(The Blog Formerly Known as "Countdown to 30" and "30 is the New Twenty")

Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunday Fun

Yesterday Christine and I did a little thrifting. But before I get to the shopping, a public service message about carpooling. Something I would like to call: " Carpooling: It's Not Just For Work Anymore." This was inspired by Catherine's Earth Day post. It just seems like it is such a simple thing that everyone can and should be doing. Why should two or three or four people drive in separate cars to one location? Not only do you waste gas and cause undo wear and tear to your car, it isn't pratical for everyone to drive separately to one location. It isn't logical. Yes, it takes careful planning, but it is totally worth it. I have found that it is the most effective when everyone meets at a central location and figures out who will drive from there. And to be fair, it is important to alternate who drives, so one person isn't stuck with all the driving. This is something that could be adapted to a variety of situations including going grocery shopping and attending a sporting event.

Anyways, onto the thrifting. We went to the Sun Ray shopping center in Saint Paul. Our main purpose of venturing to Saint Paul was to visit the Valu Thrift store, but we discovered that there is a Turn Style Consignment Shop and a TJ Max there as well. The Valu Thrift store is massively huge (it is in the location of the old JC Penney store--and uses some of the old fixtures, as well. Hooray for recycling!). The clothing selection is ok, but the best finds are in the house wares section and the accesories. I found a pair of brand new old school Keds for $2.99. They even have the yellow and blue inside. I also found this cool Owl nic nac:
The wise old owl was a bargain at $1.91. Plus, I love that he's sitting on a stack of books. He fits in perfectly in my sun room.

Christine found a cool A&W tee shirt, a cute little stuffed alligator, and kids book for work. I would reccomend checking out Valu Thrift. I was only disappointed with the selection of costume jewerly.
Turnstyle and TJ Max were not as exciting, but it's always nice to find multiple stores in one central area. After shopping we went to back to my neighborhood and walked over to the local watering hole for some drinks with this guy:

On our way home we visited the pink Flamingo graveyard:

Poor, poor flamingos. We observed a moment of silence for the flamingos that didn't survive the winter of '07.
I think that is the most pink flamingos I have ever seen gathered in one location. There was more on the lawn, too. Very impressive.

All in all, it was a very productive day thanks to carpooling!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Beware Bad Grammar!

I have to admit that I am a bit of a grammar snob. I am always on the lookout for mistakes. I love to to find an error in the newspaper or book. It just comes with being an English geek. Usually, I keep these errors to myself, but I've noticed a common trend recently: the bad email. Emails littered with poor grammar, random misused commas, and the run-on sentence. It shocks me. These emails come from well-educated, intelligent people. It really looks bad to send something like that. Especially if they are business emails. I don't think people should write eloquent prose, but learn where the comma goes! Proofread. Spell check. It's simple. ARGH. This is what motivates me to teach. I don't care what kids want to do when they grow up, they need to know how to write a well-written letter or email. When I worked in an office, I was shocked at how many people lacked these skills. They are so important. I don't advocate that people know how to write a sonnet, but a clear, well-written memo is a must! My Dad is a great example. He's not much of an English geek, but he can write a letter. He knows where the comma goes! He can spell check! Please proofread. Just for me. Please.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

So it Goes

I was really sadden to hear that Kurt Vonnegut died today. He was 84. He is one of my favorite authors and one of the greatest American authors ever.

I love how Vonnegut mixed Sci-Fi with social commentary with satire. He has this great writing style that sucks you in and you feel like you're stuck in his strange world. It is a very simple style, but it is so highly effective. I have never been a big fan of Sci-Fi Lit (I avoid it at all costs), but I can't put his books down. It's nothing like reading a Star Trek book, his books are more a commentary about humanity than fighting the Klingons in outer space. I recall reading Player Piano in an English class in college and just being in awe of Vonnegut's writing ability. It was like nothing I had ever read. Very powerful and moving. He combines the terrifying with the funny. As a writer myself, Vonnegut motivated me to be a better writer.

If you haven't read one of his books, I recommend picking up Slaughter House-Five. Fabulous.

So it goes, Kurt Vonnegut.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Customers First

This lunch bag makes me laugh every time I look at it. Catherine found it for me at the Unique Thrift store. I have never used it as an actual lunch bag, but it will find it's way into my screenplay. It reminds me of my days at the Department Store. They were big on programs that were nothing but hot air, but I guess the big wigs felt like they were making a difference. I could just see them coming up with the big plan: We unveil our 'Customers First' program by giving away lunch bags to our employees. Because nothing makes people happier than a vinyl lunch bag. In fact, it can help to erase low wages and poor working conditions. Once our employees are happy, they will have no problem putting the customer first! Ta-dah! All of our problems are solved with a little plastic lunch bag that was cheap to mass produce. The best part of all of this was how no one really bought into it. Within a year or so, they were onto a new and improved plan that was filled with more of the same bs, but recycled into a new package. I am so glad I no longer have to deal with this. Although it does provide inspiration for my screenplay.

I haven't actually had a chance to sit down and work on my screenplay, but I have been working things out in my head. I am a bit of an incubator. I plan things out before I sit down to write. It works the best for me. I used this technique a lot in graduate school. I could be at work and working on a paper at the same time. When I finally got around to working on the paper, it took half the time to write. I only wish I learned how to do this earlier. I am hoping to spend a good chunk of time on it this weekend. I've got new situations, new characters, and lots of attitude. Most importantly, I actually feel like working on it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I admit that I am a bit of a news junkie. Left to my own devices, I would watch the 5, 5:30, 6, 9, and 10 newscasts. Part of it is my need to stay informed, but I love the pure entertainment factor, as well. Especially the way they can hype anything. Like the blizzard that is supposed to hit today. I didn't know that 2-4 inches constitutes a blizzard, but I guess it does. Does anyone realize that's too warm for the snow to stick around? It was quite humorous to watch the promos, "How much snow will you have to shovel on Weds? Tune in at 9 to find out!" "Quick! The sky is falling, take cover!" It makes me chuckle.

Monday, April 9, 2007

An Important Lesson on Talking

I have always been a talker. I spoke my first words at an early age and never stopped talking. Seriously. I would have "vocabulary runs" (as my mom called them) at three am when I would run through every word in my vocabulary (my poor, poor parents). At parent teacher conferences many of my teachers politely told my parents that I was a bit too social. I have been known to talk in my sleep. At times I am very verbose a la "the Gilmore Girls." The past couple of days my sinuses have been waging a war on my body and talking has become difficult.. Due to all the stuff draining from my head into my throat, I have sounded like a 13 year old boy going through puberty, a harp seal, and a three pack a day smoker. I discovered how much I really talk and how much I take the ability to talk without sounding like a freak show for granted. Talking has never been something that's difficult for me. It was very hard on Easter with the rellies. Not that I wanted to be able to give a monologue and monopolize conversations, but I found I wasn't asking as many questions or providing witty commentary like I normally do. It just got so frustrating to have to make such an effort to communicate. I have a new found appreciation for non-native English speakers and people who don't like to talk. I am looking forward to having all of my vocal capabilities back. And Claritin-D is helping me get back to normal. Ugh. I sound like a commerical. It seriously has worked wonders. My new allergy drug of choice.

The sinus thing has impacted my appetite. Especially on Easter. I usually eat myself into a food coma. This was not the case yesterday. I felt kind of bad. It's not everyday I get a real home cooked meal of ham and au gratin potatoes. Thank goodness for leftovers. I have enough ham for the next week. Yum.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Welcome to my Personal Hell

The past two days I've been living in my own personal musical hell. I've had this crappy Nickelback (are there really any good Nickelback songs?) song stuck in my head. I don't know the name of it, but it's the one where the brilliant Chad Kroger rhymes cried, died, alive and sighed. Very creative. It is horrible. Ugh. Since I've had this stuck in my head, I've been wondering who really enjoys Nickelback? I don't. I never have. Most of my friends don't. Who is Nickelback's target audience? Frat boys? White Trash America? The deaf? I just don't get it. I admit that I am a bit of a musical snob. I can recognize musical talent even I personally don't like the band. But Nickelback? It amazes me that they are popular.

I have decided that Nickelback songs would fit nicely in a lesson on writing poetry as a bad example.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Odd Dream

Last night I had the most disturbing dream. My car was stolen and I was bribed by some really odd guys for a large sum of money if I didn't call the police. They assured me they could get my car back. I think I took the bribe. Then, I found out something extremely horrible happened to a friend. All of this took place at a party in a community auditorium in some odd city. The worst part was waking up and thinking it was real. I had to look outside to make sure my car was still there. I'm blaming the dream on my allergy medicine. It put me into an almost coma like sleep.