Sunday, January 30, 2011

Woodchucks Chucking Memories

As much as there are tons of TV commercials that make me cringe, there are also a lot of commercials that make me smile, chuckle and outright cackle with laughter. One of my absolute favorites is the HP eprint commercial of the baby scooting across the nation’s highways to the tune of Melanie Safka’s Brand New Key. Only people with hearts of stone can watch that commercial and not giggle.

Other favorites are the US Post Office commercial with the demonic clown toy and the Purina dog food commercial featuring older dogs.

My absolute favorite overall brand commercials are those done by Jack In The Box. Although I never eat at Jack In The Box, for years I've found their commercials pure genius. I especially loved the one where he visits his folks.

But the commercial I want to talk about today is one for Geico. It’s silly, even stupid, not particularly funny, and I find the pitch man on these commercials annoying. But, that said, this particular Geico commercial totally tugs my heart strings. Why? Because it reminds me of my father. It’s the one with the woodchucks throwing sticks of wood into a nearby lake while a farmer shakes his fist at them.

You see, when I was a very little girl, my father taught me the woodchuck ditty. And now, whenever I see that commercial, even though the sing-song little poem is not recited, I recite it in my head exactly as my father taught me over fifty years ago.

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

My father's birthday was in February and it was in February that he passed away eighteen years ago, but I hear his voice every time those woodchucks start chucking that wood.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Little Whine, Hold the Cheese

Today’s one of those days when I wish I could split myself in two. I am so busy at the law firm, I’m working 10-11 hours a day. At home, a manuscript deadline is coming at me like a train on a dark and deserted railroad crossing and I’m the damsel in distress tied up like a rump roast and sprawled across the tracks waiting for the impact.

I’m the size of two people, so why can’t I simply separate myself down an imaginary dotted line. Half of me can shower and dress and go to work while the other half remains in my jammies glued to the keyboard at home.

Why, because which half would get which limbs? Would my right brain stay home and my left brain go to the office? Since I’m right handed, would there be a bidding war for my right hand and the loser gets the left? I use my legs more at the office, running up and down the hallways to the copy room, kitchen, attorney offices – stuff like that. But what about my big ole ass? It’s needed in both places, though the writer side definitely uses it more. After all, I type better sitting down. Hmm, I think I could do with one cheek in each place.

It’s a conundrum.

Alas, whining won’t get me anywhere, nor will it get me showered and dressed and off to work where a big client meeting awaits for today. Nor will whining get another page or two completed on my current work in progress before I leave.

But it felt soooooo good. I had to voice my frustration at juggling so much in so little time. And, oh yeah, I forgot, beginning in February, I’ll be adding book promotion for Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini to my To Do List, including out-of-town travel.

It will all get done. I know it will. I have confidence in my abilities and, more importantly, in my tenacity. The manuscript for Granny Apples #3 is coming along nicely, if not as fast as I’d like, and the work at the office is also getting done. Both have deadlines that cannot be missed and will not be missed. When I am gasping for air and entertaining the idea of giving up, I will dig deep and call on my reserves like an Iron Man competitor in the last five miles of the run. I did the freaking Mud Run – dammit – I can do this.

Okay, my rant is over. At least that’s all the time I can afford.  I gave it the few minutes originally slotted for breakfast.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blatant Self Poisoning?

Yes, there is such a thing and I'm discussing it over at Inkspot today.  A must read for any author pushing his or her own book.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Dream Continues to Be Important, More Than Ever

I have a lot on my plate this weekend, but I want to make sure I stop in all the hubbub to remember why I have three days off in the middle of January.

This weekend we celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday. Dr. King had a dream, a dream that one day we would all put aside our differences and live together in harmony and equality. We're not there yet, and there are still those who would fight against such a lofty and beautiful idea, but there has definitely been progress since 1963 when Dr. King marched on Washington and delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech.  I was 10 years old at the time.

The speech itself is about equality for African Americans, but today its hope and message have taken on a global meaning. As technology has turned the world into a village, and we are exposed to activities and actions as they happen, both joyful and horrific, it is more important than ever that we not be judged by the color of our skin (or by our religion or nationality or political beliefs, or even by the size of our body or the size of our bank account) but by the content of our character.

In this busy weekend, take a moment to read Dr. King's speech. I do every year just to remind myself that I have a duty to uphold and further it.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

My Name Is Sue Ann and I am an iPhone-aholic.

I confess, I’m starting to worry about being addicted to my iPhone4. I went from an old, barely working Motorola Razor to the iPhone a few months ago. A new phone was definitely on my list of things I needed and intended to buy before the end of the year. In fact, it was right up at the top, along with new bras and a new vacuum. Before making the purchase, I did my research about its features. I talked to friends who had them. Poked at them at the phone store. Even studying the list of its failings didn’t deter me.

Okay, so now I’ve had this thing for about 2 months and have firmly decided that I need a 12-step program. Thing is, I don’t want one.

I LOVE MY PHONE.

Is that wrong?

Getting and making calls on it seems to be an afterthought. I read books on the Kindle app. Put my grocery list on the notes app. Watch my calories on a diet app. Monitor my calendar. Take photos and videos. I check the weather, my bank account, Facebook, Twitter, TV listings, play games, look up addresses and maps, surf the web, and even use the timer on the clock feature when I cook. I haven’t even used the iPod feature yet. I do everything on it but write my books.  It has become an appendage. How did I ever live without it before?

At work, so many of us were getting fancy phones, they allowed us to turn in our office-assigned Blackberrys and the office piggy-backed onto our personal phones. So now instead of two devices, I only have to carry one and they subsidize it. Another win. And I’m better connected to the firm when I’m out of the office because I find it easier to use.

Recently my pal Miles and I went to brunch. When we got to the restaurant, it was closed for the holiday week. As soon as one said to the other “where to now?” we each pulled out our iPhones and searched for another place to have brunch. (Miles was much quicker on the draw, but he’s had his longer.)

A lot of the phone companies have released smart phones and they all look to be about the same – indispensable.

Recently, I also upgraded my computer. I haven’t even scratched the surface of what it can do, but I’m sure I’ll find it as intriguing as the iPhone. I’ll start seriously digging into it after my deadline on March 1st.

Looking around, my eyes rest on my 18-year-old TV. Hmmm. It’s looking a bit shabby next to the new electronics in the apartment, don’t ya think?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

I'm Sorry Joyce Kilmer

This week our assignment over at the Criminal Minds blog was to express our New Year's resolutions through poetry. 

With sincere apologies to Joyce Kilmer, and the world of poetry in general, I give you Trees Don't Need No Stinkin' Deadlines.