Friday, June 29, 2007

Being addicted to contests does have its rewards -- especially when I win advance screening movie passes!

Though sometimes the man makes me shake my fist at the sky and mutter things under my breath like "get a grip," I must admit that I really enjoyed Michael Moore's take on the state of America's health care system in his latest film.

As I sit on my Canadian ass and bitch about having to pay for my own plan to cover the cost of prescription drugs, I shuddered at the amounts my southern neighbours are expected to pay for annual check-ups, X-rays and, horror of all horrors, a trip to the hospital.

That people who have won the battle over cancer or searched for survivors after 9/11 are now facing bankruptcy despite living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world is disheartening.

Moore takes us on a comparative tour of the health care systems in England, France, Canada and Cuba to see how America stacks up. Guantanamo Bay appears to be the best place to obtain healthcare while on American soil. Too bad you have to be a terrorist to gain access to it.

I know, I know, it's not like me to start getting all political and finger-pointy, but I must say that I'm glad I saw this film. It showed me how lucky I am, especially as a diabetic, to be living in a country where I can receive medical attention no matter what my bank balance is.

There are some hilarious moments when Moore is trying to find where you have to pay the bill in a British hospital. He finally comes up to a window labelled "Cashier." Much to his chagrin, this is where people can obtain money for a cab ride home or be compensated for any expenses incurred in order to get to the hospital.

Whereas in one section of L.A., cabs were used to drop off patients who couldn't pay their hospital bills to a hospice on Skid Row. Nice.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:42 AM 2 comments

Dirty laundry

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I don't know if it was because of the fajitas or the sweltering heat, but I spent last night doing a lot of laundry -- in my dreams.

Apparently there was a huge birthday party being organized for one of my friend's sons and I had volunteered to help set up. When I arrived at the banquet hall, all the tables were loaded down with piles of laundry.

The freakiest thing was that this 13-year-old boy had organized each pile by colour, fabric type and preferred washing method.

"Is this what you do for fun?" I asked him.

"Just follow the directions," he replied, handing me a three-ring binder and a jug of bleach for unbleachables.

When I looked up at the clock, it was like one of those Project Runway moments when the designers only have three more hours to get their couture gown made out of olive leaves and gabardine together before the judging. I stepped up the pace and, thinking that I was saving time, combined loads and helped the environment by sticking with cold water and my own supply of Cold Water Tide, which I was lugging around in my purse for some reason.

Halfway through the socks and underwear, the birthday boy held up a butt-ugly orange tablecloth that I was using to hold the items about to be washed.

"What is this doing here?" he asked, appalled.

"Yeah, it's pretty darn ugly. I'm just using it for now so I don't get the other tablecloths dirty."

He grabbed the orange fabric and thrust it into my hands. "This is for the head table," he hissed. "Wash it again. By itself."

Feeling about as cuddly as a porcupine, I took another look at the clock, the remaining items to be washed and the offending piece of fabric. There was no freaking way I could get it all done in time for the partay without combining loads.

Why on earth I didn't duck out and hitch a ride to a coupon convention, I have no idea.

But you know what happens, right? One new navy blue sock made it's way into the wrong load of laundry and left a tell-tale stain that was now set in for life.

"How could you do this to me?" the boy cried.

"How could you do this to me?" I cried back. "I've done 24 loads of laundry since I've gotten here! Couldn't you have maybe, I dunno, planned ahead and gotten this all done last week?"

A throat cleared behind me. I turned to see that all the party guests had arrived while I was freaking out on the guest of honour.

Grabbing the jug of Cold Water Tide, I handed it to him.

"Happy Birthday," I said.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:32 AM 2 comments

Cleaning up the mess

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

After all the fun I've had over the past couple of days, I really wasn't looking forward to the things I had to take care of today.

Why? Because it was all the following up and business maintenance stuff I normally take care of on Friday mornings. And since last Friday was an official holiday for moi, I needed to postpone these duties until today. They involved asking questions like:
  • Dude, where's my money?
  • Hey, where are those answers to the interview questions I sent you?
  • Yo, I never got that assignment letter. Where the heck is it?
  • Are you going to confirm the days you need me to come in for you or what?
These are asked in a much more professional manner, like totally.

And, once all the questions are asked, I get to really have a Word Office Suite par-tay by submitting invoices, polishing off articles, double-checking article due dates and tracking outstanding queries.

Have you noticed that I haven't mentioned the book yet? ACK!

The good news is that I am able to make a living doing this thing called writing. The bad news is that I'm allowing it to prevent me from finishing this novel and getting the next one down on paper. Which is also considered writing, but in another form: much more lengthy.

Maybe taking a month off for my birthday isn't such a bad idea after all. ;)

posted by Bonnie Staring at 4:11 PM 2 comments


Monday, June 25, 2007

Saturday was so much fun, so terrifying, so thrilling and so exhausting that I'm at a loss for words. Not only was a zipline involved, we had to learn to rappel because you couldn't just take the zipline across to the other side -- you had to rappel in mid-air down to the stream below.
Oh, and did I mention it was about 120 feet down? And I'm freaked out by heights? (I call it "imgonnafalldownaphobia."

But I did it! And so did everyone else in our motley group. Here's the "before" photo, where we're all geared up and looking perky:

This is the only way I can describe the zipline/mid-air rappel experience right now:

Ohmigawd, I can't believe I'm going to do this.

Ohmigawd, I need to run off the side of a cliff?

Ohmigawd, I'm running off the side of a cliff!

OHMIGAWD! This is freaking awesome! Woo hoo!

Oh. My. Gawd. I'm stuck.

Yes, I got stuck in the air, dangling precariously (but safely, they assured me) as I waited for one of the cute guides to race along the lines like Spiderman to come and save me. It gave me a few minutes to contemplate my fate and consider my first 40 years on the planet. Oh, and experience a sense of terror I hadn't thought possible.

And, thanks to the encouragement of Michelle and Aden, I got back on that zipline and did another great zip, that time with perfect rappel down to the stream below, just like any old superhero.

It was the best birthday ever, hands down.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:56 AM 4 comments

Lordy, lordy, now I'm 40

Friday, June 22, 2007

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Nah, scratch that; it's totally the best of times!

Thanks to everyone for sending along birthday greetings. My coworkers' hairdresser celebrates her birthday for TWO MONTHS. Now that's being a tad excessive, so I'll stick to the month-long extravaganza originally planned.

But what are those plans, you ask? Good question!

:::scratches head:::

Huh. Now that I'm here, I'm at a loss. I really wasn't sure what to expect. I mean, I still feel like I'm nowhere near the age that some refuse to admit to being. Especially when people respond with "You're 40? Wow, you look great for your age."

And that's what really gets me: those three little words tacked on at the end of a compliment that rob it of it's power to please. Would you ever comment on someone's blog and say: "Great post! You write well for your age."

And I know someone's going to add that comment on this post, so don't stop there, come up with other compliments to mess up. Surprise me, please! ;)

Then I was going to write down the 40 things I want to do this year, but the thought of it left me exhausted. I have enough To Do lists lying around the house to keep me bizay until I turn 41 (gulp!).

And Michelle says I should be working on finishing my book anyway. Par-tay pooper!

So instead, here are 40 things I'm thankful for:

1. Aden
2. My awesome family
3. My excellent friends
4. Laughter
5. Insulin
6. Aspartame
7. Puppies (and older dogs too)
8. Good health
9. Great books
10. Work I love
11. Work that bugs me but pays the bills
12. Courageous people who show me things can be done
13. People who go on reality-TV shows and prove they really are dumbasses
14. The lessons I've learned
15. The ones I still need to work on
16. The ones I don't even know about yet
17. Swingsets
18. eBay
19. A roof over my head
20. Takeout food
21. Contests
22. The Boy in the Plastic Bubble
23. The Shawshank Redemption
24. Dirty Dancing
25. Monsters Inc.
26. Babe
27. The Changeling
28. Can U Feel It by The Jacksons
29. Anything by The Police
30. Anything by Simple Minds
31. Anything by Duran Duran
32. Anything I can write a song parody for
33. Summer rain
34. Pralines and Cream ice cream by Baskin-Robbins
35. Faded notes from a lifetime ago
36. Really weird dreams that I can remember
37. Dental floss
38. My mailbox
39. Opportunities


40. New experiences

A bunch of us are taking on the zipline over the Elora Gorge tomorrow, so wish us luck! I'll be sure to post a photo if I survive it!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:48 PM 8 comments

Too good not to share

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Brian Joseph Davis, a Toronto artist and writer, has composed a narrative text from a list of 5,000 film taglines/sluglines. It's hilarious! And it's read by voiceover artist Scott Taylor, so it sounds too good to be true.

Click here to get to the page. Once there, click LAUNCH PROJECT.

Don't forget the popcorn, this is a film you won't want to miss!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:32 AM 4 comments

Bonnie's take on "Girlfriend"

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sorry for the lack of postage. It's been an icky, whiny few days. You know, the ones where it's best not to say anything?

Okay, I've had "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavine in my head all day, so you guys must pay the price.

Rear End

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I don’t like my rear end
No way! No way!
I think I need some new buns
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could lose my rear end

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I was once a size three
No way! No way!
Tho’ it’s not accurate
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I want to lose my rear end

Duncan Hines
Those cakes are mine
They’re so delicious
I think about them all the time
Like it’s addictive
Don’t you know that chocolate is why my pants are so tight?
I pretend like I’m Gollum with his precious
And hell yeah
I’m the chocolate fountain princess
I can tell I should work out and you know I’m right

Size two’s so whatever
Fourteen is so much better
I think we should eat some cake right now
And then we’ll let everything hang right out

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I don’t like my rear end
No way! No way!
I think I need some new buns
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could lose my rear end

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I was once a size three
No way! No way!
Tho’ it’s not accurate
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I want to lose my rear end

I can see the way, see the way you look at me
Even when you look away my butt's in your periphery
I buy bigger pants on sale all the time again and again
So come over here, tell me what I want to hear
Better yet make my rear end disappear
I don’t want to see those jiggly buns ever again
(And again and again and again)

Size two’s so whatever
Fourteen is so much better
I think we should eat some cake right now
And then we’ll let everything hang right out

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I don’t like my rear end
No way! No way!
I think I need some new buns
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could lose my rear end

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I was once a size three
No way! No way!
Tho’ it’s not accurate
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I want to lose my rear end

In a second carbs are wrapped around my kidneys
Cause I ate, cause I ate forty Twinkies
There’s no room left
What am I gonna fit in?
I’m so hungry
What the hell was I thinking?

Have a great night.

Labels: ,

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:04 PM 7 comments

You Don't Mess Around with James

Monday, June 18, 2007

I had a little fun working with Jim Croce's You Don't Mess Around with Jim as a happy-heart transplant gift for James. Actually, it was the most fun I've had in at least a week, so I have to share.

You Don't Mess Around with James

SickKids’ got its youngins
Mt. Sinai’s got its bums
Toronto General got Big James Williams
He’s a hard-headed son of a gun
Yeah he’s wry and smart and a real upstart
But he’s stubborn as a country hoss
And when the staff team all get together at night
You know they all call Big James “Boss”
Just because...

And they say
You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t jump outta planes
You don’t pull a Band-Aid off a perfect stranger
And you don’t mess around with James

Well Big James arrived with a heart the size of a toy
It said my heart rate is pretty slim
I’m a straight-shooting boy
You won’t get anything coy
But doctors say my odds are dim
So I’m looking for a suitable replac-e-ment
Call it a type-O Cadillac
I don’t have much money
And it may sound funny
But I can’t risk a heart attack

Everybody say
Mac, don’t you know
You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t jump outta planes
You don’t pull a Band-Aid off a perfect stranger
And you don’t mess around with James

Well a hush fell over the OR
When James was wheeled in by gurney
And when the cutting was done
The new part now in his body
Was the size of his heart times three
Yeah he was cut in ‘bout a hundred places
His ribs were snapped in a couple more
And you better believe
We all felt a kind of glory
When his heartbeat was restored—oh oh oh oh!

We still say
You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t jump outta planes
You don’t pull a Band-Aid off a perfect stranger
And you don’t mess around with James

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:45 PM 3 comments

Pursuing Perfection

No matter how much I tell myself what a waste of time it is, I still find myself caught in the act of seeking perfection in something.

It could be an article I'm working on, an assignment for an online class or even a pair of black pants that make me feel like I'm a single-digit size -- I'll find myself trapped in the evil perfectionist clutches and lose all sense of objectivity...and even forget to check if the label says "dry clean only."

And that's EXACTLY why it's taken me so darn long to do the revisions on H&B. I know it's not perfect and I know full well that there'll be at least a few requests for revisions in some shape or form, hopefully with chocolate attached.

So instead of wigging out on myself for wasting so much time in tweaking every last word of the multiple projects on my plate, I phoned James. Surely a man who'd just had a successful heart transplant would have something to say about the pursuit of perfection.

He laughed. "I get a new heart, my kidneys fail. They put me on dialysis and I run out of energy. They let me rest and I get a blot clot. They remove the blood clot and I'm back to bedrest again. Can't wait for the next phase, it might involve tai chi."

Even worse, theyre trying to feed him the menu choices for diabetics.

"As if surviving a heart transplant wasn't enough," he muttered. "Now I understand why you think Diet Coke is so tasty."

And that just makes me want to open another can, but it's 1:00 in the morning so I won't. ;)

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:42 AM 0 comments

A quick link for writers

Friday, June 15, 2007

If you're wondering if a book deal will change your life, read this:

My Book Deal Ruined My Life

posted by Bonnie Staring at 2:36 PM 2 comments

Projects gone wild

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Okay, okay, just because I had a wild pre-birthday celebration does not mean that I should let my blog posting slide (or checking out everyone else's blogs -- my cool pal Laura F even has one to compete with her Facebook addiction) along with any hope of winning America's Next Top Model...or even the Canadian one. ;)

Even without the par-tay it's been a wild coupla days. I received my judging package for the Toronto Romance Writer's Golden Opportunity contest (which I also entered) and was surprised to see that the five entries I'm to judge are in the paranormal category, not the romantic suspense one I requested.

Not that I'm complaining, but unless it's something by, say, Michelle Rowen (or something she's lent me in her efforts to turn me into a true para-ficionado), I normally don't read those types of romances. Perhaps this is TRW's way of letting me know what I've been missing. Of the first two I've read, I can honestly say that the competition is gonna be tough this year -- these authors have got their game on, big time.

I also won two prizes in the draws held at Saturday's TRW meeting and my books-to-be-read pile is getting taller than the DH, who stands 6'3" most days.

And remember how I was worried about making ends meet once I returned back from NYC with extra luggage and a maxed-out credit card? Well, the shopping was limited at best, but the amount of projects I have on my plate at the moment are making me think it's time to start saying no again. And meaning it this time. ;)

Seriously. One client asked me to come in to their office last Wednesday. Expecting to work with the great team there on a bunch of stuff, I was assigned an entirely separate project. In fact, it was more like 70 small ones, give or take.

"But I can only work here today," I said.

"That's okay," said my client, "you can do the rest from home."

Did I mention that "the rest" equalled about 200 hours? And they want it all done by this Friday? Oh, and don't forget my regular two-days-a-week gig, the 2,500-word article that needs to be rewritten, my two columns, the contest judging and the other two articles I sold right after I got back...and I'm also taking the Pitch Perfect online course taught by Janet Wellington. It's gonna help me sell my novel.

Oh yeah. The novel.


posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:33 AM 3 comments

Sneaky people

Monday, June 11, 2007

As far as I knew, the DH and I were going to have dinner with my parents on Saturday at an all-you-can-eat Chinese food buffet to celebrate Mom's birthday, Father's Day and my birthday since my folks were running off to the Mediterranean for a cruise that would have them out of town for the last two occasions.

It was going to be a low-key event, which is what I really needed after that wild trip to NYC and a week chock-full of work, events and other stuff. I even had my fat jeans on and everything.
So the day started out fine with a trip across the city and lunch with Lara and Michelle before our Toronto Romance Writer's meeting. After the meeting Michelle gave me a ride home. As we drove into the sunny west, she asked me what I'd be doing that evening.

"Just out with my folks. I hope it doesn't go too late, I'm beat," were my famous last words.
Little did I know that my father had arranged a birthday ambush at the neighbourhood Mandarin restaurant. The four of us were escorted to our table and, as we entered a room near the back I wondered where the heck our table was, because all the tables around us were full and there were only a few empty chairs scattered in a corner, next to a very large party.
Oh great, I thought, we're gonna have to sit right next to the rowdy bunch. And that's when it hit me that everyone looked real familiar...

Okay, the shouts and waves might have tipped me off. Just a little. ;)

Friends and oodles of family (even my Grandma and Aunt Rita from Picton and Bath) made the drive to pig out on the all-you-can-eat birthday-buffet madness. Joanne gave me these fabulous sunglasses so that I could celebrate discreetly and my new name tag.

And just when I thought it was safe, we went back to Aunt Susan and Uncle Bob's place (yes, Bob really is my uncle) for a very cool cake (despite the meringue mushrooms -- which inspired some to think the cake was "special").

No, what was special, or specially embarrassing, was the photo demonstration in which my loving father had assembled as many authentic "Life of Bonnie" photos for all to enjoy...or heckle.

Oh, and here's the photo from the front of the party invitation (I miss the 80s, don't you?):

The fact that my loving husband kept quiet about this for all this time totally impressed me. I thought I was the sneaky one in this relationship. ;)

How everyone got this to happen without anyone letting the cat out of the bag, including my NYC travel companion Michelle, who I had also spent most of Saturday afternoon with, makes me even more nervous about the day we're all going ziplining -- the birthday celebration I know about. They could have the Hoff making a cameo appearance at the other end or something.

The evening was FABULOUS and, despite the Kodak moments I'd have much rather kept in a sealed bin in my parent's attic, it made me realize how damn lucky I am -- even though people sometimes call me ma'am. The idiots. ;)

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:05 AM 1 comments

311 posts

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I can't believe I was so wrapped up in whatever was going on 11 posts ago that I didn't realize it was my 300th one. Can you believe it?

Shoot, that's almost as many as Miss Snark did in one day on her crapometer. ;)

But what should one do to celebrate such a momentous blog occasion? Write a book on procrastination? Bake up some crescent rolls? Book another trip? Play one-hot wonder tunes from the 80s until my ears bleed?

You'd think Blogger would send an email note to congratulate me. After I filled in the verification code correctly, of course. It would be kind of like getting the new coloured star on your eBay rating. It means a lot to some of us. (The day we received the new star for our 500-positive-feedback rating, the DH and I went out for burgers.)

What do you celebrate that's a little out of the ordinary? Remember to keep it clean; I have parental units reading along. ;)

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:58 AM 5 comments


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

While most writers, including myself, love to procrastinate (see what Amy was doing instead of writing last week), I'm amazed at how quick I am to get all snippy when editors take for-e-ver to get back to me on article queries, submissions and publication dates.

Part of me knows that all good things take time, but when an article I submitted last October has yet to hit the pages -- and a few friends even subscribed so that they would see my soon-to-be-released article -- it makes me a little...crazy.

Okay, annoyed might be a better word. ;)

This might be because this is the biggest (circulation-wise) magazine in which my work will appear. For me, that's a big deal. A bunch of people will see my work. It will probably change my life. Or not.

I think I may have put too much importance on this one magazine article, feeling that, once it appears, this will pave the way for me onto the contributors' lists for other national publications.

As if submitting regular queries and producing great work for smaller magazines wouldn't do that for me too. ;) And that's what it really boils down to: doing the work instead of waiting for the work to come to me. It just doesn't happen that way...unless you're a celebrity.

The funny thing is, a few of my comedy school comrades (there is such a place, click here) have approached me about what it takes to get a book deal and an advance before you actually write the book. My response: if I knew that, I'd write a book about it -- and then sell you a copy.

Heck, maybe I will write that book. I know there's a market for it. ;)

posted by Bonnie Staring at 3:52 PM 3 comments

Back from the Big Apple

Monday, June 4, 2007

Oh, how my feet ache. I love New York! Michelle and I had a jam-packed five days and now we both need a month to recover.

Michelle took all the photos, so I'll post some once she relinquishes the files. Our highest highlight was the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Centre), which, though not as tall at the Empire State Building, offered almost-instant entry (Empire was a one-hour wait last time) and an unobstructed view of the city (Empire has a wire fence that's almost impossible to photograph through).

We also saw Fantasia (of American Idol fame) take the stage in The Color Purple. It was fabulous...and Paula Abdul was in the audience and everything! I was all ready to follow her to the ladies room but Michelle held me back.

I also foiled Michelle's bartering tactics in the purchase of a lovely Coach knock-off by holding out a $20 to her after she told the vendor she only had $23, not $30. Oops. sorry about that! I was off my garage-sale game, big time!

Shopping was disappointing, but I think I had my hopes up way too darn high. ;) Michelle helped me find a pair of fantastic pants by Ralph Lauren, so all was not lost. I think between the two of us we purchased about 10 bags of some shape or form.

There's way too much to cover in one blog post, so I'll add bits throughout the week as I unpack my it all fit into my suitcase I'll never know.

The best part of the trip is how inspired I feel to get H&B (new title of my WIP) done. 10 pages of revisions a day, no problem. It's totally possible.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 1:04 PM 3 comments