade my nose from the sun.

How about this handsome devil?  Whaddya know--I got him away from Black Ops!

You can tell we've climbed quite a ways up.  I'm a real baby when it comes to taking risks, but I think I whined only once.

Beautiful, beautiful!

I cannot freakin' believe that Mike's lived in Las Vegas for like forty some years and this was his first trip to Sedona.  It was almost exactly a four-hour drive from Green Valley to our motel near the Sedona airport, and that was at night.  Not far at all.  If you live in Vegas or are visiting for more than a few days, I highly recommend a side trip here.  I'll give you details on where to stay on Tuesday, but right now, I'll go back to enjoying this little getaway.

Hope you're all having a great weekend, too!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Are you freezing your ass off?

Not to brag, especially to those of you in frigid climates, but we've been having some spectacular weather here in Las Vegas and the 10-day forecast is bright sunshine and temperatures in the 60s everyday.  I'll take it.  Earlier this week my grandson (Jesus H, I still stop in my tracks when I write "my grandson") posted on my Facebook wall that it was 11 below zero that morning when he waited for the school bus. 

I can't stand (well, just about everything, but this time I'm thinking of) cold weather.  It's such a goddamn struggle.  So. do. not. miss. that. shit. 

Brrr.... I'm thinking of you all in those cold climates.  For some reason I seem to have a LOT of readers in the Minneapolis-St.Paul area.  I was shocked the other day when I saw on my blog stats that I have a larger percentage of readers from Minnesota than Nevada.  I feel for my Canadian readers, too, up there in friggin' Regina, Saskatchewan, and Sarnia, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you ALL--wherever you are--for checking in here.  I mean it.

Anyway, here are a couple of pics from last weekend out at Red Rock Canyon, a beautiful area on the west side of town that's less than a half-hour from the Strip.  Seriously, if you've been coming to Las Vegas for a while and have never left the Strip, rent a car and take a ride out there.  It's a whole different world.

This weekend I'm heading to someplace even more beautiful. Yep, another road trip.  You know me, I've got that old traveling fever.

But don't get me wrong--winter scenes are certainly beautiful, too.  Just take a look at these two.

Hazel: still the most serious baby ever.

Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My big reality show audition

Yesterday I had a post up announcing my 5:30 audition for America’s Got Talent. Then I read the confidentiality clause in the audition contract and got spooked, so I pull the post. But after reading through the AGT website, I’m sure there’s nothing here that wouldn’t be considered public knowledge, so here goes—an account of my big adventure auditioning for a reality show.

Getting an audition spot was simple enough. A couple of weeks ago, the guy who runs the Bonkerz comedy club here in Las Vegas sent an email with a flyer announcing the audition opportunity to all the comics on his mailing list. All I had to do was send an email to the address on the flyer expressing my interest.

I got a response almost immediately saying they’d contact me in a few days. Then last Thursday—literally 5 minutes after I got an email saying my essay was going to be aired on Northeast Public Radio—I got a call from an AGT producer in Los Angeles asking if I could come in at 5:30 on Monday. A double shot of good news!

They send me a contract and a pretty extensive questionnaire which asked things like what obstacles have you faced (hello, stagefright), what was your most life-changing event (moving to Las Vegas by myself after my second divorce) and what would you do with your winnings (make sure my mother is comfortable for the rest of her life). That kind of stuff; stuff that actually required thought.

So yesterday I collected all my paperwork, picked out a cute little outfit (black miniskirt and purple V-neck top—slightly age inappropriate, as always, but perfectly balancing sexy and professional) and strutted myself to Palace Station casino. I arrived early, of course, and checked in upstairs in one of the meeting rooms. I actually stood in the wrong line for a while, but a kind Michael Jackson impersonator who was also auditioning got me on course. It wasn’t a madhouse or anything, and if it hadn’t been for the 20-member girls’ gymnastics team, the scene would actually have been quite subdued. After checking in, I took a seat with a couple of comics I recognized. Their appointments were an hour before mine, and they said it had been a lot busier before I arrived. One by one, people were whisked away for their time to perform.

As it turned out, I was the third from last person to audition, so things were quiet at the end. After waiting about two hours, I followed a nice guy down to the Louie Anderson showroom and waited outside until it was my turn. Then they called me in. The stage was lit, but the room was dark and empty except the handful of people sitting in a booth in the back. I know this stage well—I just did an open mic on it Sunday night—so that was probably an advantage.

The guy explained that they needed to get “clean audio” and so I shouldn’t worry when I don’t hear any laughter. “I know that’s hard for comics,” he said, “but just work through it.” No problem.

I had 90 seconds to wow them, which was good because I have only about 90 seconds of clean material. I pulled all my snappiest punch lines into one cohesive mini-set and delivered it flawlessly. Really, I had not one iota of anxiety. I was pleased with my performance, and I actually did hear laughter during my set. Afterward the guy thanked me and said, “That was really funny.” I was in and out in less than three minutes.

Performers who are selected for another round will be notified in April, though believe me, the odds of hearing from them are astronomical. The only thing that would give me a slight advantage is that I’m female and I’m older. At any rate, auditioning was a great experience. The process was well executed and took but a few hours of my time.

Tonight I’m back on stage in the lounge at Aliante Station. This stage is very well run, so I can highly recommend it to you. The show is free and starts at 8:30. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yay, me! And the brilliance of Ricky Gervais

I've had a bunch of good things coming my way lately. 

Remember last August when I recorded a few essays for WAMC Northeast Public Radio in Albany?  Well, one of them finally aired yesterday.  You can listen to it here.  I sound kind of serious; I think I was trying so hard to neutralize my Awwl-benny accent. Next time I'll try to read in a more natural speaking voice.  I love the fact that the producers ended it with a song from The Simpsons.  "Baby on Board" by The Be Sharps is from my favorite episode, the one where Barney meets David Crosby in the bathroom at Moe's.
Barney:  "David Crosby?  You're my hero!"
David Crosby:  "Oh, you like my music?"
Barney:  "You're a musician?"
Ha!  Then last night I had my best set ever at Tommy Rocker's--yay!  I'm doing a lot more comedy lately and (dare I say), I'm actually starting to enjoy it.  Which is kind of the point when you do something for a hobby.  I even sold a couple of books last night, too. Yay, me!

So... did you see my favorite comic genius Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globes?  I thought he was, as he would say, brilliant.  I've been a huge--and I mean huge--fan of his since 2002 or 2003, whenever The Office first aired on BBC America.  Mike and I just watched the two seasons and the Christmas special; he'd never seen it before and was blown away.  Get out the Depends; you're gonna pee your freakin' pants when you watch this clip of Gervais as David Brent trying to out-dance his nemesis.

After we blew through The Office series (and the Christmas special), we dug into Extras, the HBO series that also features Gervais' creative partner, Stephen Merchant, who's a friggin' scene stealer.  If you haven't seen these shows yet, I don't know what the hell you're waiting for.  But I'll warn you, both are kind of hard to understand if your ear isn't trained for the British accent.  Oooh, that accent... Yes, I'm that shallow.  That's not a newsflash.

Anyway, my man Ricky raised quite a ruckus last Sunday night during his Globes hosting gig, as reported in this piece entitled, "Will Ricky Gervais Ever Eat Lunch in this Town Again?"  Evidently he "pricked a few egos" and "probably burned a few bridges."  Pull-eeeze. Tell me if you don't think this short clip is friggin' hilarious.

Gervais was the guest on CNN's Piers Morgan Thursday night, and not to do damage control.  Quite the opposite--he told Morgan he's not remotely remorseful and when it comes to comedy, he insists on being true to himself.  He's not looking to offend people; his goal is to be funny, and on his terms.  He said if he has to water down material for mass appeal, then it's not his joke.

Here's a clip of his appearance on CNN.  My respect for Ricky Gervais only grows.

I love those fearless comics like Gervais, Larry David and Louie CK (what a ballsy mother he is). I appreciate Mr. Nice-Nice Jay Leno, but give me the hit-and-miss Sarah Silverman anytime.  And I know I've said this before about offending people:  being offended is a choice.  One chooses to take offense.

In the very early days of this blog, I posted this piece (which I thought was pretty funny) that prompted this comment from a mother of a child with Tourette's.
I have a son with Tourette's Syndrome and he is always devastated by ignorant comments like yours.  If you can't find anything else to joke about, then it's time to hang it up sister.
My knee-jerk reaction was to feel a little bad, but then I was like, get the fuck out of here.  Does she really think I spend my spare time taunting children with disabilities?  Or maybe she mistook my blog for a support forum.  Of course, it would suck to have Tourette's, but if you Google "Tourette's humor," you'll see I'm not exactly blazing the trail.

Humor often crosses the line; it's all a matter of personal style.  They wouldn't have asked Ricky Gervais to host the Golden Globes if they expected Jay Leno.  Everyone in the audience that night got to where they are after facing tons of rejection, so they're not even the ones who were offended by his banter. But whoever made such a big deal of his performance actually did him a big favor by making Ricky Gervais a household word.  As it should be.

Thursday night on CNN, Gervais said something like, "The people who were offended by me at the Golden Globes definitely shouldn't come see my stand-up."  I feel the same way about my blog; if I offend you here, for God's sake, don't buy my book.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This week in the life of Vegas Linda Lou

This is a busy week... Monday night was a Henderson Writers' Group meeting and then Tuesday night I did a set on a new comedy stage in the lounge up at Aliante Station, way the hell up in North Las Vegas.  Like before you get there, you wonder if you're still in Nevada.  I'd never been there before; it's the newest Station Casino and it's very nice.  I hear the rooms are spectacular, and because of the location, they're quite inexpensive.  There's not much up there, though, but for anyone attending NASCAR in March, Aliante Station would be an excellent place to stay since it's close to the Las Vegas Speedway.

Anyway, it was nice to perform on a stage that was well run--kudos to John Barnes--but man, I didn't go up until almost 11:00, which is late when you have to work at 6 a.m., even when you're working from home.  I was happy to run into a comic I met back in the old days at Boomers (you'll recognize the reference if you read my book and if not, shame on you :) and was even happier that I am losing the stage fright problem a little more every time I perform.  Thank God, because if you're going to have a hobby, you really should enjoy it, right?  I'm doing another set on Friday night at 8:00 at Tommy Rocker's, a stage I haven't been on in probably five years.  That stage is run by Cozy Stone, who you'd also know from Bastard Husband

Oh, and speaking of... remember last Thursday I vowed to get the damn thing on Kindle and as an e-book?  Yeah, well after a lot of swearing--I even went through my "special occasion" swear words--I think I'm going to have to hire someone to do the job.  If anyone knows how to reformat a manuscript from InDesign 4, I'd love to hear from you.

So anyway, last night I met up with a Facebook friend from Virginia whom I'd never seen in real life.  Angela read my book and loved it (duh) (enough already, Linda) and we started exchanging sarcastic little witticisms as one does on Facebook.  When she said she was coming to town for a conference, we just had to meet up. 

We'd planned on meeting at Nine Fine Irishmen in NYNY, but when I got there, the place was closed for a private event.  I hate to admit I was kind of an a-hole to the guy at the door, rolling my eyes and all (a gesture which is becoming my trademark) (remember my appearance on Hannity?), but I'd been fantasizing about their little sausage rolls all friggin' day and I was pissed.  We ended up having a couple of drinks over at the MGM, where we got in some super high quality girl talk.  Ang is a pretty girl in her mid-30s and we got our flirty bartender going when we told him "we met online." Schwing!

For those of you in need of a Vegas fix, here's the view from the bridge over Las Vegas Boulevard connecting NYNY and the MGM.

I'm happy to report that it was quite busy in NYNY.  The last time I was there, I swear it looked like a scene from The Twilight Zone--eerily quiet.  The MGM was doing well, too.  Hell, there was even a  decent crowd way up at Aliante on Tuesday night.  Maybe things are picking up here.  I hope so.

So that's what's up with me.  What are you doing to stay out of trouble?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Those rat bastard credit card companies

I've posted before about those rat bastard credit card companies.  Fortunately, the (long overdue) Credit Card Reform Act of 2010 offers many new consumer protections like they can no longer hike interest rates on existing balances except under limited conditions such as when a promotional rate ends or if the cardholder makes a late payment. 

Credit card companies can still, however, slash credit limits abruptly even if you have a pristine payment history.  Unfortunately, this has an adverse effect on your credit score because a component of this figure is calculated from your ratio of credit used and available credit. So the bottom line is, no matter how diligent you are in your payments, those rat bastards will find a way to fuck you over.

Recently I received a letter from Wells Fargo that started something like, "It's never pleasant to have to communicate bad news to our valued customers..." and then they proceeded to tell me they've gone ahead and slashed by credit limit on a card I have with them.  A card I've never been a second late in paying because I value my credit score.  A card from an institution where I also have a personal checking account, personal savings account, business checking account, and business savings account.  And BTW, their little snail mail wasn't news to me since I'd already seen their wicked decision online. 

Having talked to these fuckers on the phone before (talking to someone in a branch is useless--they'll have you believe they have NOTHING to do with the credit division) (bullshit), I know I have no effective course of action.  So I did a little something to make myself feel better:  I took a red magic marker, wrote "FUCK YOU" on their correspondence to me, and sent it back to them. 

Whatever.  They can probably charge me with sending obscenities through the U.S. Postal Service, which I'll only turn into a media sensation--a cute little granny takes on the evil creditors and becomes a hero of the people.  Sigh... HDTV makes me nervous.

Seriously, I'm ranting here, but it's only a matter of time until somebody gets pissed enough and goes fucking postal about this.  Hmmm... maybe there is some redeeming value in Call of Duty Black Ops.  Millions of people are improving their aim.

Not serious.  I hate violence.  But...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I'm not a pain in the ass; I'm "highly sensitive"

As a girlfriend I pride myself as being low-maintenance, emotionally anyway. I don’t require a lot of attention (I have a shitload of stuff to do on my own) and I don’t need to be reassured of my attractiveness every other minute. If anything, I’m too low-maintenance; I’ve had boyfriends that figured, “Oh, she’s fine” and yeah, I may be fine, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for buying me a birthday present. Please.

It’s more in the physical sense that I’m likely to test someone’s patience. A million little things in the course of a day drive me positively batty and usually it has to do with lighting (so important) and noise. While I can handle a screaming classic rock band in a biker bar no problem, I don’t like noisy restaurants. I’ll often sit in three different places before I find a table I find comfortable. A booth is usually a safe bet, unless it's directly under a fan blowing cold air or speakers playing music that's either too loud or not to my liking.

And speaking of music, I silently seethe--and I mean seethe--if I can hear someone’s i-Pod through their ear buds like at work or on an airplane. Yet go figure--I do my best writing in a crowded Starbucks. (The music in Starbucks is usually pretty good. Except at Christmastime, and don't get me going on that.)

There's no pleasing me, right? I thought I was just a pain in the ass until I found The Highly Sensitive Person website and took their self test. Take it! I scored 21 out of 25. (I have a high tolerance for pain and am pretty competitive.)  If you score a 14, you're highly sensitive.
I actually came across this site a couple of years ago, and it was one of those moments where you're like, Oh, I didn't know they had a name for that.  I felt relieved, in a way.  I'm still a pain in the ass, but calling it "highly sensitive" just makes it sound better. 

Okay, so keep that in mind while I tell you Part 2 of this post.

You know I've been living with my boyfriend, Mike, since the beginning of November, right?  I adore him and love him to no end; I look at him and see sheer perfection. (He's very hot.) But he and his son are into this Call of Duty Black Ops war game for X-box, and I'm not being overly dramatic when I say that fucking game could very well lead to the end of our relationship. I cannot stand violence. I won't watch violent movies or TV shows and all that shooting (even though I know it's only a game) makes me want to cry. 

The house we're in right now is only temporary (thank God) because the way it's set up, there's no place for me to go to escape.  And so I spend a lot of time at Starbuck's.  We'll be moving in a couple of months, but in the meantime, I am going out of my friggin' mind. 

And I think I'm driving Mike nuts, too, with all my bitching.  I can't take it, though.

How about you?  Are you "highly sensitive"? Do you live in a Black Ops house? How do you keep your sanity?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My response to YOUR techno-whine

GREAT comments on Tuesday's post! You gave me some ideas for other points I want to make.

Mellodee wrote
Part of the problem is that the instructions included usually suck big time... It's not our fault that we don't have a Ph.D. in anything remotely related to "stuff."
YES! The manuals suck big time. I'm a technical writer (believe it or not), but being technically challenged actually helps me write good documentation, especially instructor manuals. I have to be able to understand something in order to communicate it to others, and I make sure that even a monkey can follow my instructions. As a result, though, I have little patience for poor instructions. Actually, I have little patience for just about everything. I should probably work on that, huh?

Liz wrote
I want (need?) a router so I can use my (now useless) laptop in the living room. I've had the laptop for a couple of years and still don't have a router. I'm putting it off because I feel like setting up a wireless network at home will be PAIN IN THE AS*!!! And, I assume I'll screw it up.
First of all, isn't she precious for asterisking "AS*"? As if Jesus or Santa reads my blog! Somebody was brought up to be a lady. Liz, I suggest you take a stab at this. I was able to set up a router all by myself when I was in my apartment (Mike handles anything related to wires now--that's men's work), and if I could do it, you certainly can. If I'm recalling correctly, I may have called the cable company to help me.

IMPORTANT HINT: Whenever you call for help and a young guy (or any age Indian guy) answers, start the conversation with this line: "Pretend you're explaining this to your grandmother." That way they'll know right off the (old) bat to dumb it down to the appropriate level.

dle wrote
Why can't companies put a manual in their products? I hate it when they give you a CD. I want to see the printed page and read it!!!
Oh, don't get me going on this. Remember last spring when I bought that piece-o-shit T-Mobile HTC-HT2 phone? I asked for an instruction book and they told me there's one online. SO NOT THE SAME! You can't rummage through an online manual the same way as a paper manual.

Mimi mentioned she has an iPhone, also with no music on it because of her technical challenges, plus she can't stand anything in her ears. I'm with you on that, sister! I'm easily annoyed, and earbuds just add to it all.

Gayle wrote
If I have problems with my computer or anything related to it.....wireless etc. then I have to have my husband fix it. He was going to get me an iPhone and in a way I am glad he didn't because who knows how long it would be before I could figure out how to use it.
First, see my above comment about men's work. Now, let me talk about the iPhone. After swearing at the T-Mobile P.O.S. for a couple of months, I jumped ship and got an iPhone. No, I wasn't thrilled when the guy in the store told me the manual was online, but the iPhone is so easy to use and so intuitive that I've never needed a manual anyway. (I did buy an app for 99 cents with tips on how to get the most out of it.) Seriously, I love that thing! Highly, HIGHLY recommend. Be brave, Gayle!

Anonymous and Jamie in PA are looking for Bastard Husband: A Love Story on Kindle. I'm working on it! I had myself a little swear-fest the other night when the thing uploaded all scrambled, but I think I know of another approach, which I'll try later on. I haven't asked for Mike's help yet; it would be a coup to be able to do this myself. But really, that's a better job for him.

Thanks for all your comments, and to everyone--thanks for reading my blog!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Techno-whine, Part 2

This is not a newsflash, but I must be losing my mind.  As I was writing today's post, I stopped myself mid-rant and thought, Wait a minute; I think I've bitched about this before.  And then sure enough, after digging through the archives, I found this post from July 2, 2009, that said almost exactly what I had just written. Here are some bits and pieces.
I’ll come right out and say it: I’m sick of learning shit.

Every new purchase—whether it’s a TV, cell phone, or coffee maker—comes with a 100-page user’s manual. No more simply plugging stuff in and turning it on. Part of the reason I don’t buy anything is because I dread the accompanying learning curve; it’s not good for my blood pressure. I have all the patience in the world for people, but I could take a friggin’ hammer to a machine that doesn’t do what I want it to do.

I don’t know about you, but I am really starting to feel overwhelmed by technology... Because I’m self-publishing my book, I have a ton to learn. There’s new software to understand, and now that I have my own publishing company, there are the nuts and bolts of setting up and maintaining a business. I also need to create a website I can sell books from and figure out how to get the thing in e-book and Kindle formats. I’ll also want to create an audio version. I don’t minding learning that stuff—that’s all aligned with my goal of getting my book out to you. But even so, I just want to learn it once and be done with it. Don't tell me the software I just spent two weeks learning is now antiquated.

I sound old, don’t I? I don’t care (as long as I don’t look old).
Sad to say, there hasn't been much growth in the past year and a half.  I've been living with Mike for two months now, and I still have to call for him to work the goddamn TV.  It's connected to an X-Box and I'm like Tommy the Pinball Wizard pushing every button until by some chance I've hit the right combo that will bring me to the E! channel or The Joy Behar Show.

I have NO songs on my iPhone. I never had an iPod or MP3 player. I know it's great to have all your music on there, but in case you haven't picked up on the theme of this post, I'm in no mood to learn new stuff. Mike's a techno-genius and would be happy to set me up; I just have to give him the word, and I haven't yet. Hell, I've had my Scion since April 2 and I have yet to figure out the cruise control.  I suck.

Maybe I'm still burned out because of all I had to learn to publish my book. But I need to get with it. I need to get my book on Kindle and other electronic formats, and damn, that means there's some learning to do. Yep, those are goals on my plan for 2011, and I want to accomplish them sooner rather than later.

What you resist will persist.

No more resisting.  Having an e-book available is important to me.  It's not going to happen without effort on my part.  Okay, I'm putting it in writing:  by next Thursday, I will have formatted Bastard Husband: A Love Story into an electronic product.  Somehow.

How about you?  Anything you've been putting off that you want to proclaim you'll finally get done?  Are you embracing technology any better?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Heading back to Vegas after quality time with friends and family

Today I'm flying back to Las Vegas after two and a half weeks of having fun with friends and family here in Albany. It was wonderful to see everyone, and I cherish every minute I'm with my kids and grandchildren.  Did you see this picture of Hazel and her Mini-Me that I posted on Facebook?  She is so freakin' cute, and I'm not just saying that because I'm her grandmother. You can't tell from this picture, but Hazey's eyes are just as blue as the doll's.

So you know my 12-year-old grandson, Connor, and I love to watch movies together, right? Of course given my antics over the summer, he prefers we enjoy a film from the comfort of the living room, where I’d be scolding only family members who talk, not complete strangers. 

Anyway, remember Planes, Trains and Automobiles? I gave Connor the DVD for Christmas and we watched it together last Saturday night. As he took it out of the case he said, “Hey, Granny, did you know this is rated R?” I couldn’t imagine why, until we got to this classic scene at the rental car counter where Steve Martin lets the F-bomb rip about a hundred times in a minute.

Connor thought it was hysterical and hit the rewind button over and over, and then went back to that scene after the movie was over. Yep, that’s what grandmotherly bonding memories are made of. I love that kid.

I'm so happy for Hurricane Mikey; seems like he's having a blast with his family.  I can totally understand why he's taking some time off from blogging--when I was in Albany for the summer, I was having so much fun (on top of working full-time) that it was hard to maintain my regular posting schedule.  You may remember my recent post, "When life is good, is it less interesting?" in which I mentioned I wrote Bastard Husband during the most miserable period of life.  But when times are good... well, I guess we're better off living them than writing about them.

Times are good for me right now.  I'm in love, I get to work from home, and believe it or not, my hair hasn't been sucking quite as loudly these days.  Maybe because I'm growing it out a little or maybe it's a Christmas miracle.

Or maybe my eyesight is going.  I do think I get better looking every day, you know. (What an a-hole, right?)

Anyway, I'll continue blogging even though I'm happy as hell and I'll try to make it as interesting as I can.  Just forgive me when I become a typical granny showing off my babies.

(Connor's shirt is folded over, but wouldn't it be funny as hell if it said, "Proud to be Awesone"?  Ha!)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

An important message from Hurricane Mikey

I'll let my friend Mikey's message speak for itself.  I know I speak for everyone when I say we wish him all the best, from the bottom of our hearts.

Dear Linda Lou fans--

As I'm sure you're aware, for the past 36 hours or so nobody has been able to access my site, It was not an accident, I purposely blocked access to it on Tuesday afternoon. No, there's nothing wrong at all, and all is well on the home front. But having spent almost eight years now blogging (don't forget the *original* hurricanemikey site), I think it's time to get away for awhile.

First of all, there are the obvious privacy issues--more and more people out there know too much about me, and not all of them are honorable. So they aren't going to be a bother anymore.

Also, since I left Vegas and moved to Nashville, my life is completely different. Out there, I worked about 20 hours a week and made a decent living, giving me tons of free time to goof off. Choosing not to indulge in all the temptations that Vegas had to offer, that gave me even more time to fill, especially since all of my friends worked different shifts at odd hours. So I had lots and lots of time to write about whatever popped into my head--usually Vegas or poker related, although some popular culture and food/restaurant stuff made the occasional appearance. My keyboard was my creative outlet.

But now that I'm here in Tennessee, surrounded by family and friends, I really don't have much free time on my hands anymore--even though I'm still not working full time. My evenings and weekends are full of activities and goofing off with the sibs, and I started to realize that they deserve some privacy too. Nobody needs to track their movements via my website. Besides, when I'm busy with them, which seems like the case almost all of the time, I feel like sitting at the computer is a waste of time. There are plenty of other things I'd much rather be doing.

Also, since my close call in the hospital this past fall, my outlook on life has changed a bit, and I'm honestly not the same arrogant smartass party-animal drunkard that y'all used to know and love (and hate). I have different priorities now, and I'm still trying to find my 'voice', if you will. The things that appealed to me a year ago don't hold nearly the same interest, and I'm doing my best to try and be a better person in all kinds of different ways. And some good friends pointed out a few character flaws that I wasn't even aware of, which give me even more stuff to work on in my daily life. I'm trying to concentrate on the that nowadays.

I still like to write and I still want to maintain a blog, but right now, I think I just want to take some time off. My heart just isn't into it, and as I go back and read some of the stuff I've written lately, I can tell that I'm totally mailing it in on a lot of recent posts. That's no good--better to put out no product at all than to put out a shiatty one.

As the new year progresses, I'm just concentrating on getting myself together--working on my recovery, starting a new career, and enjoying the second chance that I've been given. I appreciate all of the readers who've enjoyed and commented on my stuff over the years, and I also very much appreciate all the people who hit the tip jar, sent stuff from the wishlist, or donated when it was needed--words alone cannot express my gratitude. It is very humbling to me whenever I think about it, and I feel truly blessed for all of the connections I've made and friendships that have been forged.

But I'm gonna go off the grid a little bit and go back to being a mostly-private person again. I'll be back someday--I don't know when, but this isn't a permanent thing.

A few housekeeping items:

*Everyone* been blocked from accessing my site--I will not be making any updates at all, not even super-secret ones for a handpicked inner-circle, which has been suggested. Even Linda Lou and the family are locked out. Basically the site is going into hibernation.

Also, I know some folks have suggested leaving it partially open so they can read the old Vegas trip reports and stuff, but I'm not going to do that either. Sorry, but I'd have to partition stuff and it's kind of a pain with the blogger software. It's just easier to lock it down and hide the key for awhile.

I won't be totally gone. I'll still be commenting on Linda's site on occasion, I may also pop into T2V here and there (although right now, I'm so over Vegas you have no idea...), and who knows where else I might pop up. Those of you who know of my current interests might find me in some of those topic-related forums out there in the wilds of the internet. Also, if anyone wants and/or needs a guest blogger for their own site, you can still reach me at mikey at hurricanemikey dot you-know-where.

For those of you who I've met personally and know personally, I'm on facebook, too. Send me a friend request if you want to still read whatever pops into my head on a daily basis. Other than that, I'm on sabbatical from the internet. I hope y'all understand.

It's been a good time,


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm not quite as together as I look

My last two posts would have you believe I know what I want and have every aspect of my life in order.  Yep, I'm one totally together chick.  Today's post is sure to blow that image to bits.

I'm been having a ball here in Albany, but man, I miss that boyfriend of mine.  I absolutely love being with him, plus one of the best things about living with someone again is that I no longer worry about dying alone. I don’t mean like 40 years from now; I mean like in the next week or two.

Let me explain. I'll start by making it clear that I'm not a hypochondriac. God knows I’m totally "all eyes on Linda," but trust me, I don't crave pity-based attention.  I once spent three nights in the hospital after major abdominal surgery and refused visitors the whole time. Seriously, I told my family that whoever visited me against my wishes would be cut right out of the will.  I simply don't need anyone seeing me without my lipstick and tiara.

No, I'm no hypochondriac, but I will admit to being an alarmist. A mild headache is not the remnants of a hangover, but an undiscovered brain tumor. A bad cold? Walking pneumonia. I once marched myself to Urgent Care and demanded that the physician on duty investigate the possibility that my stiff neck was a severe case of meningitis. He rolled his eyes and murmured something under his breath about hating the goddamn Internet.

I haven’t had one of those alarmist attacks in quite a while now. I remember the last time vividly--I had just finished super-cleaning my apartment, which involved moving heavy furniture, and I noticed I started to feel a little dizzy. A stroke, I concluded, and began a panicky mental scenario that went something like this:

What if I pass out and no one finds me for days? It's a good thing my apartment's clean. Should I refresh my makeup so when they find me I look halfway decent? Or maybe change into some "single girl" underwear in case the attending physician at the ER is cute? Should I turn on the TV so it looks like I was doing something other than just posing here waiting for certain death?

Am I hyperventilating? I should call somebody. I gotta save my cell minutes, though. It's 8:57. Can I wait three minutes? I should get a land line. OMG, just today someone at work was telling me that 911 can't find you from your cell phone. It’s a sign—just like I cleaned tonight so they would find me in tidy surroundings. Even when I was cleaning, I was thinking, why am I doing this? I’m not having company or anything. Now I know— I’m gonna die. Shit! Had I wish I hadn't paid 700 bucks for that stupid crown on my back molar.

You get the picture.  Crazy, huh?  And I have the nerve to tell people how to run their lives...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Guidelines for planning a fabulous 2011 (Part 2)

Is Hazel the most serious baby ever or what?  That picture cracks me up--wouldn't it make a great greeting card?

Anyway, here is the continuation of Thursday's post.  Identify goals for each of the areas identified below and then write up a plan listing the concrete steps you need to take to make it happen.

Relationships/social.  The folks you hang with have a tremendous impact on your character and how you live. Now is a good time to take inventory of the people in your life. Write down the names of those who lift your spirits, motivate or inspire you, crack you up, or make you feel better about yourself. We all have friends who support you to no end--they're almost like fans.  How can you spend more time with them? Would any of them make a great fitness buddy? Make a plan to work on your health and fitness goal together.

On the other hand, you and I both know some "friends" can sap every friggin' ounce of your strength. Maybe they're perpetually negative, whiny, or can't get past their own personal "woe is me." If someone insists on using you as a sounding board for their neverending bitch-fests, do yourself a favor and ease away. Your time is valuable and is better spent elsewhere.

Maybe you'd like to expand your social circle. Go to and browse through the groups in your area that match your interests. Commit to attending one of their meetings--that's a sure way to meet people with interests similar to yours. (BTW, I met Mike through the Henderson Writers Group.)

Is there a person at work you’ve been wanting to get to know better? Or maybe someone you don't really know, but have admired from afar? Ask him or her out to lunch or for a cup of coffee.

I think the very best way to meet new people is to go someplace by yourself. See a band, browse through Barnes and Noble, bring your laptop to Starbucks or Panera Bread... strike up a conversation with someone and you never know what will happen!

If you're lucky enough to have a partner in a love relationship, think of how you can strengthen your bond.  What can you do to surprise and delight him or her?  The element of surprise adds spice!  Plan for a long romantic weekend--and don't forget to put it on your calendar.

Spiritual.  What can you do for your soul in 2011? While you're making new friends in Barnes and Noble, look for books that might inspire you and feed your spirit. (What? You haven't read Bastard Husband yet? What the hell are you waiting for?)

Maybe this is the year you check out a church you've been curious about. Or why not work on mind and body together and sign up for a yoga class? 

Nothing feeds the spirit more than being of service to others. Maybe this is the year you commit to doing volunteer work.  Don't save the "surprise and delight" strategy for your romantic partner--think of simple things you can do to surprise and delight a special friend, elderly relative, or the stranger sitting across from you in the coffee shop.

Purchases and possessions.  Make a list of the purchases you need to make in the next year.  Mark your calendar for when you intend to buy them.  You should already have some plans on your calendar by now; are these purchases still feasible?  How important are they?

I live by one rule when it comes to buying stuff:  I buy only the things I truly need or that bring me joy.  That is so important!  Whenever you're ready to buy something, ask yourself, "Do I really need this?" and "Does it bring me joy?"  A yes answer to either question is a green light.  A no answer is a signal to walk away.

Think about what can you buy that will raise your standards.  It's important to raise your standards; when you do this, your overall energy is raised, including the way you think about yourself.  This affects how you present yourself to the world, which affects how the world treats you.  I'm off on a tangent now; this is a topic for another post.  But I will tell you my life has rocked out ever since I bought my new Scion and my iPhone.  That thing has changed my life!   So if you watch TV every day and TV is an important part of your life, buy yourself a good TV.  You may not need it, but it will bring you joy!

Financial.  Set some realistic financial goals and write down the steps you'll need to take to achieve them.  Are you willing to work toward a promotion or take a part-time job?  Watch every cent you spend; write down where your money goes, even if for just one week.

Look for places you can cut back.  Are you paying for things that don't bring you joy?  Are you paying a cell phone or car insurance bill for a kid out of college?  It's time for that little angel to freakin' grow up!  Ask for their contribution or tell them they're on their own.  Can you cut back or get rid of cable and subscribe to  Netflix instead?  Can you share an account with someone?

Remember Purgefest 2010 when I got rid of three quarters of the shit I owned?  I've never missed it!  You'll be surprised at what you're hanging on to for no good reason.  Getting rid of crap is liberating--mark your calendar for when you'll go through each room and closet.  Sell everything you don't need or that doesn't bring you joy on eBay or Craigslist.  If you can't sell it, give it to Goodwill or post it for free on Craigslist.  By doing this, you'll either make a few bucks or lift your spirit by helping someone in need.  If you're not using it and if it doesn't bring you joy, recycle it to the universe.

I have a lot more to say; this topic is way too big for two posts.  At any rate, I hope this gets you started.  Now get planning!