Wednesday, June 30, 2010

50 Followers - Well, Almost

Today (more on that later), I have some more exciting (to me) news. I am "officially" at 48 followers. Now some of you may be wondering why I didn't just save this news till I actually hit 50.

The reason for that is because I don't know when I'll hit the magic 5-0 and 48 is so close especially when it dove-tails with the other milestone I just mentioned yesterday of reaching my 75th post.

In a "brief" aside, I italicized yesterday because as I said in my first words of this post 'Today (more on that later)' my best laid plans to post at exactly 1:00am today were foiled by a "blogger glitch".

It time-stamps the original "save now" and the actual time on the post as two different times.

These times are only one to two minutes apart but it makes a difference when you are as "anal" about patterns and "parallelism" as I am. I wanted all my posts to be on the same day since they would basically be anyway. Oh well.

Deep calming breaths. LOL.

Well, so much for a brief aside as well. Anyway, back to my exciting news about my new followers. I picked up these followers in two different places. There should have been more (the exact fifty?) from a third place but that was not to be.

The first place, where I got 1 of my new followers is, oddly enough, the AAYSR site that I mentioned last post. I was reading some reviews there and clicked on her blog because of a funny post they mentioned while dissing the rest of her site.

I went on to leave a (nice) comment on the particular funny post in question because it was truly one of the funniest things I've read in a while and the lady whose blog it was - Nilu - was kind enough to check me out and also follow me.

The second place, where I got 3 of my new followers is one that is a secret. That is because I want to unveil the information that goes with telling you all about that site on my birthday in October! Yes, October.

It is a long ways away, but I think it is worth the wait because (perhaps it's just more analness on my part) my birthday is the same day as a special day for this particular group and this group is very important to me and plays a large part in who I am.

So, I will basically leave it at this - I have added Zane Rainne, Shelle (Nora) and Deaf Blind (Nika) from that group. Oh, and because the group is a largish one I have hopes of adding some more from there.

The third place, the one that was the non-starter as far as giving me any followers even though I had high hopes for it was the blog interviewer site I mentioned in a previous post. Well, maybe at some future point.

One can hope.


P.S. I will not bother to add the links to the new followers who have blogs - Nilu and Deaf Blind (Nika) because I can't autolink yet.

When I can I will edit them in or instead do a listing of all the blogs up until that time that I wanted to give from the beginning of this problem.

The C.A.T.

Post #75 - And Some Exciting News!

Well people for someone who was in such a hurry to post several things the last time I posted so that I could be at Post #75 right away, it's taken 9 days to post again. LOL. The reason for this sad state of affairs has little to do with me.

It's all F.J.'s fault. Or Blogger's. Or both. Definitely not mine. When in doubt, find someone else to blame. Seriously, though I blame one or both of them (haven't figured out which yet) because I was going to let F.J. do my 75th post as a guest.

First of all, I had to get in touch with him to tell him I was at the 75th post that we agreed upon that he would write, then he had to figure out what he wanted to write about (should've thought of that earlier) and then the problems really started.

Even after I gave him my username and password (trusting soul that I am - actually not really, F.J. is just particularly trustworthy) he tried to sign in not once but twice (or more) and it just didn't work.

I was waiting and waiting for it to work for him (if at first you don't succeed...) so I kept waiting as the days ticked by. This was a bit agonizing for me as I have a pattern of posts to complete by the end of the month.

That pattern means I need 3 more after this post I believe, so I really wasn't looking forward to glomming them all together again. But here goes. First, for Post #75 other than mentioning that F.J.'s post was the surprise I had planned I will tell you that on last Thursday which was June 24th I finally submitted to AAYSR.

That, for those who don't know, stands for Ask And Ye Shall Receive. That is the "extreme" blog review site - address - that I talked about submitting my blog to quite a while back.

I said originally, I think, that I would do it at about 50 posts and then changed that to 75 or 100. Well 75 is here and I thought - now's the time. If I waited any longer I might just have changed my mind. They are tough after all.

I'm not sure when I will get my review. They listed two different time frames in two different places. On their website (at least way back when I read their submission rules) they said that it would likely take 2 to 3 months to get to submissions.

However, when I actually did my submission and got the reply email (time-stamped one minute after I typed in as my submission time - talk about making quick work of things) the e-mail said it would be more like a couple (2 - 3) weeks! Go figure.

Well, hopefully it is sooner rather than later as I am dying to see my review and the hoped for surge in traffic it brings with it. Hopefully I will get a friend to install (or at least help me install) a site-meter/traffic-counter before then.


P.S. In the next post I will mention some other exciting (well to me anyway!) news that didn't "fit" with this post.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Friendly "Acquaintance" - Who Likes Cats!

Hello people. Another post today, as I want to get in a certain number of posts ASAP because after this post which is my 74th I have a surprise post I am posting for #75. So I want to get to it as quickly as possible. Just like a little kid. LOL.

I also have a second reason for posting yet again today. On about Thursday I got a phone call. It was not from anyone I knew. In fact, it was from one of many peoples most dreaded callers - a telemarketer.

Now having been a telemarketer myself and for several years (about 6 plus) I have some idea of how hard it can be. So I didn't "dismiss" the caller outright. However, this was the upteenth time I had gotten this same call.

I knew what it was about from the moment the girl I was talking to said she was from Shaw Cable. I was up to date on my internet bill. It could mean only one thing. She was trying to sell me on a "deal" on "my" cable &/or phone bills.

This is not to be dismissive, but there is no way I would ever use this deal. I live in a group home, as I've mentioned, and tv and phone are paid for by the house. So I attempted to cut her off at the pass so to speak.

Before I even got to that though, I realized I had a very spirited, and also formidable "foe" who was good at her job. Before I could get that statement out, which I did quite quickly though, she had already asked a "softening" question.

Her gambit was the weather. Apparently she was from Winnipeg, where it was rainy and miserable. She asked if that was the case in Edmonton. When I said no, she re-iterated her gloomy situation. I briefly commiss-erated.

What else could I have done. I was a telemarketer too. Having timed her "softening" just right I felt she earned the right to a friendly response. Nevertheless, I knew she had no hope for the reason mentioned above so I quickly brought out the I won't waste your time speech.

Basically, I told her, before she could even tell me why she was calling, what she was calling about. I think that surprised her a little, considering I let her "vent" about her city's weather.

After telling her quickly what she was calling about before she could tell me, I proceeded equally quickly to state the group home situation pre-cluded my needing to buy anything other than my own internet connection.

Finally, I told her the title line of the speech, "so, I won't waste your time". I told her that her next call could be the one and the sooner she went on to that the better basically. That is when she surprised me a little yet again.

She said she was having a bad day, and that she enjoyed talking to me. Apparently, she must have had, along with the crappy weather and perhaps, who knows what personal crises, several bad calls. So she wasn't in a real rush to get back to it.

That is when inspiration struck. Always one to seize an opportunity to promote this blog (my baby), I decided to act. I told her that if she found me so pleasant and agreeable she might be interested in reading my blog and more importantly joining. LOL.

She didn't seem put off by this, or the fact that obviously this was not going to be a quid pro quo situation. I definitely was not a buyer. Nevertheless, she willingly took down this blog's somewhat lengthy address.

Perhaps this was because I used my own "softening" technique. I told her (truthfully) that I had the bet I have with a friend that I get 75 "official" followers by my 1 year anniversary.

She seemed to be on board with this. She even asked about what my blog was about and enquired as to whether it in fact had anything to do with cats. I told her those were just my initials and asked if she liked cats.

She definitely did, so I promised her that I would in honor of her being willing to help with my "project" I would try to post something about cats. Well I honestly didn't know what I was going to write about.

The only person I know well who has cats that I know (and love!) and could tell funny stories about has banned me from talking about her. So imagine my surprise, and my delight when in looking at some other bloggers interviews from the blog-interviewer site I came across the perfect two posts. One in particular.

One site was of a photographer who does nothing but post his pictures (he takes copious amounts he admits) on a quite regular basis. I was going to give the web address to that site as one of his fairly recent posts high-lighted (and well at that) cat photographs.

The second site I came across had only one picture of a cat, but it was a doozy. Picture this. A cat wedging itself in a empty 12-pack case of coke. Head sticking out of the front. Front legs sticking out of the sides and back end and legs sticking out of the back of the paper case with the main body of the cat entombed by paper. LOL. It was a sight alright.

I won't add the addresses for them right now as I would have to look them up in my pages of notes I took surfing websites for inspiration and because my automatic links, as I've said before, don't work right now even after several attempts.

Besides, she stood me up. I'm still waiting for her to join or at least leave a comment as I had asked so I would know she was here. But I mentioned the cat stories as I had "promised" to include cat post material.

So, after beating the drum for friend/acquaintance Daniel Seddiqui in my last post, I was beating the drum for myself and fulfilling a promise with this post to another friendly a-c-q-u-a-i-n-t-a-n-c-e of sorts

Whereever you may be Sammy (yes that is the spelling of -her- name) I haven't completely lost faith in you. Perhaps you got busy. Maybe there were flash floods. Maybe the string of bad callers left you massively clinically depressed. Could be. LOL.

A fellow marketer can dream can't she. LOL. So, dear readers I'll try to keep you posted on any potential "developments". That is if I don't go into a massive clinical depression from waiting perhaps, even likely, unrequited. Alas, tis the way it is.

Till later,

The (sad) C.A.T.

Summer Solstice

Hi everyone. Today is officially the first day of summer - what is the longest, and supposed to be the sunniest day of the year. Well 2010 didn't disappoint here in Edmonton.

It was a nice sunny day that thankfully wasn't too hot. I hate that worse then it being too cold. It was a fine day to spend, as I did, meeting for coffee with friends.

Speaking of friends, I was contacted by a internet friend/acquaintance just the other day who asked if I would do him a favor. It didn't seem much to ask, so here it is. The friend acquaintance is the first-time author Daniel Seddiqui.

Daniel, wrote a book called 50 Jobs, 50 States about his adventure in work-ing, yes, 50 entirely different jobs in all 50 states when he couldn't find a worthwhile full-time job after graduating from his university studies.

He did this with the intention of seeing what there was to offer, picking and lining up jobs in each state that had some connection to the state it self. For instance, in West Virginia I believe he worked in a coal mine.

Each job was only a week as the project was to be completed in 50 weeks as well. However, it wasn't as easy as it sounds as many of the jobs were quite physical and a lot of them took a variety of different skills.

For example he was a surfing instructor in Hawaii, he made cheese in another state, and so on and so on. Now here is where the favor comes in. Daniel has entered a contest put on by Mitchum anti-perspirant. The main prize is $100,000.

The contest is promoting the hardest working person in America. The hook is that Mitchum sees itself as the hardest working anti-perspirant. There are all manner of people in all manner of occupations from florist to cop entered.

Daniel would like me to encourage the readers of my blog to go to the Mitchum web-site and vote for him. I have already done so myself. If you are interested in seeing why Daniel might deserve your vote go to the site and check out his video.

Each contestant has a video that makes their case for being the hardest working. When you see the breadth of jobs and the myriad skills he must have needed to pull them all off, I'm sure you will very likely consider him to be your pick as well.

By all means look at the other videos, but I really think Daniel's video made his case for him pretty well. You can only vote once but you do not have to sign up or register to do it as it seems to go by your computer address so one vote per family.

While this post was only nominally about the solstice, I encourage you all to take the longest day of the year to vote for the hardest working person in America, whoever that may be for you. For me that is Daniel. Hopefully, it will be for you.

Finally, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all my readers who take the little bit of time it takes to go to the site and look at the short videos of Daniel and possibly the other most likely candidates in your mind.

The address is I was going to tell you to just click on the link but I can't get it to work so you will have to take a moment to write it down and then type it in. Please do. Note after the 5 is a letter o not a number 0. Thanks again


Father's Day

Hello everyone. Well unfortunately, this post isn't so timely. I didn't even get to "date-stamp" it "properly" as I was busy with checking out/posting to bloginterviewer.

Just gonna post what is probably going to be a shorter post about a nice memory of my dad. I don't have too many as he worked long hours while I was growing up so I didn't see much of him and then he died about 30 years ago when I was 13.

I don't know how old I was at the time - maybe my mom would remember if I asked her. Anyway, for some reason my dad was at the department store (Sears I'm pretty sure) with Mom & Me/I(?).

Whatever brought him to Sears with us that evening (I'm also pretty sure for some reason it was evening) it worked out extremely well for me. LOL. You see, usually Mom was very good about buying me whatever I wanted since I didn't really ask for much.

This day however, we were shopping for a coat (or at least a coat caught my eye - but I think we were shopping for it) and I picked one that she definitely said I could not have.

It was a "fur" coat. White with caramel colored splotches on it. It also had a jaunty brown leather belt. I r-e-a-l-l-y wanted that coat. I don't remember if I asked more than once but regardless Dad saw how much I wanted it obviously.

Somehow, he managed to prevail and Mom was over-ruled/won-over (again not sure which). I got my spotted "fur" coat! I loved that coat and wore it for several years/until I outgrew it.

Apparently, it was just like Dad (I wouldn't know as I am v-e-r-y much younger than my siblings) to be a soft-touch. One story Mom did tell me that I remember is that when my two sisters and my brother were young they went grocery shopping with Dad at least once.

On this/these shopping trip(s) he was a sucker for being talked into buying crazy fruits (like whole coconut - lol) and stuff like that. Can you imagine trying to get into a whole coconut? Or what Mom said when they brought it home. LOL

Well, I guess I'll end by saying "Thanks Dad" for this and my other good memories of you. I must admit that as you aren't here now for so many years and never really were a big part of my childhood, I don't think of you often enough. But I do still miss you when I do. Happy (Belated) Father's Day (you would have been 90 this year).



Friday, June 18, 2010

Finding Something New

Well, I was supposed to post yesterday but I forgot. In fairness to me though, I have some pretty exciting news that I had to "wrap my head around".

First of all I have to say thank you to my friend Andrew D (starbird) for joining my blog when I asked him to a day or two ago.

Next, the exciting news. I have just stumbled upon a blogger feature called help forum (I believe that's the correct name) which actually allows you (the blogger) to chat (well not in real time) with other bloggers in a forum.

Not only does this mean I am now connected to other bloggers but it gives me a(nother) way of promoting my blog - through the forum which is what the other bloggers also do. Yay.

The best news about this so far, is that in just the first 24 hours or less, two people from the forums have found me and joined my blog officially. Thanks to both Coltin1948 and fizzee rascal for joining.

As a more formal thank-you I will include both their addresses for you to check their blogs out when I find out their addresses (right now I just link to them on the site). Each one has had something funny/or informative posted within the last few days as I found out for myself when I checked them out myself.

Another person from the site named Amber, who goes by the name Scrappy Chick or something similar (it's too late in the evening - actually early morning - to check on this but it's basically right) came by and, while she didn't join (yet! - lol), did leave a nice comment on my "Feel The Love" post (the Keanu Reeves mini-post).

I am finishing writing this "long" after I time-stamped this (about two days) and as I said it is late at night/early in the morning so I am adding on something that happened after (by a day or so) the help forum news.

I was looking at my list of blogs I follow and trying to decide which, if any, I could delete so I could add some of the forum people that add me (since, as I think I've said in a previous post, I am at my blogger limit of blogs to follow).

I only got to look at about 3 to 5 different blogs out of the 200 or 300 (whichever is the limit - I can't remember) when I came across something in someones comment section (since I was reading "sample" posts to see whether I "could" delete the blog or not) that caught my attention.

It was a offer to the blogger in question to submit an interview to something called It had a link so I checked it out and it offered the chance for bloggers like myself who chanced upon it to submit an interview to the site.

I am now officially on You can find me if you search through the 3 categories I picked to fall under (you were allowed a maximum of three). These are books and writing, movies and randomness.

I am hoping both these things will add to my blog's "stickiness" and bring traffic to my site. Only time will tell but I have a good feeling on both of them. So far, so good. I have left comments on several others interviews so maybe they will get back to me.


P.S. I added a new widget/gadget to the sidebar. It is a refrigerator "toy" that you can leave "magnet messages" with. Unfortunately, there is a glitch. I don't cut & paste as I've said before, so I added it the "automatic" way and it is slightly too big so you can't use the letters I or R. LOL.

Till this is fixed use the -/_ key from the numeric feature. It's actually a - that you lower into the _ position. This makes it like a wheel-of-fortune puzzle. LOL. Feel free to leave me a message. It is at the bottom of my sidebar just under the Vanity Fair linkup. I look forward to reading your messages - just be nice! :)

The C.A.T.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Feel The Love!

I know I should have posted on Saturday and yesterday but I have to admit it. I just didn't feel like it. I am getting so bad and it isn't even 6 months yet. Sheesh.

Well, anyway's better late than never I guess. Today I just have a short little post but I'd like to think that what it lacks in length, it makes up for in heart.

Yesterday, I was looking around on imdb and for whatever reason I picked Keanu Reeves as one of the celebrities to look up for upcoming projects.

Well, I don't even remember if he had any (how's that for a pre-senior moment) but I did come across something kind of special.

Apparently, quite recently a photographer/fan snapped a picture of him on a park bench eating a sandwich and (supposedly) looking a little glum.

Well, anyone who knows anything about Keanu Reeves knows that he often goes out looking a bit like a homeless person. So this shouldn't have been news, but...

... it turns out that this picture caught the attention of a (fellow) blogger (I don't know who - only that it was a blogger who spread the story)...

... and in short order there were all kinds of sites devoted to cheering up Keanu Reeves. Never let it be said that the internet is heartless. LOL.

If you want to see for yourself check out the news section of his imdb page and see what I mean.

So there is your cheery little story for the day. If you want to spread the magic on his (or anyones) behalf, perhaps do a small random act of kindness after reading this


P.S. I was just thinking that perhaps Keanu doesn't mean "cool breeze" or whatever his bio says, maybe it means "love". LOL.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Letters To Juliet

Well, as promised the other day after a fashion, I decided to do two posting today too. This will probably (though not necessarily if I really get going - LOL) be short. I say this because the movie that I saw and will be talking about, Letters To Juliet was one I saw about two weeks ago already so it is not as fresh in my mind as it might have been had I written this review of sorts back closer to seeing it when I planned to before going on my long break from writing.

As I have said previously, I had had the opportunity to see this movie once before and chose another one, The Trotsky (which I have already reviewed here previously) instead. That said, this is not a bad movie by any means. A little formulaic, I'm sure some would say, but still worth it if you like romantic comedies.

I only have a few things to say about the movie. One being that the premise was more interesting in theory than in practice. How the main character got to write the letter to her recipient of a "Letter from Juliet" or more accurately a "Secretary of Juliet" wasn't the most interesting part of the movie.

Also, the leading lady's would-be husband was, from minute one, a bit of a charming? (not really) creep who paid her no attention whatsoever and was rather disengenious about how he got out of doing things with her on their so-called pre-honeymoon.

The scenery was, of course, gorgeous. The casting of the older woman who wrote the 50 some year-old letter of the title was well-done. They got a name actress to play this part. As for the eventual romantic interest for the leading lady, he wasn't anyone I knew of, but played the part well.

The real star of the show so to speak was, well, the star of the show. Amanda Seyfried, who was also in another of her movies (probably her most well-known one) with an older female co-star - Meryl Streep in Mama Mia, definitely is well worth watching.

Although there was nothing hugely surprising about how the story played out, I will say two things for it. First, yes I did, at one or more points, cry. And second, I really thought Amanda Seyfried was good in her role. I am talking about how believable she came across in the role with regard to facial expression among other things.

Not the most original movie (although a unique premise that is apparently based on a true story) but well worth your time to rent, as it is probably out of theatres by now, if you like romantic comedy. Having said that, it is more romance than comedy.


The Glass Castle

Hello, well today I am going to start off with a post on another book I have read fairly recently. I read it about a week ago. It was called The Glass Castle and it is a memoir. The author is a writer for magazines named Jeannette Walls. She is apparently married to another writer named John Taylor (anyone heard of him?).

This book is one I found when I was looking at second-hand books at the local Goodwill store. I was browsing/strip-mining the biography section and it the title sounded vaguely familiar. I may be wrong on that but it seemed like I might have heard about it in a People review or something so I read the back page description.

I must admit, the description by itself didn't sell me on the book so much as the fact that I found not one, but two copies of it. As I have said previously, I plan to (or at least aspire to) having a book group so I thought having two copies would be ideal since at this time I can only think of two people (myself included!) to join. LOL.

I'm not sure what made me read the book right away since I bought several different books that day including one other set of doubles - Stupid White Men by Michael Moore. I am sure glad I did though. The friend (the one who can not be named) who is "on the short-list" for my book club wasn't thrilled that I bought the 2nd copy without consulting her.

I must admit I got a little ahead of myself on buying the doubles as we said that if we tried a little 2 person club we would still each pick about 2 or 3 books that we liked each and the other would get to choose 1 from that list. I guess I got over-excited when I decided to buy the doubles. After all, I do have a cell-phone and she isn't working right now either (we are both in the same boat work-wise) so I could easily have asked.

After all I actually did find the requisite 3 books (of the 2 or 3 to pick from) in doubles. There was also two copies of Kate Gosselin's first book on her family there. I passed on that. Oddly enough, my friend was slightly interested in that. She did say though that the Stupid White Men sounded ok. Her problem with Glass Castle is that it is basically a bit of a sad story and aside from not liking non-fiction as much (at all?) as fiction which is the exact opposite of me, she doesn't like the sad stories.

This book is a sad story in spades. By the time I brought the copy of the book over to her house all excited to tell her about my find I had gotten to page 75 in short order. In trying to entice her into it, by showing her how interesting it was I gave a not so short (LOL) summary of the first 75 pages. It was a laundry list of "horrors" that befell the Walls children because of their parents personalities and the odd way they saw fit to raise them.

The first story that stood out in the book that is the one I will use to illustrate my point is the story of how the author got badly burned in a kitchen accident when she was just three years old. Apparently, her mother who considered herself an artist was off in the living room "doing her own thing" while her three-year-old daughter was cooking herself hotdogs.

According to the book, this was not a one-time thing. She often made her self hot-dogs because, as she pointed out in somewhat different words, it was not rocket-science. However, this time her dress somehow caught fire. Luckily, her mother got into the kitchen quickly and got the fire out and then took her to a neighbors so they could go to the hospital (they had no car at the time, a clunker, or the mother sucked at driving are all possibilities as these are all things that were the case at one time or another in the story).

She was in the hospital for about six weeks before her father "sprung" her from the hospital in what he liked to call Rex Walls-style which basically meant ignoring the medical advice that she remain at the hospital further. He apparently also didn't think much of the fact that her mother took her to a hospital when it happened as he had on previous occasion when needing medical attention went to a Native medicine man or somesuch as they lived in various small desert towns that they were continually moving around from one step ahead of bill collectors.

The story goes on like that getting, at times, sadder for the shear number of crazy episodes the parents put the kids (and themselves) through. The father was an alcoholic and the mother called herself a excitement addict as well as a sugar addict. The sugar addict thing might not sound like much but it had a rather sad story around it too as the family was constantly going without proper food for long periods of time. So much so that the kids all sort of looked after themselves as to finding something to eat many a time, with the author herself admitting to rooting through garbage at school to eat her schoolmates discarded lunch items.

Apparently, the mother's mother was quite the character too, but in a good way. At times they moved in with her for short stays until the father and the mother-in-law could stand each other no longer. The mother apparently was a bit of a jack-of-all-trades and had amassed a considerable amount of money for herself. Her daughter and son-in-law on the other hand never had good "luck" with money they did get (the mother's mother died when the author was eight and the mother inherited one of two houses the grandmother had which they lived in for a time, trashed and eventually abandoned)and weren't too interested in the jobs that they could get.

The daughter had a teaching degree,like the wealthy mother, that she got at her mothers behest but hated to actually go out and use, feeling it was beneath her as an "artist". The father was considered by many to be "brilliant" but had a hard time keeping jobs not only because of the alcoholism but also it seems to me because he was flighty and a dreamer as well. That is where the name of the book comes from, in fact. The father was always claiming to be working on this gold finding device he was making so that when they finally struck gold he could build a literal "glass castle" complete with a glass staircase.

If, like my friend, you aren't into sad stories then maybe this isn't for you. But you may want to think again. Aside from being an interesting, if not sometimes infuriating, story it does end on a happy note of sorts. As a final note, the author wrote a second book about her wealthy grandmother (the other grandmother, who they also ending up living with for awhile in a coal town in West Virginia was a crazy alcoholic witch who did some truly shocking things to them) that she did not label autobiography because of some liberties she apparently took as a result of insufficient information and instead calls a "true life novel".

This book is called Half Broke Horses. If you do read the Glass Castle and read it in paperback format, some (the newer) copies (one of my two did) have an excerpt of it in it. I must admit that while I very much liked The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses may not be a novel in the true sense I still haven't read the excerpt because of my less-than-great interest in "novels" (ie. fiction). I probably will get around to doing it eventually though as the first book was so good.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Fat Girl's Guide To Life

The title of this post is not some clever title I came up with to illustrate a point about my highly interesting life. No, as anyone who read my previous post will perhaps recognize, it is the title of a book I have just read fairly recently.

What follows is a v-e-r-y short (because I finished reading it more than a week ago) review. First of all, for anyone who didn't read the last post, the author is Wendy Shanker who is largely (pun intended) a writer on fashion and beauty issues for magazines such as Marie Claire, Glamour and Cosmopolitan among others. Fat Girl is her first book and it dates from 2004.

For the most part I'd say that the book is worth reading for anyone who is interested in women's issues particularly weight issues. Some of the things she mentions are done in a bit of a precious way in my opinion but I think that is because I have read a few other titles (whose names escape me - it has been a long time) that were similar so her points didn't seem so earth-shatteringly original and the Fat Girl (vs fat girl - her distinction) attitude was a tiny bit much.

For people who are new to these type of titles though the book shouldn't be disappointing. Even people who have read some other similar titles such as the plus size model Emme's book which I think was called True Beauty (don't quote me on that) will find some new information though I'm sure.

One thing that stood out in her research was about how calorie counts on various products are mostly fiction. Apparently, when taken to a lab to ascertain how closely they relate to reality, the differences can be quite glaring. It is, as she mentions (and like any fan of Seinfeld will no doubt remember - I know I did) like that episode about the so-called low-fat yogurt that "mysteriously" was making Jerry and his friends fat.

If you end up reading this book and liking it, she has a new book coming out soon called Are You My Guru? How Medicine, Meditation and Madonna Saved My Life due out in the fall of 2010. The medicine part probably has to do with a serious illness she mentions having (I forget what it is called) in Fat Girl and Madonna is not merely mentioned "for show" as apparently she once worked as her assistant or something for a short time - this also being according to Fat Girl.


Fiction Or Non-Fiction

So I was at the bus stop about a week or so ago (the last time I officially posted - sorry about that - hopefully there will now be a run on topics for a few days) waiting for the bus in the late evening. As I wait, a woman who appears to be about my age (maybe a little older) starts talking to me.

It was my fault really. I had the perfect conversation starter with me. A book. Anyway, this woman started, without much prodding (actually with none at all really) to talk to me about the book a little, but quickly segued onto the topic she really was angling at I think and then got around to a quickish version of her life (the men part anyway). I guess the life story via men part did tie into the book I had a bit. I was reading "The Fat Girl's Guide To Life" by Wendy Shanker.

At the start of the conversation (I was going to put conversation in quotes but the truth is after awhile I did participate a bit, if only not to be rude, as she wasn't "that bad") she asked what I was reading and I told her. Then, so as not to invite any conversation on weight (mine or otherwise) I pointed out that I wasn't reading it for any special reason other than it caught my eye on one of those library miscellaneous featured book tables.

Well, it seemed I was mostly successful at avoiding the "fat girl" conversation (at the time anyway) as she rather abruptly jumped into a conversation about the author Nora Roberts, who is a romance writer I think. I didn't bother to ask and that was not her main point in bringing her up.

It seems this lady wanted to talk about how she actually knew Nora Roberts when she was growing up. In Edmonton. This being unusual as Nora Roberts (Roberts not actually being her true name either it seems) claims to have been born in New York. Well, according to this lady, her last name was actually Gerritsen or something similiar and she lived on 106 St/Ave (not sure which) in Edmonton.

Apparently, she either played with or babysat her as a youngster. Probably babysat, as it was at this point I found out that the woman I was talking to was considerably older than me and that Nora Roberts was about 10 years older than me and this woman 10 (9 actually - that part I remember for some reason) years older than her.

So the conversation (at this time mostly monologue) went on about how the now Roberts had decided that to have a writing career it would somehow sound better if she was from New York. Sometime in the middle of all of this Nora Roberts talk I did contribute that I mostly read non-fiction. Mostly hoping to avoid a big conversation about NR. It half worked. I thought the conversation I had been trying to avoid would center around her works - of which I could give a rat's ass! LOL. So on that level, operation successful.

What I did find out, in hearing about NR's personal life was that, apparently if I eventually want to turn this blog into a book or just write some kind of a book in general I should move to New York and lie about my hometown, my name and apparently my age too (this also came up).

But back to my telling the woman that I read non-fiction primarilly. She seemed a bit taken aback by that statement - almost becoming appologetic about reading fiction. I have to say I was both embarrassed (for lack of a better word) and gratified (also for lack of a better word) by this seeming mostly non-verbal response.

Mainly because it seems that, to me anyway, true readers like reading fiction alot more than I do so it was nice but a bit, as I said before, embarrassing to have someone actually seem intimidated by myself, as a reader of non-fiction. As high-falutin as it seemed to be, in her mind anyway, at that point.
I swear I did nothing to encourage that response. I said I prefered non-fiction in the most matter-of-fact ways. Also, after I got that response I did feel bad enough for her seeming inferiority complex that I lightly and quickly said that it was just a personal preference.

Well, the conversation eventually turned to age, weight, men and money (all related btw). I won't go into that for the most part, as it doesn't make my point, which I do actually sort of have! One thing I will say about the rest of the conversation though, is that for someone so eager to talk about a pet conversation (NR) and her life in general as relates to the subjects I mentioned which made her, at least originally, seem a little sad/off (I am probably being thought of the exact same way at times by some strangers I encounter,too - LOL) she did have a final thought that seemed very worthwhile and in keeping with the subject of the book that started the whole conversation.

Since I have no intention of finding someone to marry/have some great romance with I admit I didn't commit it to memory faithfully but it went something like this... don't worry about what you look like so much and be careful in choosing the person that you plan to marry (she regretted herself not being more practical - ie. going for the money more).

Well, I promised (in a way, of sorts) a point. That is simply, minus the filler of our conversation that I had the mixed blessing of being able to intimidate someone with my reading choices. And I must say, even though it was slightly embarrassing, I rather enjoyed it too. LOL. Snobs of the world unite.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lowest Of The Low

So I watched the Sarah Ferguson interview on Oprah. Not much to say except sheesh. That Oprah. Makes me wonder. She has all these scandal besieged people on like The Duchess of York (former? - I don't know why she still gets to use the title since they are divorced - what would a new wife be called?) and scum-bag extraordinaire Rielle Hunter. She seems to imply that she wants to get to the root of things with them but she always does the Oprah "touchy-feely" thing at some point in the interview - feeding them answers when they get stuck.

Anyway, on this particular would-be sobfest the hour plods along amazingly slowly (I can't remember if the Rielle Hunter show was as bad - perhaps my mind has mercifully forgotten!) with Sarah (if I may be so informal) repeating herself again and again and not really getting to the heart of things at times imho.

Fast forward to the end of the interview and gosh golly, if St. Oprah's halo doesn't slip a bit. Near the very end she tells Sarah that when she (Oprah) saw the tape of "the Duchess" trying to broker her ex-husband, Prince Andrew she (Oprah again) thought she was seeing someone (Sarah) who was spiritually and morally b-a-n-k-r-u-p-t. Like I said before, sheesh.

Talk about arrogant. Even if what the former? Weight Watchers guru did was wrong (really wrong even since the prince is apparently now a trade rep and so the transgression was not simply arranging for access to a celebrity but to a government official - of sorts anyway) Oprah seemed pretty high and mighty at that point. To me, that is for sure.

Although this happened at the end of the interview and Oprah's (self) righteous indignation (stated so matter-a-factly) seemed unchallengingly the nadir of the interview, it did in fact get worse. Much worse. After Oprah said this, Sarah, in high self-flagelation mode actually replied to that which I consider spitting in her face from nicey nice Oprah that it was brilliant (actually the word she used wasn't brilliant - it was genius!). She actually had this weird smile on her face as she called Oprah's over-the-top characterization of her "genius".

Talk about a sad end to a sad episode. In more ways than one. Any thoughts from anyone else who saw the same interview.