You can take a look

Since people have asked if they could check out the new website that I write for, I guess I will give you the website: Boxoffice. I will be contributing different types of writing, but right now I am covering the Arab Film Festival and if you click on that you will see some short blogs. I will add more the rest of the week, and I am off to see another film in an hour or so.

Hope you enjoy!

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News Updates

  • One of the most popular WordPress blogs has been a blog of cat pictures
  • Britney Spears was told she couldn’t be near her kids until she wears underwear– apparently her boys keep taking off their diapers.
  • David Copperfield is trying to make the FBI disappear but so far he has only able to turn them into rabbits.
  • I’m writing regularly for a movie website — and for money too!
  • No sport’s figures are in the headlines this week for drugs or cheating
  • The Presidential candidates have narrowed down to only 35
  • Smoking has been linked to cigarette breath
  • A New York minute consists of 60 seconds

What makes me laugh

If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been blogging as much as I normally do. I’ve been watching too much tv I must confess. Well, that and writing and yelling at my computer, and working, and raising 3 kids, and eating. I should be reading more, I know, but I like to laugh and the Fall always brings with it some new comedy shows that I feel obliged to watch. I haven’t been laughing too much at the shows though.

On the screen (the little one that comes with reasonably priced popcorn) there are a few interesting, sorta funny new shows. Gone are the days when sitcom on television meant real laughter (goodbye Friends, Seinfeld, Arrested Development), now is the age of the almost-funny.

 First of all,  I will give 3 laughs to 30 Rock which has done a good job at making me smile all the time and laugh 78.9% of the time. 30 Rock isn’t new this season though so back to the new shows. After hearing that Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) was back on tv in a new show with Patricia Heaton (Everyone Love’s Raymond) I got my hopes up for Back to You. It has been humorous.  Heaton and Grammer have great comedic timing so that helps where the writing misses.  It’ not hilarious, but most shows aren’t the first season. You have to give the cast time to gel or fall apart.

After Back To You is ’til Death. This show tries hard to be funny. It knocks on the door to funny, but just never crosses the threshold. I’ve tried it and I’m gonna have to spend those 30 minutes reading from now on.

The previews of Samantha Who? starring Christina Applegate, looked interesting, so I was hopeful when I sat down on my butt next to my husband with my bowl of ice cream (very small bowl).  I have to say the writing was good, and I think it has potential. I don’t know how they can keep the idea going on–woman has amnesia doesn’t remember her life–will she eventually remember more things and then die a slow death? It was the most watched new comedy according to ABC, but I think it was because there were so many viewers watching the Dances with the Stars show.  Okay, since I mentioned Dances with the Stars I have to ask, why do people watch this show? Why? Is Dances with the Stars the Baby Boomer’s version of The Lawrence Welk Show?  It did make me laugh a couple of times when I watched it once and then my husband explained it wasn’t a comedy.

I must confess, the thing that makes me laugh the most right now is a radio commercial. I can’t even tell you what it is for — because it’s not very effective at selling but it makes me smile every time I hear it. It uses this voice that sounds like the Texas Instruments Speak and Spell toy I owned when I was in elementary school. You know that computer voice?  If you don’t know what I am talking about you must click on those links, and if you do remember you still should click on those links to remind yourself why you can’t spell.

I read an article somewhere that said that it is harder to get women to laugh than men. I don’t know if that is true. I am curious, have any of you seen these shows? No, my readers are too sophisticated for television. If you happen to have accidentally watched one or two –I would like to hear your opinion.

Slow Motion

When I was in elementary school it was funny to pretend we were moving in slow motion. I still do it only no one laughs. Some things are funnier when you are 9 years old. Lately, I feel as though my computer is running in slow motion. It’s because my computer is running in slow motion. 

A couple of weeks ago I got a warning on my notebook that said the fan was not working. Given the age of my notebook (4 1/2 years), the typical lifespan of a laptop/notebook (3 years), the cost to repair the fan, and the balance in our checkbook, we have decided we need to try to keep the one fan notebook living for a bit longer. Which means we have become the other fan. Everyday, we have to spray dust off all over the computer and tell her we still love her. We need to diligently watch her for any hot flashes and reboot her occasionally. Here is how hard it is to work on ‘ole Nellie:

7:00 am — turn on Nellie notebook

7:15 am — close all error messages and check e-mails.

7:30 am — read e-mails and re-boot if necessary

7:45 am — attempt to write something funny

8:00 am — still attempting to write something funny

8:15 am — spray Nellie with Dust-off and tell her I love her, disconnect from internet

8:30 am — wait to connect to internet again

8:45 am — attempt to write something funny again

9:00 am — make some tea

9:15 am — eat chocolate

9:30 am — try again tomorrow

Needless to say, Nellie is moving slower everyday and those hot flashes are more frequent. I think in order to keep sane, my writing is going to have to produce some green (or blue, red, silver — I’ll take foreign money too–well, Euros, Swiss Francs and British Pounds) so that we can lay Nellie to rest, and buy a young and fast computer.  

Writer Scammed!

It was an opportunity to write a couple of magazine articles. A chance to have a couple clips. I didn’t know I’d be celebrating the coming of fall by emailing the authorities about a scam. I thought I was getting published.

 

I frequent a website that has a job board. The website is a great website; however, they don’t check out all the jobs so there is no guarantee on the quality of the jobs.

 

One day I decided to send some writing samples to a publisher that was publishing some new magazines. I got a response telling me that I should send my samples to another person. I sent them off. This person responded with an attachment with a list of magazines they were to launch and the articles needed for these magazines. She said I could write about anything I wanted to, but they were launching on September 20th and needed the articles in 3 days. This is when I should have realized that something wasn’t quite right. I should have, but I didn’t.

 

I looked through the choices, and picked three magazines. I emailed my contact at the publisher and told her I would write three articles, one for each magazine I chose. She said that she had the articles for one of the choices, but she would gladly take my other two submissions by the following Monday night. What magazine lets you write whatever you want to write about and accepts the articles without reading them? Yes, this should have been my other warning!

 

She emailed me a contract stating that if my articles were assigned (which they were) I would be paid by publication date on September 20, 2007 by certified check. The pay was much less than average magazine articles so that is probably why I thought it was legit – in other words, it didn’t sound too good to be true.

 

I worked hard all weekend on my two articles. I had my husband proofread many times; I proofread and made sure I followed the contract directions exactly. By Sunday night, I was pleased with my work and was looking forward to seeing my articles in the magazines. I sent in my articles, and received an email from my contact that she had gotten my articles and thanked me for sending them in before the deadline.

 

A couple of days later I decided to do a search on Laray Carr Publications. I had done one previously and nothing had turned up. Yes, that should have been another warning, but I thought they were so new they hadn’t gotten it up yet. This time I found some information on a couple of writer’s blogs concerning Laray Carr. A few writers were voicing their concern that it was a scam. A consultant commented on one of the blogs that she was familiar with the publisher and said that they were new in the business and she had recommended that they not try to publish so many magazines at once. She also recommended a printing house for them. She dismissed the claims and said, as I thought, why would anyone go to such lengths to scam writers? Although there were some crazy things going on it still seemed more logical that they were disorganized rather than corrupt.

 

As it neared September 20th, more information started to be written on the blogs. Other writers had emailed the publisher asking more questions about the pay. They were told that the launch was moved to October. When asked about when we would get paid, they were told they would find out later. More and more people started commenting on blogs that they had worked for Laray Carr but hadn’t gotten paid. Graphic artists admitted to creating mock covers for a website with stock photography or pictures stolen from other magazines.

 

All writers received a notice on September 25, 2007 stating that all articles were going to be rejected and no one would be paid. By then, I wasn’t too surprised; I knew I had been duped when the other people came into the conversation on the blogs.

 

The consultant that had been defending Laray Carr was hired to help them out of their big mess, but was now starting to be concerned. She asked for everyone who had been hurt by the publisher to send her an email and she would go to the owner herself with the information. I sent an email to her, and a couple of days later she confirmed that they were indeed not planning on paying anyone that had worked on the “publications”. She said that she had heard from so many people and none of them had been paid, some having worked for weeks on projects. After collaborating with these people she found out that it was a 1 man scam operation. The scam wasn’t intended to scam writers as much as advertisers out of their money. She ended the email with a letter for us to write and send to the FBI and Texas authorities. Needless to say, I won’t be seeing a dime.

 

Here I was trying to publish a couple of articles and end up writing a letter to the FBI. Isn’t life interesting? Warning and moral of this story: writer’s, artist, etc. beware. Do not work for anyone with the name of: Laray Carr Publications, Quincy Carr, Roger Owen, David Person, Dean Person, LCP, LC Publications, CMC Group or LC Media.

 

 

        

Four Eyes

When I was in 8th grade I had to get glasses. Apparently most people could see the leaves on the trees, but I couldn’t. My mom and older siblings said it was because I had watched too much television. They said the last 3 kids watched more television than the first 5 kids, and they were the only ones who needed glasses; therefore, it was the result of watching too much television. I’m not so sure if I agree with this theory. It might explain why we’re stupid, but I don’t know if it has anything to do with nearsightedness.

Glasses in the 80’s were hideous. No one wore glasses as an accessory, they were big and ugly. I wore my glasses for about a week and then begged my mom to let me try contact lenses. She eventually relented, and I could see the leaves again.

I wore contact lenses ever since then. I’ve had moments when I needed to weare my glasses, but for the most part I only wore them at home. A few months ago I got some new glasses. For the first time I actually like my glasses,  and wear them when I want to look smart. I think I’m wearing them in my “About” page. I wanted to look like a writer and thought the glasses helped.

Now you know why I sometimes wear my glasses. So, you ask, why don’t you wear them all of the time? Well, I’m glad you asked.

  1. Shower shaving. You can’t wear glasses in the shower, so when I’m wearing my glasses I have to shave blind. Do you know how scary it is searching for your limbs with a sharp instrument?
  2. Sunshine. I get headaches very quickly from the bright glare of the sun and must wear sunglasses. I didn’t pay for the prescription sunglasses so I put my sunglasses on top of my glasses–very attractive. It’s not that big of a deal when I’m driving in my car, but when I forget and go into a store wearing 2 pairs of glasses people look at me.
  3. Morning. I hate waking up in the morning and not being able to see the alarm clock. I try to squint, but that only brings the wall slightly into focus and increases wrinkles. So I have to search for my glasses and knock everything off of my table just to find out that I have 10 more minutes of silence.
  4. Baking. Have you ever opened a hot oven with glasses on? Here you are with 400 degrees blowing in your face and you can’t see to get out grandma’s winning struddle.
  5. Vanity. Yes, I think I am prettier without them and well, I’m afraid of getting called four-eyes.

There are some days that I try to give people the impression that I have a brain and put on my glasses. I have learned not to shave on those days to avoid having to sop up any blood.