Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday. Work-Related.

Today one of my co-workers worked her last day at my office. That seems to be happening a lot, lately, honestly. In fact, between yesterday and today two more people put in their notice.

The person who left today, though, was a little different for me. Why? Because I actually hired her 3 years ago.

She filled a position that I was vacating at that time, and I hired her against some of the input of a few other people. But I was sure she was perfect for the job - and I was right. She took on the job, made it bigger than it had been, and proceeded to take on multiple other tasks along the way.

Of course, the longer she stayed and the better she did, the more marketable her skills became. Which is why, when she interviewed for a job at another company that would capitalize on those skills, they snapped her up in a heartbeat.

I kind of want to go to that other company (it's only about a mile away from my office) and tell them how lucky they are to have her.

In the meantime, though, I simply made sure to go out to lunch with her today, and then walked out to the parking lot with her at the end of the day for one last parking lot conversation. (Since we've been walking out to our cars together and chatting for most of the past 3 years.)

Hiring theory says that you shouldn't hire friends. But it sure is nice when you hire someone you've never met and get a new friend in the bargain.

On a not unrelated note: Work tomorrow is going to suck. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Movie Monday: Neighbors

You know those times when you think that maybe the movie you've chosen to go to may not have been the best choice?

You know how you often think, during the previews, that if those previewed movies are aimed at the same audience as what you're seeing it might be a bad choice?

Yeah. I went to one of those kinds of movies, yesterday: Neighbors.

The best way to describe it is a "frat house comedy." Or maybe a revenge comedy. It's also a grown-ups versus youngsters comedy - where both sides kind of lose, and both sides kind of win.

Unfortunately, I'm old. I was never in a frat. And the only revenge I want to take is on the people who make really bad movies that play to the lowest common denominators.

Yes, I had fun because I was there with a good friend, but that fun was before and after the movie, not during it.

Overall score: D. Yes, it played to its audience, but it could have been so much better...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Is This World Cup Related?

Much of the time, as an editor, I feel a bit like a writing coach. I find myself questioning what authors have written in the hopes of helping myself - and the authors - better understand the intended meaning of what has been written. And, hopefully, that will make it easier for the average reader buying the book.

Now, I didn't actually watch the World Cup soccer matches. At all. So maybe there is something about soccer that I simply missed because I'm not all into the lingo. I do know that a lot of my friends thought the guys running around in their short shorts were pretty hot. Sexy, even.

Yet, even with that in mind, I never expected - not in my wildest dreams - that I would ever find myself writing this in the margin of an edit: 

"I don't think you really want readers to imagine that this conversation will automatically lead to some kind of soccer-based sexual encounter."

So... yeah... that's one more thing I can check off my "I've never said that before" list.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Platypus Is Not A Metaphor

The book I'm currently working on is metaphor-packed. The title is a metaphor. The chapter titles are metaphorical. And in every. single. chapter. there are more metaphors.

There are animal metaphors. There are transportation metaphors. There are metaphors based on other metaphors.

I'm over halfway through it and I've kind of lost the point of the book, because I'm bogged down in so many metaphors. (One of which did include a bog, today.)

The book is taking me longer than I expected, simply because I keep forgetting what the author is referring to. And I've had to leave notes saying "I'm sorry, I don't understand this" more times than I care to count.

As I was thinking about all of these metaphors, I was reminded of a song on Phineas and Ferb which makes reference to metaphors. So I figured I'd share it (if you watch it, the title of this post will make more sense).

And, no, I don't mean that metaphorically - or a simile-ly either, for that matter.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nothing but a Dreamer?

So, as you may remember from Sunday, two of my cousins are currently in Paris. Where I used to live. A lifetime ago.

I've been back there a few times since then, but it's one of those cities that you kind of always want to go back to. Or at least it is for me. Of course, to be honest, depending on my mood, I might say I feel the same way about New York City, Montreal, Vancouver, San Francisco, London, and a number of other places.

Even so, typically, the places that I make an effort to get back to are places where I know people - even if the cities aren't all that exciting to me. So most of the places where I don't know people kind of take a back seat.

But, with my cousins in Paris - and with the knowledge that Christopher and I are hoping to go to Paris next spring to celebrate one of the milestone anniversaries of my time in Paris - it's hard not to daydream about it.

Today, that kind of came to a head when one of my cousins sent me a few photos of the street I used to live on. Sure, the street seems to have gone downhill (there was a lot of graffiti), but there also seemed to have been a lot of construction going on, which is a good sign.

And, somehow, they stumbled across the actual building I lived in. My apartment faced the street on the ground floor. So when they took a picture of the building, they were taking a picture of my actual apartment.

I swear to you that I did not get teary over the photo. (I may have gotten teary a bit later while thinking about what my year in the apartment in the photo has meant to my life, but that's a whole different idea.) But while trying to work on a really bad edit at work, I have to admit that the photo (which I kept up in a secondary browser at the back of my screen) sent me into a couple of hours of daydreaming.

On the plus side, though, considering that we already have the framework of plans for taking our trip next spring, I don't have to say that I'm "nothing but a dreamer" - because I can say that I'm also a planner. And if we learned anything from Sunday's post, we know how much that means to me.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wherein I Blame My Genetics (in a Good Way)

I have two cousins who are currently in Paris. Because I lived there for about a year a number of years ago, I'm always ready to give people tourist advice if they're going there.

Whether they want it or not.

I mean... I try to wait until they ask, but once they ask I figure it's fair game. And - since Christopher has also travelled to Paris a number of times, but has had different experiences than I have had (most of our travels there have been separate), I tend to also recommend places that he has suggested. So, if pressed, we could probably pre-plan about two weeks' worth of sightseeing in and around Paris for people.

But, you see, that makes perfect sense to me. I think it's a genetic predisposition to wanting to plan travel. It comes from my mom's side of the family, mostly.

When I was a little kid and we would go to visit my grandparents in Los Angeles, we'd arrive to find a calendar of events that were all planned. Our time was split among various relatives, and we knew when we arrived that we wouldn't have to make many decisions.

The same is true for people going to visit my parents. When we were growing up and people would be coming for a family reunion over the Fourth of July, my mom would put together a full list of things that were either Scheduled or Optional - just to make sure no one got bored. And this continues to this day.

My sisters do the same kinds of things. When my parents go to visit them (they live close enough together that my parents can visit both families at the same time), the schedule is pretty much set before Mom and Dad get there.

And, yes, I do the same exact thing. Before anyone arrives at our door, I've got a list of proposed ideas in mind. For instance, when my folks come to visit, I pretty much know which day we're most likely to go out to dinner, which day we're most likely to cook in, and which day would be best for them to go visit with other relatives.

I swear that it's all because I'm genetically pre-disposed to plan vacations and "visits."

This is, in part, why the fact that a good friend of ours coming into town in 3 weeks from New York has already received 2 surveys of things to eat and things to do. (Although she does not realize it, this is on top of the schedule I've already worked out in my head - and cleared with Christopher.) I believe we have enough to fill about 9 days on a calendar, although she's only going to be here for 3.5 days.

There is, of course, the chance that she'll get here and we'll completely throw everything out the window except for one or two must-do events that she and I have already confirmed. But I love the fact that it's all put together and plotted out in advance, just in case.

After all, I wouldn't want to let down the generations of planners who came before me, would I?

Friday, July 18, 2014

3-D Invasion

Let me admit, up front, that I have come to enjoy some 3-D movies. The first ones that came out in the latest round (so we're not talking from the 1950s, but the 2000s), were kind of overwrought and I tended to opt for the 2-D versions whenever possible. But, lately, I've been happy with more of the 3-D movies. 

In theaters. 

Yep. That's a huge point for me in this discussion. The whole "3-D in theaters" thing. 

Sure, some movies are still really gimmicky. There are a lot of action films where stuff gets thrown at the camera, or arrows go whizzing past, or stuff comes bouncing out at the screen. But there are others where the 3-D effects simply give the move more depth. Where it's not a movie with 3-D effects added, but it's actually a movie which just happens to be in 3-D. 

But... again... I still think it's best in the movie theater. 

You see, I don't expect to have a 3-D television any time soon, and so when you're watching a movie that was in 3-D in the theater - even the "serious" movies where they don't spend half the movie going "LOOK! IT'S IN 3-D!!" - I find that you can feel the moments where something was supposed to have happened. 

Why do I bring this up? Because, in the past week or so I have seen at least four movies on TV that were originally in 3-D. I honestly don't remember what the first one was - I just remember watching it and saying aloud at one point "Oh, that was a 3-D moment." The second movie was "Journey to the Center of the Earth" - the Brendan Fraser version - which is incredibly campy even without the effects. 

Then I tried to watch "The Great Gatsby" (the one from last year), but got massively bored with it because it was too slick and there were too many "look at this glorious 3-D scene" moments. 

And, without realizing it, I started to watch "The Legend of Hercules" just this evening only to watch arrows come flying toward the screen in the first few minutes alerting me to the fact that I could have seen it in 3-D if I had gone to a theater for it. 

Yes, I know it's kind of my own fault. If I had seen all of these in the theater (I did see "Journey" in the theater), then I wouldn't be going through all of this. But... still... The more I see the cheap versions of it, the more I long for the simple 2-D days. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weathering the TV Season (with Blossom and the Mystery Girls)

I admit it. I'm a little bit stuck in retro TV these days.

Over the past couple of weeks, since they started re-airing Blossom, I've watched multiple episodes.

Yes, many of them were last Friday when they were doing a reunion marathon with the actors who played Blossom, Six, Joey, and Anthony all back and chatting at the commercial breaks.

But I was still watching the episodes - and enjoying them for the most part. Heck, I even remembered some of them.

I've also been watching the new show Mystery Girls on ABC Family. It's an incredibly campy sitcom where two former stars of a TV crime show team up to open a real detective agency.

Why am I watching it if that is the best description I can come up with? Because it stars Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling (you know, from Beverly Hills, 90210). I've seen them each in other things, and they each have great comic timing. And they have such a deep history together that there are bound to be lots of in jokes and guest cameos.

Of course, I'm also watching a lot of other things. And the new Garfunkel & Oates comedy series coming to IFC later this year is already on my radar, but with all the weird news in the world - and frequent office stress at work - there's something nice about revisiting people you already know.

It's like eating ice cream on a thunderstorm-y night. It won't change the storm, but it sure makes weathering it more fun.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bonne Fete!

Sometimes it's hard to make sense of the most basic things.

When I told someone, yesterday, that I was going to a Bastille Day dinner, I was asked what one does at a Bastille Day dinner, and why anyone has one in the first place.

Basically, I said, "You eat a lot of French food to celebrate the time when a government was overthrown and people celebrated. Oh, and there was no cake."

Which, of course, led to the indepth sociopolitical question of "No cake?"

Yeah... So... Anyway...

Luckily, when the same topic came up later on and Christopher was around, he responded with something akin to: "Well, it's basically the same way we do the Fourth of July, but with better food."

And, you know, he wasn't wrong.

(In part, because there was cake.)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Travel Envy, in Perspective

This has been an odd year for me. After Christopher and I got back from Alaska last fall, I kind of immediately started thinking of where I might go next. It's one of the ways that I get through the day-to-day at work: planning my next trip.

So we started talking about various trips, and Christopher (who gets more vacation time than I do), started planning some trips with other friends.

And then, thanks to the miracles of social media, I started seeing all of the trips friends of ours were taking. For some reason, this was a very big year for friends of mine to go to Disney parks.

Yeah... it's now July, and I'm looking at no trips outside of the Minnesota/South Dakota duo of states any time between now and next spring. That's weird for me.

But, as I was talking to a friend tonight at dinner, she mentioned that one of her bucket list items is to go to New York City. She's never been and just can't wait to be able to go there.

Since I lived in Baltimore for a number of years, New York was an easy trip to take for a day or two.

So here I am... feeling a little sorry for myself for not having a vacation this year, and hearing that someone else would give almost anything to go somewhere I've gone many times before.

It's a weird perspective. Kind of like when you're staring at something and if you close one eye you see point A, but if you close the other eye you see point B. When what you really want is to see a good way for getting to point B from point A in the first place.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

ISO: One Personal Transporter

Christopher and I laugh about the fact that we frequently have one week or weekend that is completely empty of social events, and then we follow that up with a week or weekend that is massively booked.

I say that we laugh about it, but sometimes we just shake our heads and get kind of frustrated.

Last weekend, with the Fourth of July, was an odd mix of busy and not. I mean... All of the travel and family stuff made it busy, but there weren't a lot of separate social events.

This week has been fairly quiet. We had a few things tentatively on the calendar, but they faded away, and we've gotten to enjoy a couple of quiet nights.

Of course, this means that the coming weekend is booked from one end to the other. For me, it starts with an early end to the workday (summer hours have us closing down at 1), and then heading to a follow-up appointment for my jaw thing. And then out to run a few errands.

I realized a couple of days ago that I had 7 individual events on the calendar for the weekend - 4 things on Saturday, and 3 on Sunday. I really wanted to say that I was going to do all of them, but I sat down with Google maps tonight and had to admit that there was really no way I could do all of them.

Unless, of course, someone has a personal point-to-point transporter that I could borrow for the weekend. I'd also accept offers of cloning or some kind of Harry Potter-related magical transportation, if you happen to access to either of those.

If not... well... we'll just have to see what happens.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fezzes Are...

There are those mornings, when I'm driving to work, when I see some kind of odd things in downtown Minneapolis.

Sometimes, it's kind of "normal" odd things. Like the guy last week who obviously had a very nice torso, but (also obviously) didn't know the difference between a fitted, well-tailored shirt (which would have accentuated his body) and a simply too-tight shirt like the one he was wearing (which was puckered and tugged in all the wrong ways).

About once a week I see a guy walking down the street in a black button-down shirt and pleated black pants tucked into knee-high black boots - obviously on the way to work at Fogo de Chao (the Brazilian steakhouse).

And then, over the past couple of days, I've seen a lot of guys in fezzes. A LOT of guys. A LOT of fezzes. Although I would love it if this was because all these guys were avid Dr. Who watchers who heard him say that fezzes were cool and planned their style around it. But I heard from someone today that there is a Shriners Convention in town.

Kinda makes me wonder what the crowds are going to be like next week with the All Star game in town...

Sunday, July 6, 2014

When the Reason Goes Away

I never know what to do when I'm watching a TV show and the person I really like goes away.

It's bad enough when it's a scripted TV show and there are other characters that you can kind of shift your attention to. But, lately, I've also been having issues with people getting bumped off of the only reality shows I watch.

There are only two reality shows I always watch: The Amazing Race and Food Network Star. (Before Christopher says anything, I'll fully admit that I watch other reality shows - just not all the time. And not usually long enough to really get attached to any of the characters.)

This season I've been having this problem with Food Network Star. I keep watching people I really don't like - and would never watch on their own shows - go forward, while people I like get sent home.

And, as of this week, I'm getting to the "Is there enough reason to keep watching?" stage.

So... With the primary reason to watch the show gone, how do I reasonably justify continuing to watch it?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July = Muppets

In honor of the impending Fourth of July weekend, I offer you this Muppetational treat from a few years back.

Enjoy. (I know that I did - and do every time I see it.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bad Quote Quotient: Play On

As a general rule, I really enjoy working on short essays and memoirs. They tend to be easy to focus on, have concise stories, and - especially nice for me - have a clear point.

I also usually like things that come into our office having already been edited.

Unfortunately, when the "editor" of the book has also written an introduction to the book of short memoir-ish essays, and when that editor's own piece has no focus, rambles, and seems to lose its point, that does not bode well for the rest of the book.

The book I'm currently working on, sadly, is of that latter ilk.

Because I find it is bad for me to squint at the screen while trying to figure out what some of the sentences mean (I swear that's why I've got the frown creases in the middle of my forehead), I've opted to laugh at some of them. Which may be why my officemate has been wearing her headphones a lot in the past week. Because many portions of this manuscript are really really funny. Unintentionally so, but funny, nonetheless.

For instance, today's gem just goes to show how - if you find a good tennis partner - you never want to let him go:

My late husband Bill and I continued to play tennis, swim, hike, and bike...

I'm guessing that he didn't have a ghost of a chance at returning her serve.