Buh-bye LOTR

Friday, June 30, 2006

My relationship with the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings has been an uncomfortable one at best. It all started with the initial announcement back in April of 2005, and the necessary changes to any and all documents that I was currently working on for Toronto's tourism board. Everything needed an LOTR mention.

Which would have been simple, but the overseeing production company insisted that we only use their verbiage - which included the word "unmissable".

Unmissable (n): a made-up word describing an extremely long stage production which cost over $27 million dollars to bring to the stage.

Still, I did get to see the show. For free! And the DH and I had a pretty good time, despite a few delays (it was still in previews) and two intermissions. (The current running time is still close to 4 hours.)

But I know the real reason why the show is ending it's run early: the wine gums.

When The Phantom of the Opera had taken over Toronto so many years ago, a big part of the appeal were the mask-shaped wine gums. For LOTR no such shapely snacks were offered, leaving fans wanting.

The mousepads and T-shirts were lovely, but they really don't compare to ring-shaped wine gums, do they?

Obviously the theatre-loving public agrees with me, hence the September 3 closing date. We'll see if the show can make it until then.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:00 AM 3 comments

Being married to your words

Thursday, June 29, 2006

It's better to be committed to your writing than being married to your words. It's hard watching your words get revised, deleted or totally ignored by editors, writing partners or even family members, but it happens. So deal with it.

There used to be a time when I would fight someone over a revision to an ad headline, an article closing or basically anything they wanted to change. I mean, why change perfection? Then I'd sit by the phone and wonder why people weren't calling me back.

If you can let it go, then you have more energy to spend on the next awesome story or article. It's true. Bog yourself down with a battle, and you'll need a day or two to recover.

Of course, there are some battles that you must fight. You'll know what I mean when you get there. In the meantime, try your best to hear what the critiquer is saying. They might even be right.

Okay, enough advice. It's time for a fun quiz!

Things You May Not Have Known About Me

1. Four jobs I have had in my life
Newspaper carrier
Waitress at Red Lobster
VIP table attendant for Canadian Idol (seasons 1 & 2)
Concession stand worker at a movie theatre

2. Four movies I would watch over and over
The Shawshank Redemption
While You Were Sleeping
Dead Poet's Society
Bring It On

3. Four places I have lived
Etobicoke, Ontario
London, Ontario
Calgary, Alberta
Scarborough, Ontario

4. Four TV shows I love to watch
Treasure Hunters
So You Think You Can Dance
Anything CSI

5. Four places I have been on vacation
London...England and Ontario

6. Four websites I visit daily (or often)
Michelle Rowen
Craig's List Toronto
The Onion
Writer's Digest

7. Four places I'd rather be right now
A theme park
A bookstore
My own book launch party

Okay, back to the WIP...

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:11 AM 5 comments

How I started writing

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thanks go out to Mike for asking me the question that led to this post.

I've always wanted to write. After graduating from high school, I earned my diploma in Creative Advertising and Broadcasting. I wasn't prepared for the four-year Journalism or English degree route, and advertising paid better anyway.

Trouble was, it's really hard to get a job in advertising as a writer. I ended up working for Satan as a production coordinator. Sometimes he'd let me write ads if I had time...or took the work home. ;)

After two years of hell, I started getting offered more and more cash to be a production/project manager for graphic design and printing projects at different companies. It was great money, but I longed to write.

So I started volunteering to work as a writer on some of the projects I was managing. And get asked by friends and family to help with their cover letters, resumes and other written stuff.

In 2002 I quit my job and went to comedy school for a year...

And discovered that the job market for comedians is even more scarce than for copywriters. Throwing in the towel on both fronts, I took a well-paying project management job at a marketing firm.

I lasted three months. That was in April 2003 - SARS time. I sure know how to pick the right time to walk away from a paying gig.

So I started emailing and calling everyone on my list of contacts, seeing if anyone needed a writer. A few of them did, and I started building my portfolio. I even took on some jobs for free, just to add more stuff.

Then I was approached by Performance In Motion magazine about writing an article about being married to an automotive enthusiast. Instead, I offered them a column - and they bought it!

Headhunters continued to call for project management gigs, and I kept on insisting on writing work only. Enter Toronto's tourism board.

I interviewed for a two-month gig, and warned them that I had other writing projects that I might need to juggle with their projects. They agreed - and kept me on until I left 18 months later to pursue freelancing full time. That was at the end of March this year.

Here's what I can share with others thinking this would be a cool way to work:

1. Don't quit your day job until you are earning enough through your current freelance work to survive. (I have a very supportive husband, literally.)

2. Make sure you have more than four clients. Rely too much on one source of income, and you're screwed when they go under, run out of projects that need writers or hire a relative.

3. Don't work for free for longer than you need to. And if you do work for free, see about using your research to create another article that you can sell. Or insist on having the rights revert back to you upon publication and sell reprints to other markets.

4. Network. Do it. It actually works. The best gigs I've gotten (i.e. clients that pay their bills) have been through referrals by people I've met and connected with. Writing is a lonely business, so keep in touch.

5. If you don't ask, you don't get. Send out query letters. Enter contests. Don't stop. Even when things get busy, you need to pay attention to the months ahead.

6. Contracts matter. Insist on them or something in writing (even in an email) outlining the assignment, the amount you will be paid and when you will be paid. There is a huge difference between "pays on acceptance" and "pays upon publication", especially if the magazine is a quarterly.

7. Register with a placement firm like Aquent (for short-term proofreading gigs) or an Office Temp-type place for data-entry, filing and easy office work. These gigs come in very handy when you need to get out of the house and earn some good money in a day or week.

8. Keep on finding new projects. There are a gazillion markets and clients out there. Check craig's list for opportunities for writers. (I've picked up a few gigs this way, but always beware and most are "low/no pay".)

9. Get creative. Okay, you already are. But if a client wants you to work for free, suggest a barter of some sort. I'm currently working with a client who can't afford to pay in cash, but will help in building my website. How cool is that?

10. If you're on the right track, you'll know. Since April, I have had true moments of absolute panic where I would worry that my total earnings would be $100 for the month. Then I'd get a proofreading gig, or payment for a long-forgotten article would arrive.

BONUS TIP: Don't tell people you want to be a writer, tell them you are a writer.

Yes, it's feast or famine, but I haven't been this happy in years. And former coworkers insist that I look 5-10 years younger. Who needs Botox?

posted by Bonnie Staring at 5:52 PM 2 comments

How was your day?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Okay, I had to share this photo, just because of the look on that poor dog's face.

Today has been a Polar Express kind of day. Not the Polar Express Christmas story, but the carnival ride that goes backwards in a circle to really loud rock music and there's the creepy operator constantly screaming "Do ya wanna go faster?". And, if you're really lucky, the ex-football player has the inner seat and slowly squashes you to death to the tune of Sweet Child of Mine.

Okay, my day was better than that, but it did seem to spin a bit. Here's the play-by-play:

9:00 - show up at writing/proofing gig (last day of a 2-day stint)
10:30 - receive word that my next gig, running Wed - Wed, has been postponed
10:35 - freak out over loss of income, then thank the heavens for giving me some time to get other stuff done
11:30 - a party I was really looking forward to in 2 weeks gets cancelled
11:35 - become sad that this party and SPAMALOT were my only highlights for July
11:40 - become sadder still as I realize that I am looking forward to SPAMALOT
1:30 - have written 1K for the WIP on my lunch hour, sweet
3:00 - realize that due to party cancellation, I can stay at cottage longer
4:00 - get another gig for next week, now that I'm freed up by postponement of other gig
6:00 - meet girlfriends for dinner and go to see Menopause Out Loud, a hilarious musical about...three guesses. Laughed out loud. A lot
11:00 - arrive home to a message from another friend asking if she can give my name to one of her colleagues who is looking for an editor for her book
11:45 - panic as I look over blog entry, calm myself down with spider dog photo

Good thing I have the next few days to get the magazine articles researched and written.

I must go to Bermuda more often, it's done wonders for my career!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:43 PM 3 comments

I heart Treasure Hunters

Monday, June 26, 2006

My Monday nights are complete again, and I have NBC to thank for it. If you haven't tuned in yet, Treasure Hunters is a cleaver combination of The Amazing Race with National Treasure. Groups race around willy-nilly looking for replicated artifacts that will eventually lead them to an incredible treasure, as long as they stay in the game.

I'm thinking it might be a Maytag washer/dryer combo...or a Bowflex.

And, as with other team-oriented shows, you have the ones you love to hate and the ones who can only be described as dumber than stumps. You've got ex-CIA agents, a 400-pound ex football player who can't swim and the family that praises Jesus as they cheat their way through the race. And don't forget the guy sporting the best living example of a mullet.

Yeah, I'm hooked. But not so much that I didn't reach 40K today. Yahoo! :::happy dance:::

It's been busy over here in the hobo capital of North America. There's a certain book titled Angel With Attitude that needs to be read and another column for Performance In Motion magazine (it's not online, sorry) that needs to be written. And...

GREAT NEWS! Thanks to the help of Nienke, a fellow Write-On, I have another magazine article to write! Hooray! Work that pays is always a fabulous thing, so my bank balance tells me.

Oh, and I'm in love with David Beckham again. Le sigh.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:04 PM 2 comments


Sunday, June 25, 2006

This has been the most productive week yet on my WIP - I've added 8,000 marvelous words to this puppy. And now my brain is tired.

It appears that the advice about actually sitting down and writing does work. Who knew? I could have sworn elves did most of the work. Now I know that's just a dream - like Wang Chung making it big again. Sigh.

I was this close to the big 4-0, but getting to 39K is pretty darn cool. It means I'm practically halfway there. Just mere steps away from going down the other side of the mountain. Mt. WIP, featuring a trecherous climb that few survive.

Okay, lots of writers do, but we're talking about me right now. You know, the one who thinks 2,000 words is too long.

Something tells me that this isn't going to get any easier, but I'm an optimist. August 1 is right around the corner, and I don't have time for "I'll do it laters" or "maybe tomorrows" - I gotta get this done NOW.

Okay, not right now, but it's only 5 weeks away! YIKES!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:48 PM 3 comments

Do you feel sorry for the lamp?

We and our neighbours held a garage sale yesterday. Now we can afford brand name macaroni and cheese. Woot! This time around, we didn't have that much stuff to sell, so our chances of achieving early retirement status were limited. Not like the good old days when DH and I first moved into our home and had fifty years worth of stuff none of my relatives wanted taking up residence.

There was a time when I'd map out a garage sale gameplan for Saturday mornings and cover miles upon miles of driveway discoveries. Some ended up being lovely gifts for friends and relatives, and others just took up space.

Then the clutter really started to get to me. So we started the "if something comes in the house, something has to go out" policy, which forced me to contemplate the consequences of a hasty garage sale purchase. Which coveted item would this bust of Elvis replace? How many shower curtain ring repair kits does a household need? Or the ever-popular, "Damn! I own the book/album/movie already" phenomenon.

So we put out stuff out there for people to pick at, purchase or simply ignore. The remaining items were boxed up and taken to the neighbourhood Goodwill. Some of our neighbours bulkier items didn't make the trip and sat at the end of their driveway, waiting for the regular bin divers and rubbish rummagers to grab it. This photo was taken at 11:30 last night.

By the way, the lamp was gone this morning. So don't feel sorry for it, okay?

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:07 PM 0 comments

Off the list

Friday, June 23, 2006

Now I understand why people work full time. It's to keep away from the telephone solicitors. This week alone, I've been offered several free estimates on windows and home renovations ("Lady, we do everything"), an opportunity to purchase a timeshare at a resort I'll never go to, digital cable (which would really hamper my WIP progress) and a few charities who need my money right now, thank you very much.

So that leaves very little time for everything else. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. But it takes me a while to get into the "zone" where the internal editor has shut off completely and I just write like the crazy woman that I truly am. I think it's a lot like catching the perfect wave when you're surfing. Not that I surf, mind you, but if I did, I'm sure it's just like hitting the utopian writing zone. Only drier, and with less sharks.

Of course, when interrupted while in the zone, brain cells sizzle and die. This makes it even harder for the writer to get back to it. Add in any frustration that the said interruption may have caused, and outside resources like food, drink, a movie, load of laundry or hour-long parade may have to be called in to simulate zone-like feelings so that the author is able to find them again despite the loss of brain cells.

Or we just move on to something else. For a "break". Sometimes these last a little longer than anticipated. Some never make it back.

So while I appreciate that telemarketing is a very difficult job, I don't appreciate that I'm on their call list. And yes, I have put myself on the "do not call" lists and all that fuss and bother, but there are still a few companies out there who are "behind in processing their lists".

One day I will be able to answer the phone with confidence, just not today...and tomorrow doesn't look good either.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:16 AM 0 comments

So You Think You Can Eat

Thursday, June 22, 2006

That's the new show I'm pitching to Nigel Lithcote. Have people audition for a chance to eat their way to a top prize of a contract with Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. Woot!

Each round will have contestants pig out on different food items. Some good and some, thanks to comments on another post - hoboriffic!

The best will be the final elimination round, where the top two contestants will have to eat their weight in squid - how cool would that be to watch?

And, for those with no appetite, we still have spots available on America's Funniest Botox Treatments or America's Next Top Carwash Attendant.

"Nine squeegee kids stand before me..."

There are opportunities everywhere people!

And that's why I'm staying right here, ass in chair, until I crack 40K on the WIP this week. It can be done. It is possible. I just have to get the hobo homicides out of my mind and the next few chapters should just roll off my fingertips like...um...


Spent a fun-filled day at Canada's Wonderland with the DH yesterday. Went on a ton of rides and successfully resisted the urge to hurl. We picked a perfect day, as most kids are still recovering from school (or are locked inside) and the threat of rain kept the wimps home.

As usual, the Italian Job ride shut down while we were in line, but we were near the front so we stayed put and peered over the tops of people's heads to see what was going on. No body bags or screeching metallic noises, so they got things running again in about ten minutes or so. (Which, of course, felt like hours when you're standing in the bright sun.)

Okay, back to Word.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 1:59 PM 0 comments

My main character's a 'ho

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Perhaps it's the effects of the crazy cat lady commentary, but something has happened to my main character. Gone is the woman who pines from afar. In her place is a woman who will drag a man to her bed without much thought. Even when she's wearing paint-stained yoga pants.

This could pose a problem. Since she's with the WRONG GUY right now.

Yeah, I left them alone for awhile. Maybe they can talk it out...or something. Riiiight.

I blame that Nelly Furtado song. Miss Furtado has totally destroyed the moral fibre of my main character. Or she's always been frisky and just forgot to tell me when I was working on the outline.

Geesh. Maybe I need to listen to Christian Rock. Or Clay Aiken.

Don't laugh, I have his first album. I love a man who loves his Mamma. And Jesus. And the YMCA. I wonder how he feels about promiscuous main characters?

I think I may have lost a reader already. Sigh.

The good news is, I'm writing. And this is supposed to be the easy part, right?


posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:32 AM 7 comments

Fastidious Girl

Monday, June 19, 2006

In case you've been on the cast of Lost, Nelly Furtado has a new album, featuring a hit single that I can't get out of my head: Promiscuous Girl. Heck, she even performed it on last week's So You Think You Can Dance results show!

So I've downloaded the track and rewritten the chorus for you all to enjoy:

Fastidious girl
Wherever you are
I'm so alone
Help me detail my car

Unscrupulous boy
You already know
That I’m not your
Sweet housekeeping 'ho

Fastidious girl
You're teasing me
I've brought Armor All
And a thing of Febreeze

Unscrupulous boy
You're messing my joint
It's taking a toll
You're not ready

Now that's a ghetto fabulous groove that I can live with. Represent.


posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:02 PM 0 comments

Like a moth to a flame...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

I had an interesting experience last week. Through a referral from my next-door neighbour, I was hired for a three-day gig at an agency for writing/editing/proofing recruitment ads and other HR-related items for their never-ending roster of clients.

My neighbour said that work was fairly easy, even though the amount of work can be a tad overwhelming at times. So, making sure I didn't have yoga pants on by mistake, I arrived at the office a bit early to ensure that I met with my temporary boss to get set up.

Then David walked in.

David and I worked together in another lifetime, when I had just graduated from comedy school and couldn't seem to find paying work. (Yes, disillusionment can be a funny thing, after a period of about six months.) We were both working at a movie theatre of all places. He had even mentioned way back then that I should put in a resume at his "regular job", but I was holding out for that hot agency gig or TV show contract.

Fast-forward three years, and here we are, chatting like we've been working together forever. Even the rest of the studio staff are a blast to work with.

They've asked me to come back in on Monday and Tuesday. And David's asked if I'd want to work there full time...

I said I didn't think I'd be able to do the job five days a week, but two or three might work. If they'd have me. The work is straightforward, the people are fun and the pay is perfectly acceptable. They even have treats (chocolate, snacks and popsicles) on Thursday afternoons! How cool is that?

We'll see how it goes. Fingers, toes and eyes are crossed that this may be the little bit of stability I need so that I don't have panic attacks when I look at bank statements and ATM slips. It would also keep me away from the fridge...and Dr. Phil.

Another thing: it's nice being around people. They make things a lot more enjoyable. Especially when I get home, sit at the computer and try to come up with ideas for the WIP or articles to query. I just think about what topics came up around the water cooler, and off I go to Idealand.

Of course, this could all be an illusion put up by those weasels who want me to stop working on my WIP. But it all seemed so real, I swear!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:58 PM 0 comments

Replaced by a crazy cat lady

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Disclaimer: Cats are wonderful animals to have as pets and I appreciate how much people enjoy being around them, talking about them and sending me pictures of them. This is NOT what this particular post is about.

I've received several reports from friends at my past full-time employer regarding my newly-hired replacement: it doesn't look good.

According to numerous sources, they have hired a crazy cat lady. Not a lady who is crazy about cats, but a crazy lady who is fixated on her cats in such a way that overhearing a conversation may cause passers-by to think she's running a "kitty-p*rn" hotline.

Immediate cubicle neighbours are creeped out. Better still, the more exited she gets, the louder the commentary. Here are some examples:

"He's such a hunka-hunka-burning love. He went after her last night, but I think he ended up sleeping alone."

"She looks like she's gained weight, I hope he didn't knock her up again."

"He just loves it when I rub his lower back, then move my hand over to his stomach. It's so soft there..."

Remember people, she's not at home - she's at the office. Yikes!

Others suspect that this woman is also a cokehead due to the loud sniffing she does throughout the day. Perhaps she's allergic to being away from her cats.

Reports in the number of cats she owns range from 3 to 37. Passers-by have been approached for photo-viewing sessions. One intern went missing for three days after taking her up on such an offer.

The best part is? She's also on a two-month contract. (Remember, my two-month contract lasted 18 months.)

Lesson learned: everyone can be replaced. It's just scary to see who they do it with!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:15 PM 1 comments

I'm not wearing horns

Thursday, June 15, 2006

If you've been living under a rock or are part of the cast of Lost, the World Cup is currently in progress. As I'm working downtown this week, I couldn't help but notice the large number of freaky soccer fans that live and work in Toronto.

One of my officemates, who I actually worked with at another company three years ago (my world is the size of PEI), is currently wearing a jersey supporting Britain, and another has Brazil's flag positioned prominently above her monitor.

But the best part is in the food court, where one of the vendors is selling plastic horns that people (preferably women) can wear to support the South Korean team. Although I was offered a pair of these highly attractive (if you're into horns) items, I declined. I mean really, I could have been called into a meeting or spotted by a pack of camera-toting tourists.

The current gig is proofing and editing recruitment ads. Hundreds of them. Don't complain to me about not being able to find work; I've seen the ads, there are jobs out there. Okay, I admit, some of them aren't quite the normal, super-cool variety. (One was for a spore technician...ewww.) But if you have a high school diploma, excellent communication skills and the ability to work well under pressure despite conflicting priorities, I know of a couple jobs that may be just the thing you're looking for. In Kamloops. Or Halifax. How about Whitby?

And I finally cracked 30K on the WIP the other day. Of course, I should have done that about two months ago, but I look upon this as progress. It's not like I really need another t-shirt, but it would be nice to meet a deadline on a project that I'm just doing for me.

I received an awesome email from a woman who read my article on The Secret Life of a Freelance Writer (on Women Can Do Anything). She claims that she laughed so hard she almost peed her pants. I'm glad my writing has that kind of effect on people. That email is getting framed!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:14 PM 0 comments

Sometimes you feel like a nut...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

And sometimes you are one.

The past two days have me spinning in all sorts of directions and I'm getting pretty dizzy. When it rains, it pours and this is when I struggle with the work/life/WIP balance.

Apparently I'm in demand right now, which will mean good things for the bank balance, but not so good for my ability to sit back and enjoy the ride. Current projects include:

1. An article for a popular Canadian women's magazine (when complete I can cross a life goal off of my list!)
2. A 3-day stint as a staff writer/proofer, starting tomorrow
3. Website content for a marketing company
4. Press releases for another one
5. And I have been referred to another company for web content writing

Oh, and I still have to keep the article query chain going so that I'll have stuff to work on next month - on top of my regular gigs.

Actually, this is the perfect time for a blatant plug for an article I wrote about being a freelance writer. Click here to read all about it.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:25 AM 0 comments

It's official

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dear Bonnie Staring,

Thank you for your interest in The Place You Didn't Want to Work At.

We appreciate the time you have invested in pursuing opportunities with us.

Based on the assessment results, you will not be moving forward in the process for the position listed below:

Position Applied for: Total Loser

Phew! Glad that's over with. Now I can get on with my life. For a moment there I thought my honesty might have gotten me through to the next level. Good thing these online questionnaire things are there to keep fun, spirited people like me out of corporate Canada.

Too bad, I heard the next tests involved spray cheese and jello shots.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:23 PM 0 comments

Mr. Uglyfish

Sunday, June 11, 2006

He was found as the sole occupant of an empty apartment. Mr. Uglyfish was tenderly washed, dried and then wrapped up as a birthday present for yours truly.

What kind of life he led before his discovery, we can only guess. He never talks about it.

So now he sits in my living room, enjoying sunbeams between 1:00 and 3:00, and the occasional dusting.

Who could abandon such a find? Never before has a ceramic fish had such poise, such character, such jowls. The search is on for a Mrs. Uglyfish, but the mister is a bit of a loner. He does enjoy show tunes though. The long walks on the beach may present a problem.

If Mr. Uglyfish can make it in this world, we all can.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:48 PM 0 comments

WIP = Work In Procrastination

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I'm jealous. Another Write-On was able to create over 20,000 words this week, and there I was all proud and chest-thumping with my meager 4K. Sigh.

Of course, I had other things to do. Hair washing. Laundry. Watching superior television. Eating. Throw in the last-minute proofreading assignment and the online personality test - and my schedule was totally maxed out. Or so I'd like to think.

There are people out there who wake up two hours early in order to get their words on the page. Me? I try to sleep in as late as possible in order to make it down two flights of stairs to get my ass in the chair by 9:00.

I was doing brilliantly this week by making myself get at least 1,000 words on the page before I could get out of my seat. Even if I had to pee real bad.

Then on Wednesday the doorbell rang - and it was the mailman with a special delivery. (Note to Lara - this is NOT a euphemism.) The cell phone I won a few weeks ago had finally arrived. What fun!

So when I got back to the computer, I immediately went online to find out about all the cool features of the phone, checked out the kind of 80s tune ring tones I had to choose from and other important deets. The WIP long forgotten.

Then I got hit with the mammoth proofing project. Which I only have ten pages left to do, but had to take a break since my brain was hemorrhaging again. After proofing for twelve hours, there's not much left - even if I do spell it correctly.

So I visit other writers' blogs (thank you) for helpful tips on how they do it. And that inspires me long enough to get me to open Word. But the countryside off of the wagon is so darn attractive. It's hard to jump back on sometimes.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:41 PM 1 comments

Bonnie's new role

Friday, June 9, 2006

I know, I know, I've been quiet. My apologies. But I was asked to perform this week. No foolin'.

It was for the role of an eager job applicant for a position I didn't want. Sound familiar? Yeah, I've mastered the motivation for this character in scenes played too many times. Here's how it started:

Headhunter: Bonnie, great news! There's an opportunity for a job you don't want in an industry you've told us time and time again you have no interest in.

Bonnie: Perfect! Is it at least an hour away from home?

Headhunter: Even better, it's rarely serviced by public transit.

Bonnie: Awesome, send them my info.

Headhunter: Already taken care of, but there's a wee catch.

Bonnie: You know I'm willing to do just about anything for the wrong opportunity.

Headhunter: Well, okay. They want you to take a few tests. You can do them online and everything.

Bonnie: Cool, I love technology. What kind of tests are they?

Headhunter: The first one is a little tricky. It's a personality test.

Bonnie: Bring on the fun!

Headhunter: Now that's the problem. We don't think you'll qualify if you answer truthfully, so why don't you use those acting skills of yours?

Bonnie: Wait a minute, are you asking me to lie even more than I am already?

Headhunter: No, no! Just, bend the truth a little.

Bonnie: Like the way you have by telling these people that I actually want to work for them?

Headhunter: Exactly!

So I went online and ended up taking two tests over the course of an hour. They were all multiple choice ones with easy and not-so-easy choices. But I didn't follow the headhunter's instructions and I answered them all honestly. Tee hee.

We'll just have to see what happens on Monday.

In the meantime, I'm proofing a 250-page course calendar for a business training school. If I see the words strategic, empower, bottom-line or succeed one more time, I'm going to have to add in some Bonequa terms. "Be sure to axe my peeps 'bout our group specials, uh huh."

There is one gem from a business writing course that I've stolen and I'll put it on a T-shirt as soon as I can:

Bad grammar is like bad breath - people may not tell you about it, but they do notice.


posted by Bonnie Staring at 8:48 PM 1 comments

My night with Robert Redford

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

My girlfriend got her hands on some free tickets to an evening with Robert Redford. Part of a series of celebrated people like Dan Rather, Tom Wolfe and Adrienne Clarkson, Redford was the big finale. Hummuna hummuna!

And yes, I realize the man is turning 70 this year. But that just makes him well-aged beefcake. He doesn't just have great blue eyes, he's an eloquent speaker who deftly avoids standing on a soapbox while getting his point across.

Did I mention that our seats were dead centre about 8 rows back? If I had just stepped over a few people, I could have reached out and grabbed his leg. I knew I should have put a thong in my purse to toss up on stage!

We heard about his early dreams of becoming a baseball player, then a painter, then a no-good bum. His journey into acting was a fluke. Redford had told people that he was going to become an "art director", just to give them an answer they were looking for, not realizing what the job entailed. A friend suggested he attend theatre school to get the necessary background. Turns out he loved it.

Redford believes that once you become successful at something, that's the time to do something completely different. So, taking his advice, I feel that I've mastered procrastination and will focus on completion.

By the way, Redford feels that Bush is another Nixon. At least he said it politely. We were able to fill out question cards that I'm sure were screened backstage before being handed to the moderator. I was tempted to ask which Newman's Own dressing flavour he preferred, but resisted.

One person asked if he enjoyed kissing Barbra Streisand. He says he did.

Redford also discussed his dissatisfaction with the Hollywood machine and his reasons for the creation of the Sundance Film Festival. He also expressed his distaste at Paris Hilton buying underwear during the festival one year receiving more press than any other element. We think she's off the list.

Politics, the environment and the stories behind some movies were what we heard about. When asked how if he enjoyed filming Out of Africa, he claimed that the second unit was in charge of filming all the fabulous landscapes and safari-like images. He and Meryl Streep were stuck in the house most of the time. For five months.

Although we knew which hotel he was staying in, my girlfriend and I went straight home once the house lights came up. Good times.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:49 AM 2 comments

Yeah Sean!!!!

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Lessons learned from this season of The Apprentice:

1. Good hair is essential.
2. Men with "ee" sounds at the end of their names may not be the brightest bulbs in the box. In fact, expect a blackout.
3. Feel free to profess your love of a colleague at all times, even during boardroom meetings.
4. Not all celebrities' heads are medium sized.
5. If a phone rings and it's in your pocket, chances are it's for you.
6. Sudden blood gushes and nosebleeds can't stop a dream team.
7. Being a valedictorian is way cooler than being head of the honor society.
8. If you blink a lot, you'll get fired.
9. Chambermaids can't afford "dry clean only".
10. Cool British accents rule.

I'm very, very passionate about the Donald's excellent choice. Woot! Even Randall showed up for the occasion. Hey, what happened to Kelly, the winner from Season 2? Did he get eaten alive?

posted by Bonnie Staring at 1:22 AM 2 comments

Bermuda is me

Monday, June 5, 2006

Breathtaking pink beaches, warm turquoise water, really expensive food - true bliss! DH and I love this island. He's been to Bermuda 22 times, while I'm still a "newbie" with only 3 trips under my beach hat.

The best part is, tourists can't rent cars on this 21-mile long island - you can either cab it, take the bus or rent a scooter. It's a lot of fun when you add in the whole driving on the other side of the road and those confusing yet somehow effective "roundabouts".

As most hotels can charge well over $200 a night, we decided to opt for a "vacation apartment" at Barngrove in Devonshire. We booked the "upper apartment" which featured its own covered porch, gorgeous views of the surrounding gardens and easy access to the swimming pool. We loved the location, being as close to the centre of the island as you can be, within easy reach of Hamilton, the beaches, and a grocery store for when we ran out of Diet Coke or chocolate!

Interesting fact - there is only one American fast-food franchise on the island: KFC. It's single location in Hamilton, the country's largest city was the first and last to arrive. So if you're craving a Whopper or Bacon mushroom Melt, you're outta luck.

Of course, most people come here for the awesome scuba diving and snorkeling. That's what the DH likes to do. Me? I'm more of a poolside/beachside lounger. And I get violently ill on boats, so I bide my time with a good book or my own WIP notes while he explores reefs and shipwrecks.

We did a bunch of touristy things - visiting the aquarium, the underwater exploration institute, the maritime museum and the like. But I have to say our best times were racing around the island discovering new glorious beaches to try out.

This is the part where I warn people that spray-on sunscreen does NOT stay on once you lie down on a towel. Spray again once you roll over. You can thank me later.

We decided to dine like the rich and famous at the Ariel Sands hotel on our last night. It's the hotel owned by Michael Douglas. Very chi-chi-poo-poo with waiters imported from South America, Australia and the States. All taking a break from their medical school, MBA or law studies, I'm sure!

I wish I had taken a photo of my dessert. It was called the Chocolate Bento Box. Served with chopsticks and a spoon, it featured three chocolate delicacies on one platter: a shot glass filled with a "shot" of milk chocolate with a solid morsel of rich chocolate resting at the bottom of the glass; a trio of small circular cakes (about the size of a dime) each holding chocolate inside (milk, dark and white); and to finish it off, a tube-shaped wafer was filled with white chocolate cream and drizzled with a lycee fruit sauce. OMG it wasn't just a dessert, it was an experience! Must go back for more...or see if they can send some over by FedEx.

All good things, like vacations, must come to an end. We've agreed to go back in 2008. Can't wait!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:00 AM 0 comments

I love my VCR

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Came back from a wonderful week in Bermuda, twitching with anticipation as I rewound a week's worth of truly tacky programming. Well, just the highlights.

So imagine my joy and delight to discover that I taped an episode of Game Show Marathon! I had set my VCR using a my ESTP (extra sensory tacky perception). Oh, it was horrible. No, really, truly horrific. DH left the room, screaming when Lance Bass appeared on the screen in a banana costume. Ooh! Then there was Tim Meadows dressed up as a police officer, what's up with that?

Okay, they were playing Let's Make A Deal, but when Paige Davis appeared as Little Bo Peep with a small dog in a sheep costume, I was considering dropping some acid to get over the extreme fromageness of the situation.

Sure, I could have just fast-forwarded the tape, but I couldn't. I had to see how bad it could really get. Ricky Lake doing a horrible Monty Hall impersonation. Leslie Neilsen not going for broke and winning the Dodge Viper for a viewer. Ah, it's sad and will continue next week.

The fact that I wasn't part of the team that created this show depresses me, yet motivates me to continue coming up with strange ideas and to actually do something with them. That's where my problem lies. In not getting my ideas out there. I mean, they are "out there". Just not out there for people with bags of cash or some form of influence to help me bring them to life.

Then there's that darn WIP. Let's hope it rains tomorrow so I'll stay inside.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:45 AM 2 comments