Monday, November 1, 2010

Nanowrimo 2010

To anyone who has ever dreamed of being a novelist, November is a month to remember. Crazy people around the world (kids and adults) will shirk many of their normal responsibilities for the sole purpose of writing an entire novel in a mere 30 days. If this sounds like fun to you, head over to to find out more. Sign up, lock your inner editor in the closet, and let your imagination fly free.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pay more with Payless

I just posted this review elsewhere, and since this company really pissed me off, am, of course, spreading it around as much as possible. We're leaving for another week in Vegas this evening, and will NOT be renting from Payless.

Here is the text of the review:

Pay more with Payless

We recently had a negative experience with this company while vacationing in Las Vegas, NV. At first, everything went smoothly. We got a reasonable price quote ($148 for a week rental of a small car). Check-in went quickly and the rep was friendly. The car was nothing fancy, but was adequate for our needs.

However, it was when we returned the car that the true character of this company was revealed. We checked the car in and noticed that we had been charged THREE TIMES the original quote. While I realize that taxes and other charges are added to the original quote, we were dismayed at the extent of the extra charges. We went from a quote of $148 to a reality of $598.

We asked the young man who checked in our car about the charges and he directed us to customer service. Though we had declined the daily insurance (we have our own, plus the coverage through American Express), it had been added to our bill anyway. My husband was pretty upset and argued the charges with the clerk. She called a supervisor, who eventually showed up, glanced at our bill for a couple of seconds, and told us that we had already been charged and, further, that the extra charges, "are your own fault because you didn't read the contract carefully enough."

Payless employees were friendly and helpful until we actually needed some help. When a problem arose, all thought of customer service went right out the window, unless of course, YOUR idea of customer service is, "Bend over a little further so we can REALLY service you."

We are disputing the charge with our credit card and will NEVER do business with this company again.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Target Women: Yogurt

Another funny clip from Sarah Haskins. "Yogurt is the official food of women."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Roller Derby - How to Skate Sideways

Another skill I am dying to learn to do--skating sideways. I've seen other skaters do it and of course they all make it look easy. First, I need to figure out how to get my body to stand this way OFF skates! Learning new skills is one of my biggest motivators to keep attending practice every week.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Roller Derby - How to do a leg whip

Ah...the leg whip. This is the skill I am currently determined to master. Perhaps not all that practical during a close bout, but certainly a crowd pleaser. Bonnie D. Stroir of the San Diego Derby Dolls (one of my many derby idols) demonstrates proper form.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cleaning: Target Women

Target Women was a show featuring Sarah Haskins satirizing the way advertisers manipulate us to buy stuff. This is one of my favorite clips from the segment about how cleaning gets equated with romance and/or sex. This is the quote that made me laugh so hard I snorted: "Now, remember, if you're giving your bathtub spout a hand job, it doesn't add to your number."

Friday, June 11, 2010

BP Spills Coffee

I ran across this video during my morning internet surf. The BP oil spill is a tragic disaster that will have far-reaching consequences for the environment and everyone and everything in it. Like any effective piece of satire, this is extremely funny, but also makes you think about a serious issue. As you're laughing, and maybe crying, think about the greedy profits-first mentality that allowed this to happen. THEN think about how our own actions contributed and what we can do to help fix it. For example, I've heard a lot of outraged people talking about boycotting BP, which punishes local business owners and really does nothing to BP itself. Getting your gas from a different place (Exxon, perhaps...remember them?) changes nothing. Riding your bike to work (or otherwise reducing your gasoline consumption), demanding renewable energy, using less plastic--these are things everyone can do that MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

So, join me in laughing at the pure idiocy of the corporate mentality and then add a few environmentally friendly habits to your own life.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Geek Humor: Librarians Go Gaga

Who better to make a parody of a Lady Gaga song than a bunch of librarians? I found this hilarious!

Librarians Go Gaga

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

SNL - Golden Girls Remix

Tonight some skaters from another league joined our practice, partly to see what we're all about and partly to help us improve what we are already doing. It's always a blast to skate with new people because you learn so much and it just injects practice with a shot of energy.

I wanted to post a video of the new fall we practiced, the figure four, but, alas, no videos are available yet. Apparently, the fall we have been calling a baseball slide is actually called something else and the figure four fall is what WFTDA considers a baseball slide.

Confusing? Oh, yeah. But it's something new to practice and I think everyone had a pretty good start by the time we moved on to whips. We also got some solid technique tips and I'll be adding whips to our practice plan more regularly now that I have a better understanding of how to do them effectively. Tried a belt whip for the first time tonight and couldn't believe how much faster I was able to go.

Plan B for tonight's post...

In case you missed Betty White on SNL a few weeks ago, take a look at this tribute to The Golden Girls. Make sure you watch to the end, because it really gets good when Betty starts to thrash.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cheerios Roller Derby TV Commercial

I realize that not everyone is excited about roller derby becoming part of the mainstream, but this commercial, with it's taste of derby on a non-practice night, cheered me up.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Roller Derby Explained

I just love this animated video, created by the Gem City Rollergirls, that clearly explains the basics of roller derby. Check it out.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

"I Can! I Have! I Will! I Am!" by Bunnie Low-Browski

I just read an inspiring article in the Spring 2010 issue of USARS Magazine. Derby girl Bunnie Low-Browski writes about the transformation many of us experience after derby gets its hooks in us. That same increase in self-confidence that has worked its way into my own life as I have come to not only embrace my inner bad-ass, but also to let her out to play in the non-derby aspects of my life.

The first quote that caught my eye was this: "Who is this sporty revolutionary you've become?....She smells like sweat and she isn't apologizing for her matted hair....Before we know it, roller derby has changed us, blossomed us into tall and proud battalions." I saw my first derby bout and knew I had to be a part of it. I was a dedicated couch potato with absolutely no skating ability who joined a local league as a fresh meat skater, wobbling around, shaky as a newborn lamb and scared to death of falling down. After a year and a half of working hard learning how to skate, but still sitting on the sidelines, I finally made it onto the bout roster. I wasn't the best or most aggressive skater, and I fell down A LOT. But every time I got back up, I got a little more of that "I Can! I Have! I Will! I Am!" that Bunnie talks about.

Bunnie goes on to say that the way to keep this growth coming and to move from whiner to warrior is to practice positive thinking. Just as we improve our physical endurance, strength, and agility by spending time working out, on skates and off, we also need to exercise the parts of our brains that keep us motivated and positive. Not only should we be, but we ARE "...stronger and smarter than those thoughts that try to cripple us."

So, the next time you start to hear those voices in your head that tell you you're not strong enough, smart enough, good enough--WHATEVER--shut them up by taking Bunnie's advice: "You have to be your own number one biggest fan and you have to do it now and every day." If you fall, get back up; revel in the kind of inner strength and confidence that only comes when you struggle past your limits and discover that "I Can! I Have! I Will! I Am!"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Zombie Haiku: Good Poetry for Your...Brains by Ryan Mecum

The story of an average guy who keeps a journal of his poetry intended to celebrate the beauty around him. Before long, though, his journal is about his zombie "life"--told in haiku. I'm using some examples to teach my students about haiku. And all I have to do to get their undivided attention is to say, "Oh, this next one is gross. Cover your ears if that will make you uncomfortable." Who says poetry has to be about rainbows and butterflies?

A few of my favorites:

little old ladies
speed away in their wheelchairs,
frightened meals on wheels.

Biting into heads
is much harder than it looks.
His skull is feisty.

I lap around blocks.
The city, an empty plate,
has been licked clean.

Her tongue can't form words,
although it's still wiggling
when it's in my hand.

I need to slow down.
It's hard, when eating fingers,
to tell whose hand's whose.

Zombie fans will eat this one up.