Friday, December 30, 2005
The end of the year has us looking -- perhaps in sentimental reflection -- back over:
How did you spend your time?
CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS #4
I believe I'm growing skeptical of cynicism.
I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that if you've read this far in my vanity plate you are an extraordinary person infused with great love and compassion. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. (thanks, Jeff) I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. I believe that all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy.
- Chuck Lorre Productions, ABC 1997 - 2002
Thursday, December 29, 2005
CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS #3
Once again, thanks for video-taping "Dharma & Greg" and freeze-framing on my vanity card. The following are a few more of my beliefs: I believe that El Nino is an international conspiracy perpetrated by evil roofing contractors. I believe it's high time The Beatles came clean on that whole "Paul is dead" thing. I believe that anyone who can read and speak clearly can be a network news anchorperson -- but not necessarily a weatherman. I believe that if I rid myself of insatiable cravings, lusts, paranoia, deep-seated anger and ill-will towards others, I'll be a much better person. I believe that TV is the cause of all the violence and immorality in our society -- ha! just kidding. I believe there's no business like show business, although if you're over-paid for feeding a big, scary monster, then that might be sort of like it. That's all for now, gotta go make a TV show. Once again, thanks for watching and keep checking for more of my beliefs real soon!
- Chuck Lorre Productions, ABC 1997 - 2002
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
I've been up since a quarter to three (sounds like a torch-song, doesn't it?). I couldn't fall back to sleep no matter what I tried. When the dogs started their ritualistic cross-legged dance around six, I came downstairs to let them out, and I was immediately reminded of a scene from Young Frankenstein:
[Frederick and Igor are exhuming a dead criminal]
It was raining Persians and Poodles outside . . . and I have two appointments this morning that I can't cancel. The dogs looked at me like "you expect us to go out in this?" I will need a rain slicker (like the Glouster fisherman), hip-wader boots, and a giant golf umbrella to brave this weather -- too bad I don't have any of those things . . .
Yesterday I received a call from one of my two best friends - both of which are several States away. "Princess Rita" and "Princess MysTory" are the greatest two friends that a girl could ever have. It was the first chance that "Princess Rita" and I have had to catch up in a while. We usually try to talk at least once a week (usually more). We had a nice (brief) two hour conversation about this and that . . .
At one point, the conversation came around to addictions and, I will admit it, I have an addictive personality. No, I do not have a drinking problem, or a drug problem, or a gambling problem, or some such problem. But, I believe that we all have something that we could -- potentially -- have a tendency to partake of in excess . . . whether it be eating, or television viewing, or computer time, or -- the list could go on and on. And, with an "addictive personality," it is more difficult to stop something once you start it. Of course, I'm not going to be airing my skimpy lingerie (so to speak) for public viewing, but . . . suffice it to say, I recognize my tendencies and have to be cautious to practice restraint.
We then began talking about how Edward Norton's character in Fight Club was addicted to self-help groups. Rather difficult to deal with an addiction when your addiction is the addiction to the groups to help with problems you are already supposed to be trying to deal with, huh? But, I digress . . .
And, speaking of restraint (or the lack thereof) . . .
Something that I noticed during the holidays was the lack of restraint by a lot of parents and other adults to limit the amount of electronic gadgets that they purchased for children. It seems that the target-market for electronic companies is now -- basically -- fetus to twenty-five, and this demographic thinks that they have to have every one of the latest and greatest toys, games, and accessories on the market. I heard of some parents and assorted aunts, uncles, and grandparents who were spending in the thousands of dollars on their kids Christmas gifts this year. What kind of example is this setting for children?
I have also read several articles and news stories in the last few weeks that described how traditional toy companies are losing money because children aren't playing with traditional toys these days. Some toy companies are going out of business, while other toy companies are having to diversify and expand into the electronics fields to try to capture a part of the market again. Toys that are fueled by imagination are now a thing of the past. I find this very sad, don't you?
Well, enough of my disjointed ramblings, I have a busy day ahead . . .
CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS #2
Once again, thank you for video-taping "Dharma & Greg" and freeze-framing on my vanity card. I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you some more of my beliefs. I believe that the guy who invented those speed bumps in the freeway that snap you back into consciousness when you're drifting into a nearby semi should be given a big hug. I believe that there are actually several cures for the summertime blues. I believe that in my earlier statement of beliefs, I erroneously believed that beer was a gateway drug that led to vodka. After intensive consultation with ABC executives, I now believe I was very, very wrong. Beer is good. Especially beer brewed by major manufacturers, and enjoyed in a responsible fashion. I believe I've spent my life expecting people to behave in a certain way. I believe that when they didn't behave according to my expectations, I became angry, sad, confused and occasionally fearful. I believe these expectations are the reason I've been angry, sad, confused and occasionally fearful more than I care to admit. As a result, I now believe my expectations are the real problem. I believe that everyone has this very same problem, and they ought to start acting accordingly. Well, that's all for now. I hope you continue to watch "Dharma & Greg" and check in on my vanity card for more of my personal beliefs.
- Chuck Lorre Productions, ABC 1997 - 2002
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Not to be on a downer or anything, but . . . I've had some sort of nasty "bug" for almost a month now. Just when I think I'm beginning to feel a little better, I'll wake up the next morning - slammed again!
I really don't know how I caught the 'lil bugger in the first place. I'm extra-cautious in avoiding crowds. Having my own studio to work from is a tremendous asset. Other than telephones, faxes, and e-mail, face-to-face contacts are limited to my total discretion most of the time. Granted, with it being the Christmas season, I didn't do all of my shopping online, and I did venture out to the malls a few times, but I tried to be extra careful, and I got this 'lil bugger very early on.
Some days are better, some days are worse, but not being able to shake this for almost a month is draining me most terribly.
Now, to switch gears to tell a story that actually ties in to what I've been saying . . . my s.o. says I have such a tendency to tell convoluted tales . . . it isn't that I'm convoluted, it's just the way that my twisted mind processes the deluge of miscellaneous, assorted, and unrelated data that has been filtered through it to make it all fit together in some sort of cohesive manner. I think that is a considerate thing on my part so that I don't just sound like a raging lunatic (which, my s.o. is quick to tell you, I often do anyway -- isn't he just the dreamiest?)
Okay, I was a big Dharma & Greg fan, and I'm so glad it is now in syndication. I recently saw the few shows where Dharma was running for City Council Superintendent. In the last show of those episodes, Greg had convinced Dharma to 'transform' herself into whatever type of person would be most appealing to whatever group she happened to be speaking to -- so, basically, she was lying. And, it began to manifest itself physically, first as sneezing, then as congestion, and as she kept on going, she turned into Quasimodo, with one eye swollen shut and pimples and boils, and her hair coming out in clumps. It was really gross!
Not that I look like Quasimodo or anything but, I'm wondering . . . if I'm not being true to myself about something -- perhaps even unconsciously -- and that's why I can't shake this bug . . . Is it time for some soul-searching? I mean, the antibiotics haven't helped. The mega-doses of Nyquil haven't helped. The Airborne fizzies haven't helped. The herbal remedies, the antihistamines, the decongestants, the peppermint teas, the deep tissue massages, the meditation -- none of those have helped. I wear my hat, coat, scarf and gloves when I go out. My car even has heated seats, for goodness sakes.
Am I over-analyzing? Or am I missing something?
One of the funniest things -- if you were quick enough to catch it -- when watching Dharma & Greg was the producer, Chuck Lorre's "Vanity Cards" at the end of every show. The cards were flashed on the screen briefly and, if you didn't realize that you were missing some comic genius, you might never pay any attention to them at all. So, for my readers who may never have had the opportunity to enjoy Mr. Lorre's warped sense of humor, or for those who enjoyed it and would like to partake again, I will be sharing his "Vanity Cards" as entries in the days and weeks ahead.
Without further fanfare, may I present Vanity Card # 1 . . .
CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS # 1
Thank you for videotaping "Dharma & Greg" and freeze-framing on my vanity card. I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you some of my personal beliefs. I believe that everyone thinks they can write. This is not true. It is true, however, that everyone can direct. I believe that the Laws of Karma do not apply to show business, where good things happen to bad people on a fairly regular basis. I believe that what doesn't kill us makes us bitter. I believe that the obsessive worship of movie, TV and sports figures is less likely to produce spiritual gain than praying to Thor. I believe that Larry was a vastly underrated Stooge, without whom Moe and Curly could not conform to the comedy law of three (thanks, Lee). I believe my kids are secretly proud of me. I believe that if you can't find anything nice to say about people whom you've helped to make wildly successful and then they stabbed you in the back, then don't say anything at all. I believe I have a great dog, maybe the greatest dog in the whole wide world, yes, he is! I believe that beer is a gateway drug that leads, inevitably, to vodka and somebody oughta do something about it. I believe that when ABC reads this, I'm gonna be in biiiig trouble. I believe that Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High", is the greatest rock song ever recorded. Once again, thanks for watching "Dharma & Greg". Please be sure to tune in again to this vanity card for more of my personal beliefs.
- Chuck Lorre Productions, ABC 1997 - 2002
Friday, December 23, 2005
December 23rd already. Does anyone remember the old 1960 version of The Time Machine, based on the H.G. Wells novel, starring Rod Taylor (The Birds, Falcon Crest)? When Taylor (George (H. G. Wells)) would travel in his "time machine," the clock would fast-forward and the window of the women's clothing store across the street would change, reflecting the changes in styles indicative of the changes in time. That's what this year has felt like -- like time is zooming past -- like I should be watching the fashions peel on and off of a mannequin in the store window as quickly as they did through the cellar window as Rod Taylor watched when he was traveling through time.
Did I accomplish all that I had planned for 2005? Of course not. Did I plan to fall down a flight of stairs and be in a cast -- immobile for three and a half months? Of course not. That very act alone sidelined, detoured, and ended so many plans this year. Do I have big plans for 2006? Of course I do. Will I be making New Year's Resolutions? I'm not so sure yet. Those always seem to fall by the wayside as something that feels more like a chore, or a punishment, than a goal. I really need to find a different approach to those things that usually get relegated to the "resolution" category so that they will not feel so much like a burden and more like something attainable (manageable and with less negative connotations).
Am I ready for Christmas? My shopping is finished. My wrapping isn't yet. I have several things that still need wrapping, and I have four stockings that have to be stuffed -- two which will be done on Christmas Eve (for my Mom and Dad who are coming to spend Christmas Eve with me). Christmas Eve will be an absolute joy with my Mom & Dad here for a quiet evening, and early Christmas morning with a good 'ol big country breakfast and opening gifts under the tree. But, all in all, I'll really be glad when December 26th arrives. No, I'm not a Scrooge! I just get a little overwhelmed by all of the rushing here, rushing there on Christmas Day -- trying to please everyone -- listening to everyone (complain) . . . and no one taking the time to celebrate the true Reason for the Season. (just a little f.y.i. - extended families can be a royal pain-in-the-pa-toot) Take a deep breath, Kitty, and smile . . .
To all of my readers, I want to wish each and every one of you a Very Merry Christmas! Please be safe during this holiday weekend, and may you find peace, happiness and joy during this feastive holiday season.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Okay. I have to admit it. I received one of my Christmas presents early. Last Thursday, in fact. And, I've used it every day since. Well, technically, I haven't really "used" it as much as I have touched a button and walked away.
I received a Roomba Scheduler Vacuuming Robot. With five cats, three dogs, and a main level living area that is basically a giant open square of approximately 1,800 s/f of hardwood floor-space surrounding a center wall area that contains the stairwell to the upstairs level and the downstairs level, plus a laundry room, pantry, and powder room, this little robot is just what I needed. With open archways and columns the main divisions between the formal living room, family room, foyer, formal dining room, kitchen, and breakfast room, the Roomba zips around vacuuming to its little heart's content. I've also taken it upstairs to zip around under the beds and through the rooms on the upper level.
Granted, I had hoped that I would be able to "schedule" it to run during the night but, it seems the noise is a bit too loud for that. Regardless, scheduling it for an hour each day is just as easy to do. So far, it has worked fabulously well, even on the pet hair! I think it was a great investment. I've also heard that there's a mopping robot on the market (or soon-to-be on the market). If I could find a dusting robot, and one that would clean the litter box, I'd be set. Perhaps those flying cars aren't that far away after all . . .
Another Monday morning but, somehow, it isn't just another Monday morning. I awoke with more of a purpose this morning. Perhaps it is because I can finally feel an ever-so-slight bit of the fog lifting from this bug that has kept me feeling so sick for over two weeks. But, actually, I think it is something even more than that.
I came downstairs this morning and decided to start my day with tea and scones. I just finished combining all the fresh ingredients for orange marmalade scones and popped them into the oven. I have a teapot on the burner and should be having my cinnamon tea and scones shortly. After that, I will sit down with my Franklin Planner and plan my day and week activities (as I know them now).
I still can't believe it is less than a week until Christmas. My shopping is finished, but my wrapping is not. My parents are coming for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. I have a busy and hectic week ahead of me. I should get started . . .
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
What a beautiful sight to see the full moon high in the sky this evening. There are a few clouds, which are illuminated and back-lit by the brightness of the moon, creating a wonderful view across the horizon. The air is crisp and cold, and there is a hint of wintery weather in the forecast. I've always loved the night sky . . .
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The title may capture the very essence of this man's musical career, which began very early on and found recognition when he began singing back-up on several Steely Dan albums in the mid-'70s. He then joined The Doobie Brothers in 1977 as singer, songwriter, and occasional front man before continuing on with a successful solo career. Even after being a five-time Grammy award winner with thirty-five-plus years of doing what he does best behind him, Michael McDonald still has what it takes to deliver. His latest -- a Christmas collection -- does not disappoint.
With his husky, soulful voice he brings a distinct sound to every song he touches and imprints it with his signature vocal style. This CD is no exception. With traditional Christmas classics and a few new songs in the mix, McDonald gives them all his magical touch to make them an unexpected treat that makes you think you're hearing them for the very first time, but with that comfortable feeling of nostalgia that makes it seem just right.
The CD contains ten songs that will sure to be added to your playlist shuffles for all of your Christmas parties for years to come. From Silent Night to Deck The Halls to Auld Land Syne you'll find a new version of an old Christmas favorite on this CD. The title track Through The Many Winters could become a new year-'round favorite.
Check it out before the season slips away . . .
This CD is available at Hallmark Gold Crown Stores with 4,200 locations across the U.S. It will be available until the end of the year exclusively at Hallmark at a discounted price with the purchase of three greeting cards.
CD Review: Through The Many Winters published on BlogCritics.org
Okay. Is there a 'rule' somewhere that says holidays have to be as stressful as possible?
Last week was unbelievable. In addition to my 'regular' insanity called "life," I had a 'laundry-list' of errands and preparations for not one, but two, Christmas parties. The first party was on Friday night and it was the annual event for our Harley group and, since I am the Activities Officer, I was 'in-charge' of a lot of the details. Luckily, it was held at a local hotel but, still, there was so much to do. Prior to that, on Thursday evening, was our last Harley Officers' Meeting of 2005 (which was a mandatory meeting) that took most of my Thursday evening.
Saturday evening was our Christmas party for our employees and their significant others for the company that we own. Even though the menu has been planned for a few weeks, 'crunch-time' or 'prep-time' or whatever you want to call it, always seems to find something amiss. Most of the guests were over an hour late in arriving because of a last-minute customer they had to attend to as they were trying to close the doors. It was an eventful evening for sure. I could go on . . . but, . . . I won't.
On top of all of that, we had spent the week decorating the main level of the interior of the house (where guests will see), and the exterior of the house. I had made arrangments with the cleaning lady who does my hardwood floors weeks in advance so she could be here on Friday to do a thorough job on the floors prior to Saturday's party. At 8:10 on Friday morning (ten minutes after she was scheduled to be here) she called to say she was running late, and would be pressed for time that day. I told her I would have the floors vacuumed and broom-swept prior to her arrival, and all she would have to do would be to mop and wax. About an hour later, she called again. This time to say she had pulled her back out and couldn't move, and would be unable to come. Where was I supposed to find a replacement maid on a Friday when every agency and service books well in advance, especially on the weekends?
As Miss Scarlett would say, "Fiddle-dee-dee, I'll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day!"
Not that I really had that much time -- my time was, literally, running out quick . . . but, I still had more errands to run and things to do to prepare for both parties. In the midst of all of that chaos, the local satellite company was finally supposed to come back out and correct two 'oversights' they made when they initially installed the high-def dual dvr receiver several months ago. When they switched the single dvr receiver to the master bedroom, they didn't check the guest room connections and the guest room television lost its signal. We didn't realize it until we had guests stay over recently. They also didn't re-connect the dvd recorder to the new high-def satellite receiver for recording; they only wired it for playing.
So, the guy was supposed to be here at 11:30 a.m. on Friday morning. At 1:15 p.m., with no calls and no shows, I contacted the company and got the same run-around I've been getting for weeks/months. That was, probably, the final straw that blew-my-gasket! Nothing like (more than) a little stress to send your blood pressure to 180/120 with a pulse of 115, is there? And if one more doctor says to me, "You need to reduce the stress in your life" - I'm gonna deck 'em!
I did get my floors done - finished only two hours before the party was scheduled to start Saturday evening - amazingly enough, they did a better job than my usual cleaning lady. The satellite people came yesterday and, supposedly, everything is now fixed. The two parties that I had to plan, coordinate, and fret-over are done and went off well (imho). I think we have . . . four more parties to attend for the holidays, and then I'll be making plans to disassemble all of the decorations sometime between December 25th/26th and the Feast of Epiphany and pack it all away until next year.
If anyone has seen Denis Leary's Christmas special this year, that kinda sums things up right about now (except for the 1st monologue - that was a little too much for me) . . .
Saturday, December 10, 2005
As a BlogCritic Reviewer, I was recently chosen as a Blogcritics Editors' Picks "Pick-of-the-Week" during the week of Nov. 26 to Dec. 2. Pretty cool, huh?
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Saturday, December 03, 2005
WARNING: The following is a rant. If you aren't interested in reading a rant, just skip this post.
Christmas is coming. No, I don't have anything against Christmas. In fact, Christmas is a wonderful season, and one that should be celebrated with all the bells-and-whistles, so to speak. And, no, I am not going to get into the debate over the "Christmas" -vs- "Holiday" verbiage insanity that is filling the news and airwaves.
My complaint is the "timing" of celebration.
There is a florist nearby that in early October dressed the two front display windows on either side of the entrance door in complete contradiction. The left window was done all in orange and black, with a six foot jack-o-lantern, pumpkins, black cats, witches, straw bales, autumn leaves, and so forth. The right window was (is) completely decked out with a six foot Santa, not one but two fully decorated Christmas trees complete with twinkling lights, garland, snow-frosted edging to the windows, gift-wrapped packages, and red/green decorations everywhere. This was early October.
When I bought my Halloween candies, I had to literally step over Christmas decorations to get to the candy. The town hung all of the Christmas decorations (lighted stars, angels, candles, etc.) from the light-posts on Main Street during the second week in November. Many area residents decorated their houses during the second and third weeks of November as well. Even in our neighborhood, some of our neighbors decorated their houses and yards a few days before Thanksgiving and began turning on the lights prior to Thanksgiving Day.
Call me old-fashioned if you will, but . . . as far as I'm concerned, the Christmas season does not "officially" begin until that jolly 'ole elf brings up the rear of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Once he arrives on his sleigh at the end of the parade, and you spend the afternoon stuffing yourself with turkey, and dressing, and all the fixins', and then fight the crowds on Black Friday for the best bargains around, that is when the Christmas season begins!
I don't understand why everyone wants to rush through life . . . barely finishing with one thing before moving on to the next . . . in this fast-paced, technologically-advanced, microwavable, gotta-have-it-yesterday mentality, is it any wonder that no one really takes the time to really get to know anyone, or care about anyone, anymore?
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