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November 2013

#NaNoWriMo -- Here we go!

Before you have a first baby, you get kind of lazy. You start nesting, watching daytime television, eating for two...this is all done subconsciously. This is because instinctively, somewhere in the back of your mind, you understand that taking a luxurious shower will soon become a luxury.

This is why I haven't gotten anything done this week on my WIP. Because I know, tomorrow starts national novel writing month and I'm going to go for it. I'm going to finish the fourth Ashley Stockingdale novel in the month of November. Yes, it will be a skeleton version. I'll have to go back in and add humor and layers, but I'm totally ready for the challenge.

I've got buddies on the program -- because they apparently figured out the website better than I did. And I have 12,553 words to start with -- I'm not sure how many of those words are usable, but I'm hoping at least 8k.

So I may get quiet. You, who have been nagging me for 8 years for a new Ashley book, this upcoming silence is for you!

First though, I'm going to continue the slothful streak and answer the door for Halloween while I watch the Ghost Adventures Crew live in Vlad the Impaler's Castle.

EDIT: Did not enjoy Vlad. Way too dark for my tastes!

For those out there joining me, woohoo! Here we go!

Interest in the Humanities Fade...Colleges Worry

This is a great article about the demise of the humanities in colleges. Stanford is one of the schools that is worrying. And they should. Stanford is about $60k a year. Or $240k for a degree. (That's about as much math as you're going to get out of me.)

What job are you going to get in the arts at this point that makes that education worth your time and that kind of money? I'm sure there are SOME. Are there enough to employ an entire year's worth of graduates? Unlikely. They will take their $240k education and probably start at Starbucks and do their "art" as a hobby.

The Arts aren't going away. We will always need it, the cream will always rise to the top. But if you're going to Stanford, you're used to being at the top of your game. What happens when you graduate and find your value is not that much improved by your expensive education?

STEM education is pushed here in the Valley so heavily, I feel like the kids aren't learning writing well enough to argue their way out of a paper bag. Regardless of your math prowess, you still need to be able to communicate and express oneself.

I have one son who has a physics' brain, but he hates school. I talked to my dad about maybe getting him into the HVAC union (that's what my dad did) and how he'd go about it. Because my son is a hard worker and he just GETS how things work, I think he'd be perfect for this job. My dad said that the program used to be available in high schools. Is it still?

Um, no. Because high schools today believe everyone is going to college, that they MUST go to college. But if there are no jobs AFTER college offering a salary that makes the education affordable, what's the point? Colleges should be worried. Graduates are onto them.

Anyway, interesting read:



My daughter has been begging me for a song, "Gas Pedal." She said, "Please Mom, I'll buy the clean version."

Okay, right there, it's a no, am I right? Tonight, she's begging me, and I tell her it's the last time, don't ask again...the answer is no.

Then, I get a phone call from her brother at college. "Hey Mom," he says. "They had a Sage the Gemini concert for Halloween on the field tonight."

"A what?"

It turns out, "Sage the Gemini" is the group that sings that song I've been denying my daughter. So while I'm telling her no, my other child is attending their concert. And something tells me, they didn't perform the "clean" version at the school. Irony!

As Bridget Jones would say, "I'm a rubbish mother."


Teen Pick-up Lines

My kids had a Halloween party tonight. Okay, I wasn't eavesdropping, but they were talking LOUD.

Anyway, they were taking their turns trying out pick-up lines and here's my favorite:

"Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I walk by again?"

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She was a cute young girl who said it. I imagine that helps.

Martha Stewart Love

I just love Martha Stewart. Mostly because she has no idea she's nuts, and gives advice like the rest of us to listen to her like she's the voice of reason. This morning, as I'm flipping through my station, I hear her say that she has a sunlamp. (Creates false sunlight to give added Vitamin D and help with SAD in Winter Months.)

Martha has a sunlamp and she turns it on every morning for her red canaries. The lack of sunlight depresses her birds.


Does anyone think Martha's pet birds might live a better life than you?

What's the Most Famous Book Set in your State?

Mine is "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck and while it's not my favorite, I love the way he describes the hills of the Salinas Valley -- "Brown Grass Love" -- if you connect with the hills as I do, that is such a perfect description.

It's also about a dysfunctional family and a sociopath, so that works for California.


Maryland and Georgia have two of my favorites. Mississippi's just makes me sad. Hate Faulkner. Hate "The Sound and the Fury" -- which, incidentally, is Colin Firth's favorite book, so I knew that our love wasn't meant to be...

Proud of your state book?

Not So Mad About the Boy...

I'm really trying to read the new Bridget Jones's book, and you know what a fan I am of the first two, but I cannot get through it. I pick it up and quickly lose interest. I still love Helen Fielding's voice, but there's something cute about a 30-something Bridget that is not endearing at 51 with two kids.

She should have GROWN over the years, and quite frankly, seeing that she hasn't isn't cute. It's kind of sad. She's still obsessing about boys and texts. I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of energy.

My daughter went ballistic because her crush got an "Instagram!" She was dancing around here saying, "He got an Instagram! He got an Instagram!"

That's kind of how Bridget sounds -- only she's not 13.


I'm going to finish it, but I really am struggling. I think I'm only on page 50 or so, and I got it the day it came out. : ( I feel like I'm betraying Helen Fielding. And Bridget. But I guess she betrayed us by killing Darcy too. Oh Darcy excuse!


Game Stop & Customer Service

I'm not a gamer...but I play one on TV. No, really I just spend a lot of time at Game Stop because my boys are gamers. I'm telling you, if EVERY story had the customer service that Game Stop was, our economy would be thriving.

First off, Game Stop knows its customers and they know their products. They can really sell product because they believe in it. Assassin's Creed 4 came out last night at midnight. How do I know this? Because I was there, baby! My son was #4 in line. Before midnight, they have a "party" of sorts. They had cupcakes with pirate flags, prizes you could only win in the store. (Read: Collectibles) And you get to hang with fellow nerds.

Smart business, right? None of the employees seemed to mind being at the store at midnight. I'd be like, "You know, you can just pick it up in the morning. It's not like playing a day earlier is going to matter. Why don't you all go home and get a good night's rest?"

But they don't do that at Game Stop. They play up the excitement. I mean, my son has been waiting for this game for 8 months. I've been staring at Edward Kenway on his wall for that time. (If you put down $5 to preorder the game, you get a poster for that $5 and you're guaranteed a copy when it comes out.) Again, smart marketing to build up the desire, right?

This is Edward Kenway. I know this because I am a proud nerd mom.


Anyway, I'm always shocked at the customer service we get in Game Stop stores, and the knowledge those employees have on ALL of the games. (Because one son plays the Japanese games, so I see they speak that, too!) They really know the storylines for all the games and different platforms. That's amazing to me. Though I'm sure I could wow them with how I can tell if you're carrying a Prada or a Tory Burch.

For my troubles, I got a cupcake. I was happy with that. I waited in the car because no game nerd wants to be seen with his mom in Game Stop at midnight. I respect that. My son brought me a cupcake. It's "Assassin's Creed Black Flag" so my cupcake had a motif. My pic didn't come out all that well, but it was tasty.


What store do you appreciate the customer service in?