Guilty Pleasure

I said in an earlier post that I’m not a fan of reality shows.  I. Do. Not. Like. Reality. Shows.  Usually.  But I found one I enjoy.  At least I think it’s a reality show.  Is there some way to tell?  Are there parameters or a definition somewhere? 

Wikipedia had this to say: 

Reality television is a genre of television programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors, sometimes in a contest or other situation where a prize is awarded.

There remains some disagreement over whether talent-search shows such as the Idol series, America’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, and Celebrity Duets are truly reality television, or just newer incarnations of shows such as Star Search. Although the shows involve a traditional talent search, the shows follow the reality-competition conventions of removing one or more contestants per episode and allowing the public to vote on who is removed.

So my new guilty pleasure is not necessarily reality TV – cool!  I can’t recall how I discovered America’s Got Talent and I didn’t drop everything and immediately begin following it.   In fact although the show is in its 7th season, I can count on one hand the number of complete episodes I’ve watched.  Usually I would catch one act or an audition, often via an email from a friend.  For instance, I was impressed by the audition of Terry Fator (with his sidekick Emma Taylor).  Tell me this isn’t cool!

Over time I’ve seen other snippets of shows on Facebook (Godvine is a reliable source for moving auditions), looked up specific acts on Youtube and last year Hubs even saw a performance he liked so well he tracked the dancers down online to see them again.  I don’t know why this year I decided to check out Season 7 from the beginning but I just finished watching the first two 2-hour audition shows.  Let me just say – WOW!  These were only auditions!  Holy cow!  Here are some of my favorites:

Tim Hockenberry – the performance begins around the 1:15 mark.  He blew away the audience and judges!

David Garibaldi & his CMYKs – performance art that popped.

William Close -This guy designed and built something he calls an Earth Harp.  It turned the whole auditorium into an instrument. 

That’s only three!  There were so many others who were amazing!  Of course since these were the auditions there were some real bombs too.  It hurt to watch some of them, but it made me realize how brave you have to be to put yourself out there.  I could never stand up on a stage in front of people — NEVER!  So kudos to everyone willing to stand – first in the huge line and then to stand up onstage and sing or dance or whatever it is you do.  You all rock!

Incommunicado-ish

From the Encarta Dictionary:  in‧com‧mu‧ni‧ca‧do (adjective)

 prevented by circumstances or by force from communicating with others

That’s me — incommunicado.  Sort of, and for an unknown amount of time.  We ran into some difficulty meeting all our financial obligations lately and the one thing we felt we could reasonably give up for awhile is the internet.  It wasn’t that hard a decision really.  We like to eat.  The dogs aren’t inclined to share their food.  It’s nice to have a roof over our head while we all eat.  And while it isn’t something I like doing, I do need to be able to get to work.  Plus?  Stealth blogging at work means I’m not completely incommunicado!  Sssh.

This wouldn’t have had to happen if Comcast had kept their word.  When we moved to the mobile home community we didn’t immediately get internet.  For one thing, the effin’ house has no telephone jacks!  None, nada, zilch!  How does a house built in 1986 – even a mobile home – NOT have phone jacks?  The phone company wanted $100 to install them.  Each.  So we did some more research.  Hubs made a LOT of phone calls.  Tracfone made a LOT of money from us in the early days. 

Once we finally decided to have Comcast hook us up, Hubs asked them to make our payment due date more agreeable with my payday schedule.  You are probably familiar with the balancing act of paying some bills with one payday and others on the second.  He was trying to organize the bills so they were spread out more evenly over the month.  The friendly Comcast employee told him she couldn’t change the due date because it was the date you sign up, but after we were signed up we could request they change it.  Wait…what?  It has to be easier to set the payment date up front doesn’t it?  Isn’t that reasonable?  In any case, when Hubs later asked them to change the payment due date they told him it couldn’t be done.  So we made it work…for awhile.

Cue the ice storm earlier this year and the resulting bills when our refrigerator full of food was ruined; not to mention all the meals we had to eat out as we had no power.  No power equals no cooking, no heating.  Then within a couple months Dad is hospitalized, deteriorates quickly and passes before we know it.  Add in the extra moola spent on fuel to visit, fuel to attend the funeral and hotels for both.  Our finances took a major hit and the internet was the last thing we were worried about. 

We’re set up a little differently than some households.  Number one, our land line is a MagicJack, which requires the internet.  So while the internet is off we have no land line and can only be reached by cell.  I kind of like that; I can turn my cell off and no one can reach me!  Second, we don’t subscribe to any sort of TV.  No Dish, no DirectTV, no cable.  There are only a few shows we like and we download those from EZTV after they’ve aired.  It’s like what we used to do with VCRs — taping a show that’s being aired to watch later.  So all we really need at our house is the internet.  And now it’s off.  For awhile. 

I’m hoping we’ll have it reconnected before my surgery.  I can just see myself lying on the sofa twiddling my thumbs because I can’t follow my blogging peeps; or post on my own.  At least my Kindle will keep me company.  I plan to stop in at my library and use their wifi to download a LOT of books before then.  😀

So, if some time passes and you don’t hear from me don’t fret; I’m fine.  Probably.

Opinions please

Some of you have probably encountered a similar situation so I’m hoping I can get a little feedback.  Tomorrow is the BBQ/baby shower for daughter A’s new baby due in August.  It’s also a graduation party for her husband D.  A has a 4 year old son from her first marriage.  The invitations to this shindig, from the Ex (dun Dun DUN!) and my SIL include a note that if the guest is bringing a shower gift they might consider bringing a little something for big brother.  Okay, I’ve seen that done before, especially with really young kids who don’t understand the whys of gift giving and receiving.  While no one ever practiced this in my family when I was a kid, I wasn’t against the idea in principle.  However, when I raised it with Hubs he disagreed. 

He’s a few years older than SIL and when they were growing up his family did practice this.  When it was SIL’s birthday, Hubs would also get gifts.  And vice versa.  He explained that it was confusing to him when he was a kid.  It sent a mixed message because when he received gifts on his sister’s birthday he didn’t understand that it was her special day, nor why she got all the attention (i.e., cake, candles).  And when she got gifts on his birthday he felt like his special day wasn’t really special because he had to share it. 

I haven’t given a lot of thought to the details of bringing gifts for siblings when there’s a new baby, but it occurs to me that you wouldn’t normally bring gifts for all the children ad infinitum.  Why would anyone keep gifting the non-birthday child past an age where the child can understand that everyone has their own special day?  Well, unless you have money to burn.  Or maybe you’ve figured out a way to take it as a tax write-off.  Hubs made a good point because apparently in his family they did, at least for awhile. 

So.  If we bring a gift tomorrow for the four year old are we setting a precedent for what will be expected in the future?  On our new little granddaughter’s first birthday, will we be requested to bring a gift for big brother?  When will it end? 

I’ve come to the conclusion that Hubs is right (don’t tell him ‘k?); we won’t be taking a gift for N.  Our grandson is a fairly mature four.  I think he is probably old enough to “get it” that tomorrow is not about him.  In addition, the gifts his mom will be opening “for little sister” aren’t likely to be things he’ll be that interested in:  diapers, baby wipes, onesies, receiving blankets, bibs, “girly” clothes, etc.  I suppose there might be some toys that would catch his attention briefly, but I doubt that would last more than a few moments.  Plus?  He’s going to clean up in the gift department.  His maternal grandma (the Ex) will load him up.  SIL will shower him.  Even my bestest friend is going to bring him something.  I don’t think he’s going home empty handed.

My preference is to wait for his next birthday and make sure he knows it’s HIS SPECIAL DAY.  Thank goodness little sister will only be a few months old because I’m not about to take her a gift on HIS day. 

What say you peeps?  Do you have an opinion on this?  Have you been in a similar pickle?  How’d you handle it?

Summer in Seattle, finally

I commute during the week to downtown Seattle and I love it.  Not the commute, although it has improved in the last year or so.  No, I LOVE the experience of being in Seattle.  Don’t misunderstand me, I like living in a smaller community; I don’t want to live in Seattle.  I just enjoy Seattle or I will when I’m able to get out and about on my lunch breaks again.  Hell, I’m walking distance from the Pike Street Market and I haven’t felt up to walking there in over a year.  Wah!  This time of year you can pick up glorious bouquets of flowers from the market for $5!  Seriously.  And don’t get me started on the fresh produce or the booth that sells fresh made, still-warm donut holes!  (Wipes drool.)

It isn’t just the skyscrapers or the Market or the fascinating people-watching; I think it’s more of a…hmm, a vibe.  At this time of year especially there’s this hum underlying everything.  Or perhaps that’s the Starbucks buzz.  We’re on the very brink of Summer here so maybe it’s just that people are coming back to life after the long, dreary winter.  In the last month we’ve finally reached the 70s a few times.  Yesterday the high was 76 and I rushed home after work to jump in our pool.  Oh Em Gee!  Talk about glorious!  I could have stayed there all night.   Today promises to be just as wonderful.  But I digress. (Raise your hand if you’re surprised.) 

So this is going on in Seattle now: 

King Tutankhamun:  The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs is an exhibit at the Pacific Science Center.  Below, Anubis guards King [Tut] Street Station.  I know, right?  They actually added “Tut” to the King Street Station sign for the duration of Anubis’ stay.  (King Street Station is where my commuter train arrives and departs so I get to see Anubis every day.)  Check out this post at the Seattle Department of Transportation blog for a video of Anubis’ arrival.   

Anubis standing guard over King Street Station
You can also see a stunning photograph of Anubis, including the sign here:  Frank Fujimoto.
 
There are so many other things going on in Seattle now that Summer is finally here.  I discovered the Icons of Science Fiction show when I saw the ads on our buses.  Immediately I looked it up online and sent the page to Hubs and daughter K (the only daughter who can properly appreciate the greatness of this exhibit!).  They’re displaying an actual Imperial Dalek from Doctor Who!   Not to mention the the command chair from the classic Star Trek and Neo’s coat from The Matrix Reloaded.  And more!   
 
Those are the two big things I’d like to do this summer, bum knee allowing.  So what’s happening in your neck of the woods?  

Phew!

The hard part is over.  Well, my hard part anyway.  Saturday we made two trips with our pickup and nearly everything has been installed in the kids’ new 2nd floor apartment.  ALL. THOSE. STAIRS.  Over and over and over.  Knee replacement is looking better and better!  But our part is done.  They get to handle the unpacking and organizing on their own! 

They found a wonderful apartment right on the river; I mean RIGHT. ON. THE. RIVER.  Or it will be when they can afford to move to the building across from them.  Then they’ll have a view of the river.  Now they have a nice view of the grassy area and old-growth trees behind their building.  I’d call it a courtyard since another building is on the opposite side, but it’s more like a park and the place is so quiet!  K described watching a couple of kids chase each other around without making any noise!  We joked about it being the Stepford Apartments.  While we were unpacking the truck their next door neighbor stopped and introduced himself and then proceeded to help carry things upstairs!  Nice! 

Bonus for us?  They’re only about 9 minutes away from us!  Yay!!

Happy Dad’s Day!

The sperm donor who is listed on my birth certificate as “Father” didn’t stick around long enough to be my dad.  None of the many men who paraded through my life as my mother’s various partners (legally sanctioned and not) ever cared enough to be my dad.  On a positive note I’m not sure it really bothered me when I was younger.  Mom never talked about my father – not the good or the bad.  The only reason I know his name is because it’s there in black and white on my birth certificate.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that it hurt to realize my own father cared so little.  Cue the sweet and sappy Father’s Day ads Every.  Fucking.  Where.

Eventually I was able to get past those feelings.  Hey, there were kids to raise; bosses to please; laundry and housekeeping to do.  It’s kind of impossible to wallow when you have others depending on you.  So I stopped the pity party and got focused.

When I met Hubs and his family adopted me and my girls I felt like I had come home.  Dad – the first man to earn that title – treated me like just another of his kids.  It was glorious!

I miss him.

Happy Father’s Day Dad.

FeedDemon is back online!

When I finally figured out how to re-set FeedDemon with my new email address I had 54 unread posts!  Wow.  I follow a LOT of bloggers!  And they’ve been gettin’ busy.  Wait…what?  Get your mind out of the gutter.  Busy typing.  Of course that’s what I meant.

That’s okay.  I had read a lot of them earlier once I realized FeedDemon wasn’t updating.  So I was able to go through the list and mark a bunch as read.  This morning’s unread total is only 38.  Eventually I’ll get caught up.  I know I don’t have to go back and read each and every post but what if I miss something?