Thursday, January 29, 2009


When I started freelancing full-time (if you're just joining us, I made freelance writing my career in June of 2007), I was hesitant to set specific goals for myself. I was unsure what to expect, and to be honest I was afraid of failure. I figured as long as I could keep my head above water--meaning pay my bills and buy groceries--that was good enough to start with.

Now a little more than a year and a half later, I'm feeling more confident. The fear, while not completely gone, has abated considerably. So today I hauled out the calculator and, using my pitiful but serviceable math skills, came up with a monthly monetary goal.

If I reach it more often than not (and I am fairly certain I can--hopefully I'll even exceed it on occasion), I will have made more at the end of the year than I did in my last year at the cube farm job. That means not only can I pay bills and buy groceries, but I can resume my unhealthy "new shoes" habit!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I have taped this comic to my computer monitor at every job I've had since college. It made me smile every time I looked at it. Even at the end of the cube farm job, when I'd had as much bureaucracy as I could stand, this still gave me a warm fuzzy. It reminded me that I was a part of something.

Today, as a freelancer--with nary a coworker or furry rodent in sight (unless one counts my cats or husband in either category, which I don't)--it still serves as a daily reminder that I'm a part of something. And now I'm smiling bigger than ever because this time around I created that something--and there's no better feeling in the world!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

AT&T strikes again

My neighbors just started building an addition on their house. In January. It's 16 degrees. I think they may be insane. And I think I may join them, if the current noise level does not abate. That, coupled with the fact that every so often something they do over there makes my entire house shake, is making it difficult to concentrate. My cats are fairly convinced that it is the end of the world.

But I digress . . . a recent channel surfing expedition uncovered this gem:

I fear for the mental health of the "Val" character.

If I ever meet the person/people responsible for these synopses, I will be torn as to whether to deliver a smack or hug. It is rare that I encounter something that annoys and entertains me in equal measures.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Amie learns a new word

I participated in a webcast last week about behavioral change and medication adherence. Really exciting stuff.

*pause while I wipe off the sarcasm that just dripped all over my keyboard*

But there was something exciting about the webcast--I learned a new word, and now I'm going to share it with you:

That's a 16-pointer on the ol' Scrabble board, my friends!

Friday, January 23, 2009


On the news last night there was a segment about how Tennessee has declared English the official State language. That's all well and good. And the sooner the better, because the man they interviewed for his opinion on the issue said, "We need to protect the suprimacy of the the language." No, that's not a typo. He said "suprimacy." And it wasn't just that his Tennessee accent made it sound like he said "suprimacy." He really, truly said it. With a straight face. I almost fell off the couch.

If you're going to declare English the official language, meaning you expect people of other nationalities to speak the language when they are living in your state, those of you for whom English is your primary language should be expected to speak it as well.

End of rant.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Karma comes a'calling

Guess who had to do a little home toilet repair yesterday?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I sense a disturbance in The Force

The other day, I encountered a server error while I was searching a website for an article about one of my clients' clients. Usually, this kind of situation would cause me to groan, swear, make a face or pound my desk (I am notoriously impatient with technical difficulties). In this case, however, I had to laugh.

It seems Master Yoda a tech job has taken, yes . . . but understanding of verb tenses he lacks.

He also seems to have some issues with comma usage (below the bit I circled), but there's nothing funny about that part.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another reason I'm glad I'm a freelancer

I was onsite at a client's office yesterday, training somebody to use the RFP Machine. During a trip to the restroom--which is shared by everybody on the floor--I read a sign taped to the inside of one of the stalls. This sign, which shall forever be known to me as "Bathroom Etiquette for Dummies," read something like:
Please check to make sure that everything you left in the toilet has been flushed down.

If the toilet continues to run, jiggle the handle.

If you need a plunger, there is one beneath the sink. If you do not know how to work a plunger, call Steve.
There were also instructions on how to turn off the water if the handle-jiggling didn't work.

Sure, I may have to replace my own toilet paper, clean out my own sink and deal with any plunging issues without Steve's assistance, but I will take some minimal bathroom maintenance over the necessity to post a sign reminding people to thoroughly flush the toilet any day.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Today our nation celebrates one of the great Americans, Martin Luther King, Jr.

More than 40 years ago, he stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. I know the context of this speech was social change in the racially-charged 1960s, but as I was reading it today, one part spoke to me of all the issues facing our country now--the tough economic climate, the ongoing war, and of course the gap we still have to close to truly achieve equality for all our citizens.

"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream."

Happy Birthday, Dr. King. It may take us a while longer, but we'll get there.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The weather outside isn't THAT frightful

Ohio in winter is generally unpleasant, but not nearly as bad as our local newscasters would have you believe.

The other night, they spent twenty minutes yammering on about how cold and/or snowy it is in various cities across the state. One reporter went so far as to stick a yardstick in a snow drift to show just how dire the situation was. I'm sorry, but five inches (or as she reported it, "nearly six inches") of snow isn't enough for me to start freaking out about armageddon. Then there was a segment on various traffic problems caused by the cold and/or snow, complete with person-in-the-street interviews. Maybe traffic wouldn't be so bad if the news crews would get off the road and let people drive.

Perhaps it was a slow news night, but I am pretty certain there are some fairly serious things happening elsewhere in the world (in, for example, I dunno, maybe the Gaza strip). Hell, at the very least they could have talked about how cold and/or snowy it is in another state, like Minnesota or North Dakota . . .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I like my kitten pan-seared with a honey glaze

As I walked through the living room the other night while my husband was watching CNN, the phrase "sea kitten" caught my attention. First I envisioned a new breed of cute and cuddly shore-dwelling creatures, and then (as it is wont to do) my mind went to the dark side. Cute and cuddly was quickly replaced by Frankensteinesque hybridizations of land mammals and crustaceans. The latter image stopped me dead in my tracks.

My hubby, not sharing my fondness for both cute and cuddly things and freaks of nature, quickly turned the channel before I could learn more.

Imagine my disappointment when I came across this article on last night and learned that sea kittens are nothing more than fish. Thanks a lot, PETA, for killing the part of me that believed that when people string words like "sea" and "kitten" together, it should actually mean something. Somebody should report you to an activist group. Perhaps protesters could throw dictionaries at you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Things I love about being a freelancer (aka "the good"):
  • working in my jammies, if I want to
  • being my own boss
  • finding projects that interest me, not just projects that help somebody else's bottom line
  • actually loving my job, for the first time in twelve years
  • actually getting paid to do what I love
Things I don't love about being a freelancer (aka "the bad"):
  • quarterly taxes
  • bookkeeping in general
  • trying to explain to people what I do
  • not always knowing when to stop working
  • networking
And, finally, here's what happens when you let your home office become more home and less office (aka "the ugly"):

Even though there are the same number of bullets for the good and the bad, the good far outweighs the bad (if this ever changes, I'll start looking for what my hubby likes to call "a real job"). As for the ugly, well, I've got a cleaning spree planned for the weekend.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Random thoughts

Random thought #1
Sorry I didn't post yesterday--I was onsite at a client's office from 9:00 to 5:30. I bring this up because it's rare that I work an 8 (consecutive) hour day, and because the experience was so different from my cubefarm days. Back in the old 'farm, the minutes seemed to drag on for days. Even when I was busy, the time did not fly. But today, it seemed as if I got my morning cup of coffee, blinked, and the day was over. Just another example of how awesome it is to do work you love instead of slaving away at a soul-killing job.

Random thought #2
My husband showed me a YouTube video of some kayakers having a really bad day. Throughout the minute and a half of watery violence (to summarize, the first kayaker went over a waterfall and got sucked into a hydro--the rest of the video is a cautionary tale of what not to do when trying to rescue somebody from such a predicament), my hubby said things like "oh man," "whoa" and "that sucks." I, on the other hand, could say little more than "they spelled 'limit' wrong in their title." He's an adrenaline junkie, I'm a word junkie--I guess opposites really do attract.

Friday, January 9, 2009

On writing and editing

I'm both a writer and an editor, and I like to think I do both well--but not at the same time. When I'm writing, I get too close to the work to see the things that should be changed. When I'm editing, I tend to stick mostly to proofing, minor changes and gentle suggestions for improvement rather than doing major re-writes (unless, of course, I'm specifically directed by a client to tear it apart).

I suppose this is common among people who wear more than one freelancing hat, but it is a limitation I wish I could overcome. Becoming more ruthless with the red pen on somebody else's work is probably going to be an easier hurdle than gaining sufficient detachment from my own work to edit it thoroughly. Any suggestions?

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I know I've written before about my annoyance with the on-screen guide that is part of my AT&T U-verse service, and lamented the fact that I can't channel surf without encountering typos, run-on sentences, and even the occasional nonsensical program description. But a picture is worth a thousand words (or so the less literate among us would have you believe), so behold!

Flordia . . . it's like Florida, but with more bloody shark rampages!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


One of the art directors I work with loathes the font Papyrus. I'm not completely sure why. I recall hearing him mutter something about it being over-used, but that alone doesn't justify his seething hatred of a silly little font (that may be the most hypocritical thing I've ever typed--I've been known to get downright surly over far less consequential things . . . but I digress).

Apparently, he's not the only designer who is strongly anti-Papyrus.

A quick Google search revealed that Papyrus is on more than a few "most wanted" lists:
  • Modern Life lambastes not only Papyrus but also four other poor unsuspecting fonts (it's unfortunate that Modern Life hasn't been updated since 2007, because it seems like there might be some good advice in it for writers as well as designers).
  • This list stopped at seven. Perhaps blogger Lauren McMahon was too disgusted to continue.
Then there are the sites that chronicle the usage of the font in the design world:
  • Not only does Papyrus Watch record instances of Papyrus abuse, it does so using the very same font it maligns. Well-played!
  • I'm on the fence as to whether I [heart] Papyrus is intended to be sarcastic or if Joe Wagner does, indeed, heart Papyrus. You decide.
Even Chris Costello, the font's creator, seems to have a love/hate relationship with it. In 2007, he invited the world to criticize his baby.

And finally, there's a Facebook group called Down With PAPYRUS font! It currently boasts 349 members. Perhaps my art director friend can become #350.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Statistically speaking

At the end of 2008, many of my fellow bloggers posted superlative lists on the performance and readership of their blog--most read, most commented on and the like. I intended to do something similar, but as it so often does, life got in the way.

I managed to shoo life out of the room for a few minutes, so I thought I would take advantage of the calm between storms to calculate and write up my 2008 superlatives.

Most-read: More than a quarter of my readers checked out my series of rants about (the fact that one of my labels for this post is "postresumehere" practically ensures that it will be one of my most-read of 2009--mwa ha ha ha!).

Most comments: I don't get a ton of comments, but the post in which I asked readers to subscribe to my blog received 15 (due in no small part to Angie giving me some free publicity). Well, they may be pity comments, but they still count!

Readers from farthest away: One percent of my readers visit from Singapore, which is approximately 9,500 miles from Ohio. Two percent, according to Sitemeter, were from "Unknown," but as I don't know where "Unknown" might be geographically , I am declaring Singapore the winner (Tahnia, Singapore!).

Funniest browser search resulting in a hit to my blog: It's unfortunate that I can only track the last 100 hits, because I have seen some really hilarious referrals. But of the ones I can still see, "novelties shaped like feet" and "where's the party at bitch" are the most entertaining. I'm sure the poor suckers who hit upon my blog instead of their foot-shaped novelties or party destinations feel differently.

So there you have it. Better late than never.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I have got to get back in the habit of regularly posting to my blog . . . my apologies for the scarcity of new reading material.