Monday, December 31, 2007

News flash - Someone in Toledo clogged a toilet

I remember when I was growing up, the news sounded so boring and adult, but somehow it made sense that grown ups enjoyed it because they loved boring activities like balancing checkbooks and cutting coupons and cleaning. And sleeping. Grown ups were always unbelievably tired, although it was unclear why because they never even did the monkey bars at the playground.

Back then it seemed that the news wasn't as overwhelming as it is today. We are bombarded with news, which is not necessarily a good thing, because really important events are not always included. The amount of news doesn't increase the quality of the news, it just means they examine certain things from every angle possible and they throw in a bunch of celebrity news.

The national news networks have been at it for a long time, but recently one of our local news stations has started offering AN HOUR AND A HALF of local news in the evening, versus all the other stations with their measly 30 minutes. Let me tell you, there is not enough news here to fill up an entire hour and a half every single night. Of course, that's in addition to the morning news, the afternoon news, and the late night news.

They had a big special on a couple weeks ago because it was the 10 year anniversary of a fire in the news station and they managed to scrape together a news broadcast for the next morning by staying up all night drawing the weather charts by hand. I am sure that these newscasters were thrilled to stay up all night doing this, because news around here is pretty uneventful. Unless you are a deer, because then people are hiding in the trees hoping to shoot you.

For a taste of some local news, I'll share from a local paper that includes a section on all the latest police reports*:

September 28

A deer ran into the side of squad 14 at 11:27 p.m. There appeared to be no damage.

October 1

High School reported vandalism to the north wall of the new gym.

At 12:44 p.m. a resident reported a large deer had part of a fence caught in his antlers and it appeared he was going to collapse. When squads arrived they observed the deer had a hammock wrapped in its antlers, but the deer took off when they approached. Police were going to contact the DNR office to see if they had any suggestions.

Individual was arrested for theft at 10:05 p.m. after getting a cab ride to the hospital and not paying the $15 fare.

October 4th

At 5:38 p.m. a resident reported she spotted the deer with a hammock in his horns in the woods next to her house. She knew the police were looking for it.

At 7:35 p.m. a complainant on 24th Street reported there was a bear underneath her porch. The DNR was notified and the bear eventually moved into the woods.

At 9:31 p.m. a complainant reported three young males wrote on a mail box, then headed to the nearby park. Officers responded, located the three youths. One juvenile was tab charged and the other two were escorted to their homes.

Obviously, we are in dire need of more news coverage.

*The news stations do cover a rather large area, including many rural areas and we happen to live in a more rural area, but even the main city's crime rate is probably about the same as Bedford Falls.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Time flies when you're wearing clothes

Lately I've been noticing how old a lot of my clothes are. Although it seems to me that I should still be about 21, my clothes betray this timelessness by going out of style and falling apart before my very eyes. I had a pair of shoes that I loved and wore at least 4 times a week and they always seemed relatively new because I JUST bought them, until they got a little holey and I realized that was 4 years ago.

My favorite pants also seemed newish, until I realized that I was wearing them while pregnant with Jack, which means they are about 5 years old. I know this seems like nothing, compared to people who hold onto their clothes for over 10 years and never even realize that no one is wearing parachute pants anymore. But the aging of my clothes only reinforces my belief that time is passing by so quickly, I barely have time to brush my teeth and comb the rat's nest out of my hair and a week has come and gone. It seems to have sped up around the time I had Dylann and has only increased speed since then. Soon I will be rolling out of bed and running desperately around the house (trying not to slosh coffee out of my mug that I will hold in a death grip because if I don't get enough caffeine intake I might blink and three days will have passed) in an attempt to finish something before the sun sets and the moon is out and it's 2 AM and everyone has been in bed for 4 hours and I am standing there saying, "What happened to 1999?!"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Stop sending me robot poop

Once in a while, I submit things I write to publishers, hoping that they will read whatever I wrote and publish it. That's generally how it goes. Then I wait for at least two months to hear back from them, which comes in the form of some generic letter that reads like it was written by a robot. And not a friendly robot, a cruel, emotionless robot who spits the rejection letters directly out of its rear end into an envelope where the letter begins its journey to my mailbox.

Some publishers will let you submit via e-mail, but this does not speed up the process at all. A few months ago I submitted something to The New Yorker and 2 months later I recieved a reply. It was the most non-descript email I've ever recieved. The sender was not recognizable and my only clue that it was from The New Yorker was upon opening it and reading its one and only sentence. "Blah, blah, The New Yorker cannot use your material at this time." It was literally signed "The Editors." No name, just The Editors, as if I don't know that it was probably some intern named Gavin who has to read submitted manuscripts in between trips to the coffee shop to bring his boss a fat free, organic muffin and each time a little part of him dies inside.

It makes me wonder if publishers understand how hard it is to write something and send it in to them and wait on pins and needles for months. Don't they want to encourage writers to keep writing? If they are going to send out generic letters can't they at least contain more than one sentence and offer some words of wisdom all wrapped up with someone's actual name signed at the bottom?

I would like to send them a query letter that says:

I wrote a good story about you falling down the stairs and hitting your head. I look forward to hearing from you.

The Writer With Anger Issues

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from paradise

Since it’s Christmas Eve day, I decided to share my own version of the much loved “Christmas Letter”, wherein you update friends and family on all of the exciting events in your life. I've never written one, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Dear Friends & Family,

There have been many changes in our lives over the past year and I thought a Christmas letter would be the best way to let everyone share in our experiences. In January, Donn deployed to Iraq and we moved from Georgia to Minnesota. Has anyone ever traveled with a portable litterbox in the passenger seat because all of the other space, including breathing room is filled with junk? What a fun experience! I still find traces of cat hair and blood, sweat, and tears in the van and think fondly on those days.

Once we moved into our apartment, we thought about hiring a maid to deal with all the mess, but the maid was not willing to work for Cheez-Its, so unfortunately that didn’t work out. I tried teaching the children to cook and clean so that I could maximize my TV watching/moping time, but they kept whining that the knives were too sharp and the onions made them cry. BOO HOO.

Dylann is involved in karate and gymnastics, what an ambitious little fellow! He has so much energy! One time I told him to stop pulling all the cushions off the couches, because they are not trampolines and he responded by running up the walls and on the ceiling while laughing maniacally and sweating profusely without a shirt on. What an amazing kid!

Jack is a cuddly guy with a strong interest in violence. He’s four years old and he can already bring a grown man to his knees. We are unbelievably proud!

Well, I will wrap this up. I want to wish you all a merry Christmas from our beautiful home, located across the street from a lively bar.

Another Happy Family