Uncategorized

Halloween Scrooge

I don’t know when it happened. I used to love Halloween. I trick-or-treated up to an embarrassingly high age… I think the last year I officially went out I was 13, but my friends and I were into the pillow case collection receptacle method by then (the serious stuff) and went home to change costumes mid-night so we could return to the houses that gave the best candy. Hard core.

I even went out trick or treating one year in University to a subdivision near my residence. I don’t think we fooled anyone, but a few of the good-sport homeowners actually gave us some candy. And I used to love dressing up, going to a party or two, handing out candy to kids. Fun.

But for the past 6 or so years I’ve been a total scrooge. I just can’t be bothered. I don’t even know how many kids go out in my neighbourhood because I’ve never been home. The first few years I lived in this house I had an excuse. Oct 31 is a month end and since I was the CFO of a hedge fund, we had to value our fund at month end and I rarely got home before midnight — long after even the most die-hard teenage trick-or-treaters had called it a night. Then, I think the next Halloween came on a Thursday, which is my critique group night… One year I think I went to visit my sister and her family in Ottawa… (love seeing my niece and nephew in costume)
But tonight I’m turning off the lights and going to the movies. Can’t be bothered. Don’t want the candy in the house. Don’t know any kids in my neigbourhood. TV’s upstairs and don’t want to keep going up and down to the front door. (How lazy is that???)

Bah, humbug.

Halloween… love it or hate it?

Anyone have Katie Couric’s photographer’s number?

All the press coverage about that doctored photo is cracking me up… But maybe I should be angry. No way would people be so interested if she were a man. In fact, the photo-weight-loss plan wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

That said, I’d love to find a photographer who could make me look 20 (40?) pounds lighter in a publicity photo.

Hmmm…. Maybe that should be my main criterion when searching for one.

Doggie Home from Hospital

Okay, he’s not home… He and his “parents” (my brother and sister-in-law) are staying with my mom because she has air conditioning and fewer stairs.

But he was much better today and the vets let him out. The final tests still aren’t back on whether his soccer-ball-sized tumor was cancerous… or whether he has long term kidney or heart damage… But he’s much better!

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts.

Prayers for Jasper



Our camping trip didn’t turn out as well as we hoped. And not because of the silly things I was worried about like no shower for four days… My dog-nephew Jasper (my brother’s dog, pictured above with said brother) fell seriously ill while we were away. Hope brother doesn’t mind me posting the photo… This was the best picture I could find of Jasper. He’s usually running…

He had a great time on Thursday (the first full day we were camping). He went hiking with us, running through the woods and then scrambling over the granite boulders at the shores of Georgian Bay. (Other photo) He even swam with us for a long time in the icy cold water — big contrast to the hot humid weather. But he never recovered from the exertion that day.

On Friday, my brother and SIL took him to the vet who thought it was just exhaustion… but he couldn’t even stand Sat morning, so they took him back to the vet (an hour away) who told them to rush him to a vet hospital near Toronto (another 3 hours away).

Long story short, he had a HUGE tumor on his spleen which was removed Saturday night. So, while camping trip didn’t cause the illness… it did bring it to a head and might have made the situation worse, because he’d been in shock a while by the time they got him to the hospital. He’s still a very sick doggie.

Blogs and Self Promoting

Okay, I’m still pretty new to this whole blogging thing but when I learned that Diana Peterfreund was getting complaints on her blog , because she wasn’t just talking about writing topics, but was using the blog for promoting her great book, I had to give my head a little scratch.

I mean, isn’t self promotion what a blog is all about? Whether you’re doing it for commercial purposes or not, if you’re gabbing about something in public, you’re self promoting. (or at least doing it to grab attention, even if it’s anonymous)

This debate (that I didn’t know existed until today) reminds me of the early days of the web. I was working at the Price Waterhouse World Firm Technology Centre at the time, which was in Menlo Park, CA just north of Silicon Valley. The place (tech centre, not Menlo Park) doesn’t exist any more… which is sad because it was a very cool place to work. Anyway, most of my coworkers had Phd’s in artificial intelligence and other areas of computer science and had been using the internet pretty much since they’d started university (some in the 70’s). One day I asked my friend Jeff how someone like him had ended up working for a public accounting firm and he told me that with a degree in AI it was hard to get a job not involving guiding missiles… Since the internet was first used to facilitate sharing information between DOD scientists, it makes sense that these guys had used the internet for years… But I seriously digress…

My point was (I did have one) that a lot of these guys took great offense when corporations started to register domain names and use the web for commercial purposes. The first URL the tech centre had (I think we may have been the first accounting firm, perhaps first commercial entity, to have one?) was actually registered under the Stanford University URL. Those were the days when if I searched for my name on Yahoo (no google then) I’d get 4 hits and they were all about me — academic papers I’d written etc. Now when I google my name I get 440,000 or so hits most of which aren’t me… OMG. I just googled my old friend and coworker Jeff Delisio, with whom I cowrote some papers and who has a much less common name than I, and there are still links to some of my old papers! (digressing again, sorry)

Anyway, a few of my coworkers at the tech centre (or people they knew), seemed to feel that the web should only be used to:

  • make sharing academic papers easier than it had been with only ftp and
  • share cool stuff like photos and music with their friends who had the time to download stuff like that with the painfully lacking bandwidth most people had at the time.

So learning about the complaints Diana’s getting on her blog took me back to 1993.

It’s like as soon as a new technology catches on and people are smart enough to use it for commercial purposes, the early adopters get all up in arms. I kind of understand that… it can kind of take the fun or community feeling out of something if others use it for commercial purposes… but seriously… You can’t live in the past.

Signed, Maureen…
Who started this blog largely to self-promote future books and plans to promote the books of her friends until she has one of her own. Anyone who finds that offensive, don’t read my blog.

Camping!

I’m going camping. Serious camping. No shower for five days camping. Okay, it’s car camping — not backpacking — the kind of camping where you can bring everything but the kitchen sink as long as it fits in your trunk, but still… I’m not even sure if there will be flush toilets.

To aid this camping adventure, I bought a tent this week (I’ve always mooched off others in the past) and a new, lighter sleeping bag more suitable, I hope, to the hot weather we’ve been having lately.

It’s been a while since I’ve done more than one night in a tent and I’m not sure how I’ll enjoy four in a row… Also, I’m going with my brother and his friends. Yes, I know all these people, but they’re his friends, not mine, so that might be a little weird.

Things I’ll miss:

  • Results night on Rockstar… but this early in the competition, who cares? I don’t feel super passionate about any of the contestants this year yet anyway… Last year, (after thinking it was the tackiest idea I’d ever heard of and that INXS had sunk about as low as they could go), I came across it while channel surfing the night JD was doing his encore performance of California Dreaming and I was hooked. Dilana is pretty intersting this year… I should vote for Lukas because he’s from my home town (like JD), but I just don’t really like him so far… He’s so full of himself and not in a good way. Intersting that both seasons the badboy asshole of the house is the Canadian boy… Kinda goes against stereotype, don’t it? (We’re actually all jerks up here. We just act nice for tourists.) :-)
  • Canada’s Next Top Model. (Down to the final 4) Yes, it’s the same formula as the American one and yes, it’s just as silly and just as compulsively fun to watch.
  • The internet. It’s embarrassing how addicted I am to my blogs and my loops and my e-mail…
  • Washing with hot water… I fear for my contacts (not to mention my delicate skin). I’m rather prone to eye infections due to very narrow (nearly non-existent) tear ducts that make my eyes water a lot… Not being able to wash easily or often will be a challenge.
  • A mosquito free environment. Okay, there are mosquito’s in Toronto, but not very many. The smog gets them. There was a huge amount of rain yesterday so I imagine there will be oodles of mosquitos. Not looking forward to bite-scarred legs at Nationals.
  • My critique group meeting. We had such a great meeting last week. Everyone seems to be in a great groove right now — producing great work. I’m bummed I won’t be there this week.
  • BLOGGING! Okay, I haven’t been the most consistent blogger yet. But I’ll miss making posts and checking the comments and obsessing over how many hits I get and from where… What fun!

Speaking of blogging. I have an announcement…

The Drunk Writer Talk Blog is launching next week! The first post should be up on Monday. There are 3 of us contributing and our drunken evil plan to conquer blogdom is to start by pointing on Mon, Wed and Fri. Most weeks, we think, Molly will do Mon, I’ll do Wed and Sinead will do Friday. We plan to talk about lots of things… The kind of things we talk about when we drink together. Should be a lot of fun. Come check us out.

And…. I bought a full pass for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) again. I know… crazy. I could have/should have gone for something less grueling… There are 30 coupon books and 10 coupon books available… But I know once the time comes, I’ll be glad I’m going all out. Except for the first night and the last day, there are usually at least 4 movies in each time slot I’m absolutely dieing to see… So many films, so liitle time.

One final thing… My CP Teresa Roblin was just interviewed on the Karen knows best blog. Check it out. Teresa is the sweetest person you’d ever hope to meet. (As long as you don’t hurt anyone she cares about — then, watch out!)

Bye for now… See you Monday! (If I dont get eaten by mosquitos–or a bear.)

Attention: Contest on Diana Peterfreund’s blog!


Diana’s Diversions: On the T Minus 12th Day of Secret Society Girl, a Digger gave to me…

The wonderful Diana Peterfreund is holding a contest each of the twelve days leading up to the July 18th release of her debut novel, SECRET SOCIETY GIRL.
I was lucky enough to win an an ARC of this book back in February and let me tell you, it’s a great read. Really fun, really smart, really witty, really everything a good book should be.

Go on over and enter her contest — and buy the book 😉 If you’re lucky enough to win one during the contest, too… it will make a nice gift! Or really, who wouldn’t want two copies of this book? I mean, what if one gets wet during an initiation ceremony or something?

Be careful what you ask for…

I realized today that I really don’t want to work…

I have an opportunity to do some short term consulting work which is something I’ve been telling people (including myself) that I want to do. I am a writer* (I am) and I don’t want to get a full time job, but I really thought that making some money doing something short term would be ideal.

Sometimes it takes having an opportunity put in front of you to find out you don’t want what you thought you wanted….

* I have convinced myself of this now… but it’s amazing to me how hard it is to convince non-writers… let’s call them muggles 😉 … of this. It’s like they expect you to actually be earning a living at something in order to claim it’s what you do… Or they think writing is something people do as a hobby or in their spare time and it can’t possibly take much… After all, it only takes them 10 hours or so to read a book — surely I can write one in 30 or 40 hours… ha! Or they assume you must suck at it if you aren’t published yet and look at you with sympathy in their eyes each time they ask if you have any news about your book…

Sorry for the rant… I shouldn’t blog with low blood sugar…..

To blog or not to blog…. that is the question.

At least the question that’s been on my mind this past week. My problem is trying to decide what I want this blog to be… I have plans for another blog with two writer friends — (it’s called Drunk Writer Talk, cool, eh?) — so I’m thinking if I want to blog on writing issues… I should save it all for there. (We’re still in the planning stages…)

Besides, plenty of other people (notably Diana Peterfreund) already do great blogs with lots of info for writers… Seriously… what could I add to the blogsphere on that topic?

Ultimately, I’d like to use this blog to interact with readers, but I have the small obstacle of not actually having a book, yet…

So, I’m flummoxxed (also flummoxxed about whether one x or two in that word???)

Any thoughts? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Finally a blog!

And you’ve found it!

Okay, so this is something I’ve been meaning to do for at least a year. About time, right? Now I need to get working on that whole, content thing… This too will come!

If you’ve stumbled upon me, drop me a comment to say hi! Love to know how you found my blog.

Maureen