(parenthetically speaking)

a random gal’s random thoughts about nothing and everything in general

I Only Do It for Money Anymore July 11, 2009

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Hey, baby, what'll it be?

When I first started this blog, I was obsessed by the number of hits I got. I’d check the stats several times a day, and actually battled my brother—who started his blog, jonwbecker.wordpress.com, at about the same time—to see who would rule the Internet. (On about his fifth post, he got more than 1,000 hits, while I’ve just now reached 1,243 hits total, so he obviously KO’ed me in the first round.)

These days, I don’t bother to check how many hits I’ve gotten. In fact, it’s been exactly 66 days since I even added a new post.

What happened? I get paid to write now, that’s what happened. You see, when I got laid off from my editor job back in February, I started freelancing full-time, which means that people actually pay me to write for various magazines, websites, etc. So the simple truth of the matter is that I’m not really motivated anymore to sit down at my computer and write something unless there’s the promise of a paycheck in it for me.

Does this make me a writing whore? I guess so. But I prefer to think of it as the cobbler’s wife who went without shoes. That I’ve used all my energy and creativity in writing the stuff I’m hired to do, that I don’t have much else left when it comes to writing for the sheer joy of it.

But writing for pleasure does help keep one’s professional writing fresh and inspired, so paycheck or not, I’m going to try and add a new entry here every now and again. So stay tuned. In the meantime, if you’d like to check out the stuff I get paid to do, log on to my website (www.mediabistro.com/jillbecker) for copies of recent stories or check out my Examiner.com column (www.examiner.com/x-7514-Atlanta-Hotels-Examiner). You can also follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jillbecker.

Maybe you even have something you want to pay me to write. If so, just leave a comment for me here with your contact info and I’ll be in touch.

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The Cat With No Name February 21, 2009

Okay, people, it’s been 10 days since I took home the stray kitten I told you about, and she still doesn’t have a name.

Why can’t I do this? What is it so hard for me to do something as simple as assign a name to a furry little pet?

I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have children, huh? Heck, the poor kid would probably be walking before I came up with something to write down on its birth certificate. I think I need an intervention.

 

Pillow Talk February 4, 2009

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A fan of the Snuggie, those crazy “blankets with sleeves” you see advertised all over the place? (And who isn’t?)

Then you’ll love the new Barnslig cushion from Ikea. Part decorator pillow and part sock, it helps keep your tootsies warm while, I guess, still keeping your room stylish and colorful.

Geez, why didn’t I think of that? And what’s next—a combo fur-lined glove and TV remote? You people seriously might want to have your circulation checked.

 

Game On! February 2, 2009

I’m a huge sports fan, and have been for as long as I can remember. I think my fascination really took hold, though, when I was about 14 and I went to my first Dallas Cowboys training camp while visiting my aunt and uncle in California. I remember running around trying to get all the players’ autographs, and Mike Ditka, who was an assistant coach at the time, patted me on the head and said, “Sure thing, darlin’.” (Many years later I went to Cowboys training camp as a member of the press and watched the practices right from the sidelines, and as I walked off the field, people were asking me for my autograph. Surreal!) Anyway, from that point on, I’ve been hooked.

I can’t even begin to guess how many hours of football, basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, soccer, boxing, gymnastics, you name it, I’ve watched over the years, either in person or on the tube. Heck, I’ll take a good, spirited curling match over some uninspired, retread TV show or movie any day.

In one respect, it’s the idea of seeing people really push themselves that intrigues me. To practice for hours on end, to play through the pain, and in some cases, do nothing but eat, drink, and sleep their respective sport. But more so, I think, it’s the human drama of it all I love, even more so than the actual action on the playing field. For instance, in baseball, the pitcher’s job is to strike out the batter, and the batter’s job is to not get struck out by the pitcher. So it’s an eternal battle, and only one can win. I just can’t imagine having to deal with that sort of conflict and loss in my everyday job. Maybe too it stems from the fact that I had severe asthma when I was growing up and so I was pretty much resigned to watching sports rather than playing them. federer-_479059a

Whatever the reason, if anyone had any doubt about my being a sports fan, consider this past Sunday, when I got up at 3:30 a.m. to watch Roger Federer take on Rafael Nadal in the men’s final of the Australian Open (which was being broadcast live, thus the early hour). It ended up going to five sets, with Nadal pulling out a dramatic victory after more than 4 hours and 23 minutes of hard-fought play. At the trophy ceremony, Federer broke down and cried.

I ask you, how many other things can you do that are so meaningful and dramatic that it brings a grown man to tears?

Later in the day was Super Bowl XLIII. I only got to watch the fourth quarter, but luckily, that’s when all the good stuff happened anyway. In the final 10 minutes or so, it was a back and forth game, with Pittsburgh clinching victory in the last seconds of the game on a Hail Mary pass to Santonio Holmes in the end zone.

Yup, when it comes to entertainment, sports just can’t be beat.

 

“You’re Going to Love My Nuts” January 31, 2009

OH, NO HE DIDN’T! He didn’t really just say, on national TV, “You’re going to love my nuts.” But, yes, I watched it again just to be sure, and he did.

The guy from those ShamWow commercials is now hawking another new product, the Slap Chop. So he’s throwing carrots and potatoes and celery and all sorts of other veggies in this little contraption, slapping the blade down, and demonstrating its awesome slicing and dicing power, all the while eschewing its virtues as only a fast-talking pitch guy with a Jersey accent and name like Vince can. Then, blending it into his spiel so smoothly you almost don’t catch the double entendre, he looks into the camera and blurts out, “You’re going to love my nuts,” and then he picks up a handful of cashews and walnuts and throws them into the chopper. Classic!!

Has anyone else seen this commercial and been as shocked—and amused—as I was? If you haven’t, check out the video. The nuts line is about 35 seconds in, but you’ll catch some other fun Vince quotes like, “You’re going to be in a great mood all day because you’re going to be slapping your troubles away,” “Life’s hard enough as it is, you don’t need to cry anymore,” “Linguine, fettuccine, martini, bikini!,” and “This tuna looks boring. Stop having a boring tuna. Stop having a boring life.”

You know what, Vince, you’ve got me convinced that your little gadget can indeed spice up my life. So you can come over and show me your nuts any day.

Now, how’s that for double entendre?

 

Can You Hear Me Now? January 4, 2009

Last week, I blogged about what a sheep I was for not only following the pack and starting my own blog, but also about how resistant I was when it came to having the latest must-have gadgets (I still used a record player for like 15 years after CDs came out and avoided buying a microwave forever because I just knew the damn thing was going to give me cancer!).

So it might surprise you to hear that I broke down this weekend and bought an iPhone.

68px-iphone_at_macworld_angled_view1A cellphone, a camera, a music player, a GPS, and a way to log on to the Internet and check your email all in one little machine that fits in the palm of your hand—you can’t get much more high-tech than that! At least not in Jill World. In Jill World, we have an intense love-hate relationship with technology. While we fight it forever, once we’ve bitten the bullet, and spent not only the money but the inevitable weeks and months it takes for someone like us to figure out the new technology, we can’t remember how we ever lived without it.

I’m sure I’m not alone in that thought.

So now comes the hard part. The endless period of feeling absolutely idiotic for not being able to work the darn thing. Heck, I’m sure there are third graders out there who could pick it up faster than I can. But I’ll try and muddle through. Of course, it would have been nice if Apple made an iPhone owner’s manual. But the woman at the store who sold it to me insisted that it’s so easy to use, I won’t even need a manual. How wrong she was!

Maybe there should be a support group for people like me. People so ignorant of and intimated by technology that they inevitably only end up using a quarter of all the fancy features their shiny new gadgets are capable of. They could call it Need a Little Nerd in Me Anonymous. I volunteer to be chapter president.

 

Holy Crap! December 27, 2008

Filed under: much ado about nothing — jillb @ 10:15 pm
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I’ve started a blog — I must be insane! I read and write five days a week as it is in my job as a magazine editor, so why would I subject myself to more of the same? I’m a sheep, I guess. Afraid to be among the rapidly shrinking minority who don’t have an obvious online presence, be it uploading videos on YouTube, chatting on MySpace, or blustering away about this and that on a blog. images-1

For the longest time I didn’t want a microwave, cellphone, CD player, or SUV either. But as America’s infatuation with each one grew, I caved. And now I have a blog. I’m such a sap!

But now that I have broken down and joined the blogosphere, I’ll try to make it interesting for the handful of people who may happen to stumble on it. Or at the very least, therapeutic — a way for me to rant and rave and talk about whatever various and sundry things pop into my head that day. (Which I’m guessing is pretty much in keeping with what a lot of other people are blogging about.) So you’ll no doubt hear about how absolutely incensed I get whenever I see someone throw a cigarette butt on the ground. Or about how adorable and smart and entertaining my two nephews are. Or about how I tend to overuse parentheses in almost everything I write. In fact, the latter affliction is how I came upon the very name for this blog. The blog I didn’t want to start. Yet here I am, typing away. Hmm, maybe for my blog address I should have gone with I’mASheep.com.