So you can get my book for 99 CENTS this week…

Who doesn’t have a dollar to spend on themselves this holiday season?

Well I am one of them, but let’s not go there.

I mean that this holiday season you will all be shelling out tons of moolah on other people, and no doubt stressing about family Christmas drama and being alone (or worse – with your spouse) on New Years…you owe it to yourself to spend that buck and get some quick laughs.

From now until next Wednesday (December 11) you can get My Wife’s A Bitch for only 99 CENTS!

The catch is that’s just Kindle download. You can do it to your Kindle device, your Kindle app on your Smartphone, or even just save it to the Kindle cloud and read it from any computer when logged into your Amazon account.

Click the link. Buy the book. Enjoy the laughs.

In Eternal Love and Bitching – H

STFU Fridays: Stop Blogging and Start Writing, People

Blogher13 is on. For those of you not into the whole blogging community thing, Blogher is an annual conference for … duh … bloggers. I’ve never been, so I won’t go on lambasting it for all the reasons I hate conferences in general. For the record, I do. Hate conferences. It isn’t anything against Blogher, just gatherings of the sort on the whole. Conventions and such just aren’t my thing. I’m not into the booths and the sales pitches; nor the big badges. Especially not the inflated fees. And the sitting there laughing and clapping right on cue when the guest speaker says something that is just supposed to WOW us all – in the words of my 90s self: gag me with a spoon. I will, however, discuss something I think everyone at that conference should be talking about.

Writers: stop blogging and start writing, already.

I think there is a huge difference between blogging and writing. One so huge that it contends with the gaping hole that is my big, loud mouth. For this STFU Fridays, I’d like to discuss this – this cavern so hidden, so elusive, and so unrecognized that many of us fail to recognize it is even there.

Blogs Are Not Articles

Your blog is not the Huffington Post. It is not the New York Times. It will never be the Chicago Tribune. Sure, you may one day be featured on one of those sites, or be asked to contribute. But your personal website containing a blog ain’t it.

You know what that means? You shouldn’t be writing your blogs as though they are professional articles. Sure, act professionally, but can it with the unproven “facts,” the absolutely insane claims, and the vague analogies and hackneyed lists that you think are totally relevant content, yet everyone and their mother has blogged about.

If I read one more 5 Ways To Survive Summer, or 10 Things You Should Blog About blog posts, I’m going to shoot myself in the face.

And enough with the product endorsements already? I get it: bloggers (especially mom bloggers) get a lot of free shit in exchange for writing reviews. But man is it the most annoying thing ever to visit a blog and see that all its posts for the last six months were reviews of Chobani yogurt.

Stick it with all that shit. Just stick it. Shut the fuck up. A blog is a web-log. A log of your life, your experiences, your opinions. Make it look nice, sure. Sound fancy when you do so. But don’t pretend that it is something it is not.

Blogs Can Have Good Writing, But You Are Only A Writer If…

… you follow basic rules of grammar and syntax.

…. you be respectful of literary devices and the unspoken rules of the literary world (ex: a journey into the forest is always a metaphor for self-discovery, and rain means shit’s about to go down).

… learn to use your motherfucking spell check.

Really. What is so difficult about proof-reading or even just hitting the ABC-checkmark button that all blog interfaces have? Are we living in another arena of time and space where it is actually hard to spell “definitely?” If I see DEFINITELY spelled DEFIANTELEY one more time, I believe that my head will DEFINITELY explode, resulting in a DEFINITELY messy situation.


Bloggers: if you want to be writers, for the love of God just shut the fuck up long enough to do a quick proof-read. If you really don’t want to be a writer, that’s cool. But I’ll be the first to draw the line in the sand, here, and if that makes me a bad person – so be it. The profession of writing has been devalued far more than I am willing to just continue to sit by and keep shut-ted the fuck up about.

Stop Blogging And Start Writing, People

Blogging is so much more than just writing words on a blog-style formatted website. It’s going to conferences. It’s networking. It’s posting on Facebook and Twitter and Hootsuite and Klout and LinkedIN and YouTube and Squidoo and Networked Blogs and Google + and blah blah blah blah blah. It’s posting three to five supposedly-quality posts a week. It’s posting what everyone is posting about, using terms everyone uses, and giving shout outs to your favorite blogs ad nauseum, even if you have never actually read them and only call them “favorite” because you think they’ll mention you back, publicly. It’s doing link ups and hosting link ups and commenting and guest blogging (UPDATE: not to be a hypocrite on the whole favorites shout out thing, but one of mine ironically just talked about this today on her own blog, 25toFLy).

Some of the most popular blogs I know of are the shittiest things I have ever read in my entire life, though. It’s true, and it’s because blogging is not necessarily writing.

I’m not by any means touting my own blog as unicorns and rainbows and butterflies and horses that don’t poop when it comes to writing. And I myself have – on more occasions than I would like to admit – fallen into the trap of blogging instead of writing. Finally a few weeks ago, though, I sat myself down and said: Me, it’s about time you shut the fuck up and get back to being a writer.

Which is why I have a big announcement to make today, on this most glorious of shut the fuck up Fridays. It’s about time that I take my own advice and step back as a blogger, and forward as a writer. This doesn’t mean that I’m quitting the blog altogether. That would mean that I would have to stop bitching and complaining and carping and griping – and I think my most faithful of blog followers know that is just not going to happen. It does, however, mean that I’m going to finally get cracking on finishing my novel. It’s almost done and through the final stage of editing, so to motivate me to really stop blogging and start writing, I’m happy to announce it’s official release date of December 10, 2013. It’s called The Storytellers and promises to make you cry. Scratch that: it promises to make you weep.

In other words, it will be nothing like a blog. I know you will all love it anyway.

When push comes to shove we all have to tell our own selves to shut the fuck up once in a while. That’s what I’ve done and I think you should do too. If you are a blogger, I ask that you consider for yourself what makes you proud of the things you put out there. Is it that they are popular and catchy reviews of Chobani yogurt? Or is it your writing? Stop blogging and start writing, people. Because when written word goes away, what will we really have left? That may be too philosophical for you faithful blog followers to think about, but then again – for many of us – it is perhaps the most frightening thought there could be.

Chicagoland Bloggie Friend Frolic

I’m super duper sorry that I’ve been so minimal on the blog these last few weeks, you guys. It’s just that life got crazy a few days before we left for vacation, and it’s only now calming down as we go into the second week of our month-long stay in the Chicagoland area.

So before blathering on in blog posts later this week about all this crazy shiz that’s gone down while here, I wanted to first let everyone know about the Chicagoland Bloggie Friend Frolic that is in the works of organization for Sunday, July 14th at 4 pm in the suburb of Glen Ellyn.

It’s nothing fancy. Just people meeting up in a bar-ish type of casual setting. There’s a Facebook event for it you can check out. And above all, please share with people you think might be interested!

Whether you are a mom blogger, a tech blogger, a something-else blogger, an “I don’t blog but I read blogs” person, or someone that just enjoys laughter, come on by!!

Click the photograph to get the Facebook event invite. And make sure to RSVP so we have an idea of who to look for!


Has the Blogosphere Become High School All Over Again?

Short answer: YES. Long answer:

I wrote a blog about six months ago called “Are Bloggers Becoming Mean Girls?” In it I argued against the notion that bloggers are cliquey. I had seen some bloggers complaining about how they couldn’t seem to “break in” to the mom blog, and other blog community, cliques, and for this they felt a great injustice. In the post, I started by saying:

In high school, I hated the cliques. Now when I think of them I think of Mean Girls with Linsay-the-trainwreck-Lohan. When you have cliques, you have backstabbing. You have cheating. You have a load of gossip. You have more drama than a daytime soap opera. And you have people being excluded for no reason other than that they aren’t “cool” enough, by whatever standards of “cool” the clique collectively determines. I have a hard time believing that bloggers have become Mean Girls.

Either I was terribly wrong, or things have changed. A lot. Today – over six months after writing that blog – I believe more than ever that bloggers are the new Mean Girls. In fact, I know exactly who could be slated as the main characters (although I’ll keep that opinion to myself).

Let’s examine how my opinions have changed.

#1 Good versus Bad Content

In my post six months ago, I argued that maybe it isn’t really you or your blog, per se; just that you were not one of the more popular blogs because you had an absence of good blog content. And this is perhaps the most compelling reason in my mind now for proof that the blogosphere has become high school all over again: there is more bad content out there than my mom’s supply of edible panties.

It’s just like in high school. The meanest and ugliest girls were always the most popular. The douchiest guys with the worst acne were co-captains of the football team.

Sure, when you give access to a portal of information sharing to anyone and everyone, you’re going to have gads of bad content. But I’m not just talking about your run-of-the-mill crap that never gets around. I’m referring to the truly bad content that gets thousands (dare I suggest millions?) of hits. That everyone knows about. The bad content that people “like” and comment and share and find witty, in spite of its over all dryness, lack of whit, lack of insight, and glaring grammatical errors.

Here’s the deal: if you are going to call yourself a writer, be one. Only post what’s good. Get the opinion of others (and by that I mean objective others, not your BFFs) before you just assume that anything coming out of you is the next best thing to bars of gold. If you think you’re a writer, prove it with good spelling and appropriate grammar, and nipping your verbosity problem in the bud once and for all. Make sure everything you write about has something to do with your overall point. And for God’s sakes, make sure your blog post makes at least one ounce of sense.

Otherwise, you’re just another pimply captain of the football team, or mean girl wandering the halls of high school. You may be popular, but in the end your blog is nothing but garbage.

#2 Lying versus Honesty

I think that when I wrote that post last year, I was terribly idealistic as to the nature of the blog community. I suggested that your blog may not be that popular because you are dishonest. I really believed that truth prevailed in the world of the blogosphere – as if it is not merely a microcosm of the world at large, where the only people who truly prevail are those whose words uttered are rarely truth.

In high school, everyone creates themselves and others through a series of lies. That’s how the gossip train starts as well. In real life, we’re all supposed to transcend beyond all this lying bullshit and to achieve our successes off honesty.

How infrequently that happens – in life, as well as the blogosphere.

I know a lot of big gun bloggers that lie through their teeth, so much so that there is probably little truth to anything they say. It’s one thing to be anonymous or to change characteristics of people for safety and fairness and such. It’s another thing to fake celebrity endorsements. To claim site statistics that the public record on Alexa shows are clearly false. To say you write for all these different sites, when in fact those sites wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot poll.

To call yourself a writer.

Not to get too uppity about this, but there is actually a criteria for calling yourself a writer. Any old blogger is not a writer. For one, a writer of fiction and Fox News has the liberty to lie. The rest do not. For two, a writer writes good content with attention to rules of writing – as mentioned in point #1. (And to those you unaware, yes: there are rules of writing.) Without some attention to these things, some honesty and brevity, a blogger cannot call him or herself a writer any more than I can call myself the Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa.

Well they can, but it would be a lie.

#3 Gossip and Exclusion

What I’ve learned more than anything over the last six months since writing “Are Bloggers Becoming Mean Girls?” is that the blogosphere (at least the parenting blog blogosphere) is loaded with gossip and exclusion. Really great blogs are excluded all the time – and I can’t really put my finger on why. There is a lot of “you pat my back, I’ll then turn that back on you and pretend we don’t know each other” as well. I see it all the time, and is another thing I spoke to the contrary six months ago.

And the gossip is worse than high school. In high school the gossip hurt – don’t get me wrong, it did. People said I stuffed my bra when my boobs grew overnight. That hurt, but it went away eventually. I got over it. One time a friend of mine was dating another friend and a gossip train started that she was cheating on him. That caused some drama in our circle of friends; yet, perhaps more mature than some of the adults I know in the blogging community, as a group we talked about it and it all worked out.

Not in the blog community, though. Here the gossip runs rampant. There is no end to it. There are no resolutions. So and so is doing this to screw everyone else. This writer is stealing content. That writer is not giving us proper credit. God it’s awful, and everywhere – email, Twitter, and the ever-ominous Facebook updates that are meant to be vague, but cause such a ruckus you start to wonder what the point is of any of this.

Courtesy of FriendFace Town ... for more of their satire on all the weirdness on Facebook

Courtesy of FriendFace Town … for more of their satire on all the weirdness on Facebook

Here’s the thing about blogging: it’s a double-edged sword. Everyone can do it. But then again, everyone (with a computer and an opinion) can do it. There is a lot of bad stuff out there. There is a lot of good stuff out there too. There are popular blogs, sure; but there are no cool people. As a fellow blogger, or just a reader who likes information other than what the mass media puts out there, take a step back from your old-favorites and take a look around. Falling for the bad content and the lies, and narrowing yourself to a small group for no reason other than you don’t know any better, makes you nothing more than a bleating sheep. For every bit of crap you fall for, day in and day out, there is a world of awesome out there, just waiting to be discovered.

People I Am Currently Mad At

I’m in the midst of a little pity party. I do this sometimes (probably a lot of times, actually) – my life leaves much to be desired at times and can be pretty humdrum. With a husband I rarely see, a continued lack of interest in anything going on around me, and feeling somewhat purposeless in the grand scheme of things, right now it is especially that way. So like all people that refuse to medicate their way through life, I’m in a bit of a slump at the present time. You faithful blog followers may have even noticed that my posts have been a little mundane as of late.

I realize, though, that it has a lot to do with the fact that I am currently mad at a few people, or possibly groups of people, for various and probably stupid reasons. If you are one of these people, I don’t actually expect you to care – in some cases because you are a part of a group that can best be described ‘narcissistic assholes;’ in the rest because my reasons are pretty stupid and bitchy.

The Catholics

I’m not really mad at the Catholics in the sense that I’m mad at all Catholics, I’m mad at the Catholics that are shoving their abortion and birth control agendas down everyone’s throats. I’m Catholic. My family is Catholic. I don’t believe in abortion as birth control. But I also don’t believe in shoving my beliefs down other people’s throats. If someone else isn’t Catholic and does believe in abortion there is absolutely no reason why I have a right to tell them what to do. I’m what they call a ‘Catholic for Choice’ – for which there are many. I also have enough of an understanding of this fucked up world to know that every circumstance is different. While I don’t believe in abortion as birth control, if I were raped by a complete stranger and wound up pregnant I would be swallowing the RU486 before the doctor could say “take this with food.”

Further, I’m tired of the Catholics shoving their bull shit agendas down everyone’s throats. If someone needs to take birth control – whether it be painful menstrual cramps, hormonal imbalances, irregular menstrual bleeding, prevention of ovarian cancer due to high family risk, or to avoid more fucking ugly and annoying babies from littering the planet with their ugliness, that is their business and their business alone.

Hello Kitty Toaster and the Whole In-law Brain Drain

That’s right, I’m mad at the in-laws. Every single one of them. They don’t care, really – in fact, they are probably just chalking this up to being another reason why I’m a big asshole they wish would get run over by a 6 ton bus. But I’m mad. My anger towards them actually started years ago when my husband and I were still dating and we moved in together. Momma Bear was unhappy about this choice and so suggested to my to-be husband that we would move in together only for him to find out that I was cheating on him. I’d have to say it all went down hill there. I usually don’t spend too much time being mad at those people, though, because they very rarely enter my thoughts. Nonetheless, I’m still mad in a general ‘I’ll probably always harbor some sort of upsettedness’-way because they do continue to affect my life in a negative way, even if it is just in the terribly narcissistic influence they have had on my husband (see opening comment on never seeing him…).

But I’m mad at Hello Kitty Toaster too because I’m resentful that her life is so perfect and mine is so … well, humdrum. My husband says this is jealousy but I maintain it is something different. There are definitely people I am jealous of – most notably my former grad school cohorts that have all now gone on to PhD programs and law school, while I went promptly to a life of cooking, cleaning, and writing things that may never be read. I’m definitely jealous of them because I want what they have. But I don’t want what Hello Kitty Toaster has, per se … I’m just angry that she isn’t aware of how difficult life can be like me. Her canned “I love life and shit rainbows and eat Hello Kitty toast every fucking day” attitude makes me want to puke my guts out, simply because it is so unrealistic and childish.

People for whom I have been supportive and have failed to return said support

I am not supportive of others just to get some sort of return. Not in the least. But when people don’t scratch my back in return time and time again, it starts to beg the question: are these people in this just for their own self-interest? Relationships of any kind – romantic, business, friendship, familial – are all dependent on a give and a take. If people just take-take-take, and never give, then there is something wrong with the picture.

What is wrong with this picture, you ask? For one, writers that I am friends with that I support by purchasing their books, talking about their writing, and sharing their work with others, flat out refusing to purchase my stupid $2.99 book on Kindle; saying publicly that they don’t buy “that kind of stuff.” What kind of stuff is that, oh pompous ones? I get that I can be a pretty rancid cup of tea to choke down at times, and I do say ‘dick’ and ‘balls’ more than any well-respected lady rocking an apron and pearls ever should, but come on. The least these people could do is say they’re going to buy my book and then just never actually buy it. Or say nothing.



I’m not mad at all bloggers, I’m mad at these bloggers that are destroying the Internet with their pornography and mundane bullshit. I don’t mean mundane like my mundane, I mean mundane like posting another goddamned recipe for chipotle mayonnaise. These asshats that post picture blogs of their latest adventure in making fucking macaroni and cheese with a hint of some obscure spice to make it sound “original.” I’m talking about bloggers that give us a rundown of their stupid ass day that involved nothing of interest beyond “I went to work.”

I’m also talking about bloggers that steal each others’ ideas. I know what you are thinking – are there any original ideas anymore? No. No there are not. That said, if I post a blog about people I am currently mad at, it is going to do nothing but piss me off if I see that you ‘liked’ my blog post and then promptly posted the same goddamn fucking post with your own set of people like five minutes later. I’m not talking about similar posts here that happen to go up coincidentally at the same general time frame. I’m talking straight out intellectual property theft. You know what else is going to make me mad? The fact that your stupid fucking blog – which will no doubt be written with much less decorum and proper syntax as mine – will be the one that goes viral. It will be the one that gets Freshly Pressed and all sorts of fanfare; that will get you a fucking book contract whilst I continue to stew in my being mad at the world, writing shit my writers group calls ‘cute.’

My Writers Group

That is actually all writers groups, actually. Quite a few months ago, I took a seminar about getting published (which hasn’t done me one bit of good, I might add) and the leader of the seminar warned emphatically against waisting time in writers groups. I should have listened to that bitch. Boy was she right.

One writers group I am in is run by the flyest lady over 40 I have ever met. No jokes, she is awesome. But the rest of the people are sort of annoying. One laughs at me constantly and makes jokes out of critiquing me; calls me ‘cute.’ One owes me money for setting up her website. One has never actually written comments of critique on my work.

Writers either love you or hate you. They love you if your work genuinely blows. They hate you if your work is genuinely good. Hemingway, Sartre, Steinbeck, Faulkner, and Fitz all said this in different words. Any writer that cannot admit to this is probably one of those asshats that refused to buy my book publicly, or shows up at people’s Oscar Parties to shovel all their food and use a private party as a book promotion event.

All those jerk faces that claim social networking is profitable

It isn’t. I have spent so much time trying to market myself on the Internet. They said “make a Facebook ‘like’ page,” so I did. They said “make a Twitter page and Tweet,” so I did. They said to do Tumblr and blog 3 – 5 times a week, so I joined the masses and did. But for all the time it has taken, it hasn’t profited to such a degree that it made it worth while. And now it’s moving to new venues – Google+, LinkedIN, and this stupid new shit Pinterest. Everyone is migrating over to Pinterest, it seems, and I’m sitting here wondering how this is any different than every other two-bit, cheap shit social network out there. What I really think the problem is with all these sites and why it is not as profitable as the experts claim is that there are just too many people out there trying to do the same, exact thing.

But on the note of social networks and Pinterest, what is the deal with this? Pinterest is the fastest growing website ever in the history of the entire Internet. People don’t seem to get how huge that is, especially for a website that is basically the same thing as 2 or 3 hundred other websites already in existence. All I see on it are women posting outfits they like and fatty recipes that look good but sound horrible. And now Facebook posts are all about Pinterest – here is the project I did because of my Pinterest inspiration; look at the meal I made because of Pinterest! If one more person says “I am Pinterest obsessed” I think I’m going to cancel my Internet altogether and go hide in a cave with nothing but nuts, berries, my books, and a flashlight.

Okay, so maybe I’m just mad at everyone. Maybe I’m just being my usual misanthropic self. Maybe (definitely) I have P.M.S. Or could I be on to something? Is this world full of assholes – with the few good ones trying desperately to wade through the mire and not get slogged down by all the opportunistic bull shit? Really, I think I’m just being my usual self – a bitch against the world.

Well we can call that “the last Oscar Party we will ever throw”…

… or how about “the last PARTY FOR ANYTHING we will ever throw?”

My husband and I used to be real party-throwers. A lot of people came. We had a lot of food, drinks, and fun. There were often themes – like the Ugly Sweater Party we threw one year around Christmas time. There were ones for no reason at all but to get together. But in the last few years, things have tapered off a little. For one, we are more busy, just as our friends and family are much more busy. As you get into your late 20s, regular partying for the sake of partying just isn’t on the top of your priority list when you have jobs, bills, homes, relationships, kids – you get the point. The last real party we had prior to now was a housewarming at our old place, which resulted in me getting so drunk I got sick and waking up the next morning with our friend Ross hugging me in his sleep.

Finally, after quite an hiatus on throwing parties, my husband and I decided to throw an Oscar Party this year. Last year we planned one but I got sick in the end so it was canceled; and we have a lot of friends we wanted to see that we now live much closer to.

Mistake One: Forgetting what I just said about how busy everyone is.

So we decided to have this party and I suppose just expected everyone to suddenly not be as busy as they normally are. We are just as busy as them, but for some stupid reason we thought it would pan out. In the end, only three people came. After the party was over with, my husband and I were talking about some of the mind-boggling shit that went down and he said “hey, they’re your people.” Well, it’s true – they are my people. “But at least my people showed up” was my response. Really, though, you’ll see that I think that between his people never showing up, my people showing up and being absolute slobs, we’re just going to stop having parties.

 Mistake Two: Posting about it on my Facebook page.

My personal Facebook page is set to private and I stupidly posted the event on my page completely forgetting that there are some people on there that I don’t actually know much about. One of them is a writer that is in a writers group I am in – the man and I have never exchanged more than a sentence: “looks like you found my goat” (in reference to my former cover picture). He does not follow my blog. He has never come to a meeting I have attended. And yet when I posted on my page about our party, he stated he and his wife would be coming.

Mistake Three: Stating that we would have food.

When the writer I had never met before and his wife showed up two and a half hours after our party began, they had not even gotten through introductions and walked in the fucking door and he said “you know what we could use: some food.”

They then proceeded to sit down and eat us out of house and home.

The wife picked up the bowl of green olives and ate the entire thing. There were two jars of olives poured in there when the party started, we each had a few, then she got a hold of them and two olives (TWO FUCKING OLIVES!) remained when they left.

They each ate – by my count – eight pieces of garlic bread and destroyed the fucking stuffed shells I had made.

I had also baked a cake. To be precise, it was a chocolate cake with two layers held together with a homemade chocolate raspberry cream sauce (pictured above). We were waiting to have cake until a little later in the evening, but as soon as this guy and his wife finished hogging down the rest of our food, he grabbed the cake knife and just dug right in. Licking his fingers and the raspberries off the side of the plate, I lost my appetite for anything, including having any parties for any reason ever again.

Mistake Four: Being Facebook friends with writers I don’t really know.

If I hadn’t posted that damn thing on Facebook, I know the guy never would have seen it. But I also think my big mistake really traces back to the fact that I’m Facebook friends with a writer I don’t really know. Writers are really assholes. Dickwads. Fuckfaces. Opportunists. A greater writer once said: “writers…they either love you because your writing is genuinely bad, or they hate you because your writing is genuinely good.” I know a lot of writers that I think are great friends, but sadly I have to remind myself of that every time the task of writing comes into play.

So after feeding time at the barnyard came to an end, and we were about halfway through the Oscars, the guy and his wife flipped the evening into being about promoting his book. They handed out bookmarks and compared it to Harry Potter. Harry-Fucking-Potter!! Then shortly after asking me for a little more information about the writers group I knew him through, they announced that they had to leave. There was still about another hour and a half of the Oscars – the reason for the party. I felt like thanking them for coming to his book dinner, since clearly this was a free meal to promote his book (in his mind). Unreal.

Mistake Five: Having faith in humanity

What has happened to this world where people are so goddamned opportunistic like this? I struggle every day to find meaning, purpose, and value in my own life. Is this what others do to achieve that? Do they show up and force themselves on others, take what they can, and then get the fuck out to move on to the next endeavor? Is this how people are striving to reach their goals? By turning everything into being about them and for them? For the remainder of the Oscars, my mind was completely boggled. My mind was already pretty boggled going in, but now! Now I appear to have lost all faith in humanity. We have become nothing but the opportunistic pigs Orwell foretold. What grates at my faith in humanity even more is that I know many of you do not even know what I just referred to.

What the fuck. I give up. And if you are my husband and actually reading this, we are no longer throwing parties.

Looks Like SOPA Dropped the Soap

There is nothing in this world that I dislike more than feeling morally obligated to participate in a protest. They are usually just so time consuming and messy; and it typically just makes me more jaded about the world in general as a result of the number of people that are there yet unaware of why. I will never forget the time my boss sent me to a protest of some health care thing when I worked for the AFL-CIO, only to feel like complete shit about my own life afterwards because I was fighting for health insurance for a group of workers when I, myself, was not being given health insurance by my employer that sent me there in the first place. Protests can be effective, but they can also be very ineffective, and in many ways.

But this SOPA/PIPA deal is a whole other ball game.

You all know how I feel about the film industry. If you don’t, you can get an idea by reading the Open Letter to the Film Industry I wrote a while back when I was pissed off about how many hours my husband was working for not one red penny of extra pay. In a nut shell, the film industry ranks up there pretty high alongside protests with things in this world that I really dislike. Not only do I feel that it is in some ways responsible for the end of my career in academia (for there are few philosophers in Hollywood, and yet Hollywood is where the husband must stay); but so much about it just reeks of greed, insensitivity, and a way of thinking that is inconsistent with the moral right. The film industry days of Cary Grant and Gloria Swanson have been gone for a long time; replaced by an industry that identifies everything by the almighty dollar. SOPA and it’s lame ass cousin, PIPA, are just more of that.

Now I’m not going to sit here and give you all a Congressional rundown of what SOPA and PIPA are because you should know that. If you don’t, read the news or hit up Wikipedia; of course this will also require that you get your head out of the ground for a few minutes, which I’m not sure a lot of people are all-too-willing to do. So I won’t go much beyond saying that they are bills working their way through Congress that are intended to strengthen the film (and, in some senses, music) industry against online piracy. (And if you still can’t find the information, just read the Wikipedia on it; although at midnight EST, Wiki will be protesting as well by enforcing an entire-site outage for 24 hours.)

I will, however, explain quite clearly what is wrong with SOPA.

SOPA/PIPA is an utter violation of our First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

It is a slippery slope when you start writing bills that give people the opportunity to whistle blow or claim false copyright/piracy infringement on intellectual property, which SOPA and PIPA both do. Perhaps the most frightening aspects of the bill are in the consequences: that search engines like Google could be forced to stop indexing articles written by a so-called offender; that Internet Service Providers be required to block access to any site participating in or related to the supposed violation.

While I am all for an end to piracy, censorship and directly stripping the rights guaranteed as a part of being a “free” individual is not the way to do it.

So it looks like SOPA dropped the soap…

Yesterday, Wikipedia announced that it will be participating in an international protest of SOPA by “going dark;” today, Google followed up by committing to an inclusion of the protest on the homepage of Google products. At the latest check about one hour ago, over 7,000 additional websites have committed to go down, displaying nothing more than a message of protest when visitors visit the page from 12:00 am – 11:59 pm on January 18th. Hundreds of bloggers are jumping on the bandwagon as well – as writing, journalism, and blogging are among the most vulnerable groups that will be adversely affected by the proposed bills.

So it looks like SOPA has officially dropped the soap, for I fully expect that the outrage these bills have inspired will kill them quicker than the innocence of a new guy in the prison ward. As annoying as it may be to have so many websites we use on a daily basis down, and as stupid as it is that we have to launch an international protest over something that should be common sense – protest really seems to be the only morally right option.

There are better ways to protect the film and music industry without destroying the free speech of all.

To be honest, after being married to someone who works in the film industry, I am in no way surprised that it has made it this far. The film industry is run by primarily greedy, selfish people – people that care only about the bottom line dollar amount that makes its way into their pockets. They will screw anyone and everyone to get ahead, and the worst part is that the people that work within the film industry don’t even recognize this. The bias most people within the industry carry blinds them to a myriad of injustices that they unintentionally contribute to – from bad labor practices to unfair wages to these issues of censorship. But that doesn’t make it any less sickening to see the special interests of a handful threatening the rights and freedoms of everyone.

So, faithful blog followers, I’m sad to say that the B(itch)Log will be taken down for the 24 hour protest, and many of my blogging counterparts plan to do the same. I apologize for the inconvenience, although I’m fairly certain the only ones who will be truly inconvenienced are all these weirdos looking for photos of a Korean hooker. I hope the rest of you do the same as I am – call your local representative, take down your site, refuse to be censored. It is so much more difficult to get your freedom of speech back once it has been taken away. I hate protests. But I hate the silencing of my voice even more.

Magic Number 100, or things I want to do before I turn 30

Yippy!  This is my 100th blog post!  Excitement abound at the Schmidt Ranch, and of course by excitement I mean me (in pajamas) skipping around the house and sipping an extra large bottle of bubbly, Canada Dry ginger ale.

For me, faithful blog followers, this is an exciting day.  That I have had enough things to bitch and complain about to constitute one hundred entire blog postings is, in itself, something exciting.  But it also may not be surprising – I have a whole cadre of things filed away in my head, just waiting to get out.  The topics have been varied, although it is obvious what my pet peeves are:  stupid people, hipsters, hillbillies, poor use of the English language, things that put me either in danger or at an inconvenience, and … well, basically the rest of humanity.

So for my 100th post, though, I wanted to do something different.  While it is the B(itch)log, I thought it would be nice if I didn’t bitch for once.  Instead, I thought I would talk about something more positive:  My Revised List of Things I Want To Do Before I Turn 30.  I decided to do this for my 100th blog post, mainly because hitting 100 posts was one of those things I recently added to the list of things I want to do before I turn 30; also, because I am just a few, short days away from 6 months out from the big 3-0.  For years (actually over a decade), I had this extensive list that I wanted to achieve, all of which I have failed to do.  So recently, I started scaling back and accepting that I probably won’t publish that book or finish that Ph.D. in the next six months.  That doesn’t mean I can’t do some things, though.  So here we go, and I am counting on you, faithful blog followers, in keeping me on task:

My Revised List of Things I Want To Do Before I Turn 30

1.  Finish 40 books for the calendar year 2011 and get a good start on 40 for 2012.  At the beginning of this year, I decided I was going to keep track of the books I read and try to read as many quality books as I could before December 31st.  Now that we are nearing the end of the year, I am within site of 40 and think I can do it.  I have just finished numbers 30 and 31 … just a few more to go.  For my completed list, click here!

2.  Go on a date with Wolf Blitzer.  I know, sounds psychotic, right?  A week or so ago, I blogged about my hatred of Chicago news-weatherman Tom Skilling and in it mentioned that I have a secret love of Wolf Blitzer.  After that blog went out, people emailed me, Facebooked me, and even asked me in person what it was that gave me the hots for Wolf.  In truth, I can’t explain it.  But as I grasped for any reason to give people, I realized that I really do have an infatuation with most news anchors that are as hard-hitting as Blitzer is.  Since my chances of even coming in contact with Wolf Blitzer, let alone going on a date with him without finding myself in divorce court shortly thereafter, though, are slim and none … not to mention I would probably pee my pants if Wolf, Chris Matthews, or any of the other dream-teamers were actually in the same room as me … see photoshop below.  Mission accomplished?  I think so!

3.  Prove to myself once and for all that I am going to stop letting what other people say influence me so much.  A few weeks ago, I realized that I spend more time writing as an author based on what other people suggest and what other people are going to want, rather than what I want to write and what I know is good.  This is something that, unfortunately, is in almost every aspect of my life:  I let myself get pushed around by the wishes of others rather than either a compromise or what I know is right.  Before I turn 30, I want to prove it to myself that I am working to get over this (sometimes crippling) fault:  be it in my writing, my blog, or some other arbitrary aspect of my life.

4.  Buy a plane ticket to take a trip home sometime in 2012.  This is a big psychological problem for me, mainly because I know that flying home to sweet home Chicago will make it very difficult for me to get on the return plane home.  I am that homesick that often.  But I have missed so much in the last decade of my absence that to continue to forestall a trip back is just plain assholish of me to do.  It’s time for me to put on my big girl pants and buy myself a trip home.  While I know it won’t be the same as it was a decade ago (when I was last there), I also know that there is so much there I need to see and do before I turn the page to the next chapter (so to speak).

5.  On the note of trips … take a road trip to northern California to visit the John Steinbeck museum.  I really have few other interests in northern California besides that, but it is something I have wanted to do for years and yet never done.

6.  Eat sushi.  I have never eaten sushi – real sushi, that is – and yet every time we go out for Japanese food (which is frequently), I pine after it.  I have no idea what my fear of it is – probably the fact that I don’t really like fish all that much, as well as the fear that I would develop deadly tomaine poisoning – but I want to get over it and try it, just once.

That’s six things, as compared to my prior list of twenty-five (which you do not even want to read, it is that sad).  If you count my 100th blog post, which I am now about to hit “publish” on, that is seven; I think manageable given the time frame and my idiosyncrasies.  Let’s knock another one off that list … right ….. now …. this was on our way out for a nice, celebratory dinner in honor of my 100th blog post (in my head, that is) …………. the only thing needed is an audio file you faithful blog followers could play over and over of me going “Oh Wolf!”

Happy 100 Blog Followers!!  Thanks for reading!