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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Shhh! It's Chris'

40th birthday today!!!!

Since he has some family illness to deal with today (no, not him), I'm hoping to cheer him up with a Madagascar (the movie, not the country)/Pirates party. Just him, me, Bandit and Guin.

Sea chanties, pirate hats, eye patches, an Alex mask and much more.

And lobstah for dinner, of course.

Arrrrrrr!

The (im)maturity of "adults" knows no bounds

Wow. These gamers are really ticked that I'm not fond of the bullying game coming out. They are actually advocating that victims of bullies beat the crap out of the bullies. When I mentioned in one interview that retaliating is not the answer and that makes the victim just as much of a bully, the fur really flew.

One "man" who used the name MANHUNT666 emailed me:
"Ok. I'm 26 years old. WHen I was in High School I was bullied. I did what you recommend. It DOESN'T work. In the case of bullies, violence is the ONLY way. I'm not saying beat the crap out of him with baseball bats, but a punch to the nose ended my bullying pretty quick, only if I had used it sooner. Whether or not you like the game doesn't matter. Myself along with millions of other people are going to buy this game, and enjoy it."

Well, bully for you! (pun definitely intended)

Another wrote:
" However, I do take issue with your statement that someone who is defending himself from a bully is only a bully in return. Bullies by definition attack people weaker, less confident, and in a position, real or perceived, without the means to correct the situation. A defending victim has to overcome these odds to at best have an equal playing field. This makes them not a bully or an aggressor, but a confident individual who expresses that he will not take abuse. I also question your comment that retaliation can only escalate the situation."

It will. Believe me, we see it every day in the cases we get at WHOA from adult bullies as well as kid/teen bullies.

Here's a gem:

"Just wanted to say that you are clueless regarding the game "Bully".
I know Rockstar is so easy to target as the worst video game company ever but the games they make are usually directed to people who are 18 and over. just like horror movies. Ever seen Friday the 13th? Ask any 14 year old kid who the main character in Friday the 13th is and probably at least half will answer correctly. Why? Because they watch these movies! It doesn't matter if it's R-rated. They watch it. But do you see kids hacking people with chainsaws? NO!! (Ok sometimes but very rare) "

Sometimes, but very rare? LOL. Which means it *does* happen. Yeesh.

And please don't "Karate Kid" me. The main character in that movie entered a karate competition after training for it and did get back at the bully in a wholesome way. Not even the same thing we're talking about here.

There's right and there's wrong. Beating the crap out of a bully is wrong. In this litigious society, you know the parents of the bully are going to sue the "victim."

Or the original bully may decide to borrow a gun, get a knife or something else and come back to school the next day and physically harm or kill the former victim.

Violence is not the answer.

Period.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

If you want to be taken seriously as a "journalist". . .

then don't post on your blog that I'm a "slag."

Definition of slag from the Urban Dictionary:

1. An individual who cares not for relationships beyond the realm of the sexual, these people sleep with many partners not caring about anything save for the moment of climax.

2. Rubbish that is not worth the time or effort of paying attention to it, but none the less draws one in. Used to describe unpleasent situations.

(there are other definitions)

He also posted one of my copyrighted photos and invited people to respond to his lovely post, which one person had already labeled me a whore.

Our press release about the bullying game is ticking off gamers, who are showing how immature they really are by contacting me, pretending to be media and railing against my opinions of the game. I don't mind if you don't agree with my opinions, but don't act like 12-year-olds. Geezus.

As for the "slag" guy, after I emailed him asking him to remove the photo and telling him he would not get an interview with me after what he wrote (was he high thinking I'd let him interview me?) and filing a DMCA complaint with his web site host, he emailed back, apologized and removed both the photo and the comment.

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Chippy is a cameraholic. First, he let me take photos of him with my cell phone camera, then I brought my digital camera out to take photos of a hummingbird who has been coming to our feeders. When Chippy came up on the porch, I decided to get some photos of him. He let me. Then he jumped up on the railing and well, see for yourself. I'm waiting for him to start doing centerfold poses, ha ha.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yoga with Bandit

Yikes. I think I'm going to have to have my dog, Bandit, do yoga with me from now on. I'll have to call it Doga, though (ha ha).

I usually do an hour of yoga every other day in the living room. My fave yoga "master" is Rodney Yee. It took me a few yoga DVDs to find someone who I "clicked" with. The one I love right now is Power Yoga Total Body Workout. I do the first hour of it. I am just not limber enough for the rest of it yet. Especially the scary bend over backwards on the floor moves. Yikes!

Anywho, Bandit decided to plop down in the middle of my yoga mat.

And didn't move the entire time.

I ended up doing my stances around him and actually got more of a workout than I usually do. I was sweating like crazy when I was done. Good Bandit!

Chippy is getting possessive and demanding. Now he sits on the porch on the lounge chair and "chirps" until I come out. When I settle on the chair, then he leaps up and runs into my lap. I have him eating off my knee now.

Chris wants to videotape him when the weather clears up.

Chippy is mad that two other chipmunks have gotten brave enough to sneak into the backyard to the bird feeder when he's with me. He actually took off and sat on the fence post this morning and "chittered" at them, scaring them away.

But as soon as he was back in my lap, they sneaked back in. It's kind of funny.

We got some bad news about a relative who is pretty sick. Dealing with that now.

But I may be able to announce the good news I mentioned earlier - very soon.

Waiting for confirmation before I can do it publicly.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Blush!

I was overtired yesterday and running around doing errands. I stopped off at Rite Aid to get a small thing of wine for me for dinner. Chris is very good about not minding me having a drink once in a while and I don't flaunt it in front of him. I also got some wind chimes and a sun catcher for the yard. I went to check out and the cashier, a young guy in his 30s, looks at me, the wine, then asked me for my ID.

I blinked. Asked if he was serious. He said yes. So I showed him my license and told him that he made my day. He said I don't look anywhere near my age.

Sweetie, I'm married, but I am so over the moon you were flirting with me, ha ha.

One of the other cashiers, who I see a lot, was laughing. I told her to keep this guy on the front registers.

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Forgot to mention yesterday that the radio host who was foaming at the mouth about the bullying game insinuated that I was becoming a zealot and that pretty soon WHOA was going to send out press releases for the sake of getting media attention. I was extremely offended by that remark. And still am.

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Took Guin for our walk to the beach. Got asked for directions again. We always get at least one person stopping to ask us. Here are some of the places lately we've been asked for directions for:

1) The funeral home

2) Sun and Surf Restaurant (where the employees wouldn't let Chris make a phone call to me when his motorcycle broke down). I told the couple where this place was, but told them that Lobster Cove was a much better restaurant. Ha!

3) An address on Broadway. I didn't know we had a Broadway in town. Turns out it's near the lighthouse.

4) The beach (Me: "Keep going straight." Them: "Then what?" Me: Well, if you continue going straight, you'll get wet.")

And we always get people who break into a smile when they see Guin bouncing along. Everyone thinks she's a puppy. When I tell them she's 13, they say, "13 months?" Nope. 13 years. Their eyes bulge out at that. Kids love to pet her, but she's afraid of kids. I don't think she ever quite got the concept of "little people." She only likes adults.

We saw all white dogs (like Guin) yesterday. Must have been the color of the day.

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Chippy is now sitting on my knee stuffing his cheecks with sunflower seeds. We finally found the batteries for the video camera and will try to videotape him soon. Maybe I'll send it that animal videos show!

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I'm glad Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig of Fox News are safe and sound. I had tears in my eyes when I saw them on TV this morning, especially when Steve broke down when he hugged a friend. God bless you both!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Update for the week - a really long rant about the media

I really, really hate it when I am interviewed by the media and they either
a) Get the facts wrong
b) have a hidden agenda

I had that happen twice this past week, and from two people I used to respect quite a bit. I will not be mentioning names because they don't deserve any publicity.

The first was a book radio show. The female radio interviewer had been sent my book and even emailed me that the first chapter (about my personal cyberstalking case) was amazing! I had previously been scheduled to be on her show, but the electricity shut down and we had to rebook. So I was looking forward to the interview.

She started it off trying to give a short description of what happened to me online and I almost wanted to ask her if she was sure she read the chapter in my book. She got so many things wrong. Then she asked how a book proposal got me nominated as Lifetime TV's Champion for Change. What? I was clearly flustered and told her I had no idea where she got that information from. She insisted she read that somewhere. Uh-huh.

Then we got on the subject of marketing books. Since I have a traditional publisher, which she sounded skeptical of (hey, lady, look at the book cover and copyright page in the book), I told her they were handling the majority of it by hiring a publicist, sending me to Book Expo, printing up postcards, sending out press releases, etc. She almost didn't believe me.

I told her that I try to do things locally, since we don't have a bookstore in my town. I recommended getting your book sold in hospital gift shops. She scoffed at that - why would anyone want to buy an Internet book while at the hospital? Well, I said, if you're the relative or friend and are trying to amuse yourself while your loved one is sleeping, being operated on, etc., my book is a good read. I mentioned that the hospital here keeps two books on consignment. She got mad about that and said consignment was not a good thing. Well, it works for me, so why knock it?

Geez.

I was not impressed.

The second interview was a national radio show I've been on many times before and I like the host. He has always been good to me. We sent out a press release recently stating that WHOA (my organization) denounces a video game coming out in October that glorifies bullying. I won't name the game or game manufacturer. They don't need the publicity either. Pfft.

So his producer calls me and is all hot to get me on the show to have a heated debate. I'm wondering why in the world would there be a debate? Why would any game manufacturer create a game where a teenager is sent to a private school, is bullied and retaliates by getting violent with the bullies? The game also makes the teachers and school personnel look incompetent and not to be trusted. Not a good thing.

I get on the air and he rails into me about how dare I tell retailers to ban the game. I asked him where in our release we had the word "ban." We asked retailers to think twice about selling it. We are not telling them not to, but to seriously think about it.

He went on and on and was really heated about it. I was flummoxed. How could anyone not be against a game that is targeted to teens, has a teen as a main character and encourages teens to beat the living crap out of other teens?

At one point, I actually told him I refused to answer his question. The producer came on in the break and told me that callers were on my side. A couple of those calls were broadcast and not one supported this radio host.

He then told me it should be up to the parents to not let their kids play the game. Yes, to a certain extent, parents *are* responsible for their kids actions. But when their children leave the house, all bets are off. Parents can't be 100% responsible, no matter what. He didn't like that answer either.

Then he had the nerve to tell me that if I am against this game, then I am going to have to be against all games that are violent, sexist, etc. I told him no, I don't. The other games have adults as main characters, are fantasy, or are obviously tongue in cheek. This game, however, glorifies bullying and encourages the player to beat others up.

Kids are impressionable. Kids are bullied every day. Kids commit suicide because they can't deal with bullying. There is no need for a game that glorifies a real life situation like this one does. Shame on the game manufacturer!

At the end of the interview, he drops a bombshell on me - he is a voice in a video game coming out soon. I checked it out and sure enough, it's rated "M" and is a game where you play a gangster in a gang and have to fight rival gangs and the police. There is shooting, stabbing, murder in it. Lovely.

So there was a hidden agenda all this time. And I guess greed won out in the end for him. Instead of looking at this game and saying, "You know what? This game could encourage kids and adults to join a gang and kill people, so I can't do it?", the almighty dollar won out.

He's gone Hollywood and has lost what I liked most about him - passion for doing the right thing.

I had him taken off our PR list. I can't do interviews with hypocrites. And I am very angry he didn't disclose he had a personal issue with my stance on this bullying game. He should never have done the interview, since he couldn't do it objectively.

I will continue to fight to protect kids, teens and adults online. When it comes to bullying, that has headed online and I will do what I can to prevent it from getting worse. If it means getting people to not buy a certain game, then so be it. I can only hope the game does get banned. Period.

End of rant.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Before I get to the good stuff. . .

Some things I forget to mention from the trip:

Atlanta was definitely Hotlanta and riding MARTA was easy to do.

All I wanted was a darned Cox t-shirt. They gave everyone who attended the conference a Cox leather backpack with two notebooks and a thermos. With the new airline restrictions, I just couldn't fit the backpack in my luggage. And while everyone else got a t-shirt, I didn't. And one woman who worked for Cox (who was weird and apparently didn't like me, for whatever reason I don't know) wouldn't budge to give me one, even though there was a large box of ones that hadn't been given out yet. So I called Jay, our web site host and made a trade with him. I gave him the backpack and two notebooks (I kept the thermos) and he's sending me a Cox t-shirt.

My tummy is better and I'm going to try lasagna tonight (Chris is making it).

We had an adventure today. He decided to take his motorcycle out for a ride. In the rain. Told him not to. I get a phone call. The motorcycle broke down. Told you so!

But what's worse is that where he broke down was only a mile and half from the house in front of a restaurant called the Sun & Surf. He went inside to ask if he could use the phone to make a call for help. He told them he'd broken down. They told him no! Even though it was a local call to me. So he trudged through the rain across the street to the Anchorage Inn and they told him no as well. What nice people (sarcasm injected here). For crying out loud - he broke down and needed help. All I can say is if you go to York Beach, Maine, DO NOT stay at Anchorage Inn or eat at the Sun & Surf Restaurant. Customer service, my ass.

After calling AAA and finding we have to pay extra for motorcycle tow coverage, they agreed to send a tow truck and we'd pay cash for the tow. I got to the beach, only about a mile and a half from the house and we waited an hour and a half for the tow truck. Chris was soaking wet and not happy. And no, he couldn't walk the bike home - it weighs over 500 pounds.

What was great was that the huge tow truck pulled in front of the driveway of the Sun & Surf Restaurant so that no one could go in or come out until the motorcycle was loaded and gone. We were hoping someone from the restaurant would come out and complain so that we could yell at them.

Sadly, no one did. I hope we hurt their business.

Finally got the motorcycle home.

Now for the news. Oh wait, here's the link to the Atlanta photos first. When you click on the link, scroll down and enjoy all the photos.

And now. You asked for it. I did it before the fall, when I said I'd do it by.

Yes, Chippy the chipmunk ate out of my hand and even more! Click on the photo to see all the photos and the surprise one at the end!



A little addendum about Chippy. The day before I left for Atlanta I mowed the lawn in the fenced in back yard (it's my thing and I like doing it). As I was mowing, going toward the propane tank, I suddenly saw a brown ball of fur come flying out from under the propane tank. I stopped the mower just in time to miss running over a chipmunk.

No, not Chippy. This is one I've seen outside the bathroom window. I call her Sweetie (no, I have no idea how to tell what gender they are. I'm guessing). She is redder in color and has a longer tail than Chippy.

So Sweetie is staring at me, panting and scared. I talked calmly to her and noticed Chippy next to the propane tank, standing up on his hind legs and making that chittering sound chipmunks make. She looked at him, at me, then took off. He looked a t me as if to say "Harumph." and took off.

I told Chris and he said, "Great! We have a Sopranos chipmunk trying to off the other chipmunks!"

It is pretty funny when you think about it. But Chippy is adamant about keeping the back yard and deck his property. I saw him again chasing off two other chipmunks. He's fierce for such a little guy.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Hotlanta

So, the dinner was a buffet, but with filet mignon and other goodies. After dinner was entertainment from an improv group called Laughing Matters. If you've ever watched "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" on TV, they are like that. They pulled people out from the audience to do skits and things and it was hilarious.

And yes, they pulled me up there. It was a bit where I was to go out in the hallway with one of the comedians, Jamie Moore, while the audience gave the other three comedians a location, occupation and thing. Now, what I had to do was go in after Jamie and he was to communicate to me in pantomime and gibberish what they were. It's harder than it looks on TV, folks. Trust me.

I was stymied a few times, but did the best I could and guessed a gay lumberjack under a spell. Then we went through each one. I got Florida, guessed Orlando and it was Tampa Bay. The lumberjack I got right. The last, where Jamie kept miming a witch, which I said, was a salamander. Try and mime that one!

We went back to the hotel and hung out in the bar and laughed our butts off. I had such a great time with everyone!

The next morning I hit the treadmill, then showered, dressed and took the MARTA train to the center of town at Five Points and headed to Underground Atlanta. From their site:

"1920 - 1929: The Viaducts Create a “City Beneath the Streets”

As the new century took off, Atlanta began to take on a new look. Following the Chicago School of architecture, multi-story "skyscraper" office buildings cropped-up in the downtown area, and the city became a business and retail center. In the 1920's, construction of concrete "viaducts" elevated the streets of downtown one level above the railroad tracks to facilitate traffic flow. Merchants moved their operations to the second floor, leaving the old storefronts for storage and service. These viaducts would create the unique cityscape that would later become Underground Atlanta."

There are a lot of stores and restaurants under there, very cool! I'll be posting photos later today or tomorrow.

Next was a nice walk to the Hard Rock Cafe (which opened on my birthday in 1992!). Had a nice, leisurely lunch, and discovered in the shop that they have a membership club called All Access. I joined!

Walked back to Underground Atlanta, passing four mounted police in a park and went to the World of Coca-Cola. It's a three-story building filled with enough Coca-Cola info to make you burst! Photos to come soon.

Went back to the hotel, changed and waited for everyone else to get done with the conference to go to the Georgia Aquarium. We had a fun, long ride there, got out, went through security (are they afraid we'll steal an otter?), had wristbands put on, then had the run of most of the place until 7:30 pm. The place closes to the public at 6 pm, so there were two other groups besides us hustling around to see what we could.

My gripes:

1) Give us more time to wander and be able to see the fishies without rushing

2) Have all the exhibits/shows open. There was a 3D film a lot of us wanted to see and it was closed

3) Leave the gift shop open, people! I was all set to buy a bunch of souvenirs and they closed up at 6:30 pm. I ended up buying my souvenirs elsewhere

It was another buffet dinner, but the food was done by Wolfgang Puck's chefs. One thing I learned: Never, ever eat a fish dish at an aquarium.

I tried the lobster/shrimp with newburg sauce and it tasted okay (but honestly, I've had better). The pasta was good, as was the yakisoba and fried rice. An oriental salad was horrible and had what appeared to be a piece of plastic in it that almost broke one of my teeth.

I had a couple of glasses of wine with dinner (but their glass size is half a normal wine glass, so it was really only one). Felt great. On the bus on the way home, Rudy, who is a wiseass, but really funny guy, sang to us (he's a "rat pack" singer when he's not working for Cox). My friend Jeannie and I ran up to my room to grab some books for last minute sales, then went back to the bar and had a good time. I had one glass of wine.

I begged off after that, saying I needed to pack. I went to my room and I swear, not three steps in the door, I was in the bathroom, barfing my brains out. Even Chris teased me that I should have known not to have the darned fish.

I was up and down most of the night with diahrrea, even though I took an Airborne (I swear by this stuff on my trips). I woke up early and thought I could sweat it off on the treadmill. Didn't work.

Packed, met Rudy in the lobby and we shared a sedan to the airport. He hadn't had the fish dish, so I don't know if anyone else got sick or if it was just me. We got to the airport way early, so we bought some souvenirs (he was flying on the same airline, Delta, but a different flight at about the same time). We ate at TGIFriday's. I tried two hamburger patties with a salad and managed to eat almost one burger patty before calling it quits.

We visited some of the other stores, then parted ways. I called my mom and halfway through the conversation told her I had to go. I just made it to the bathroom. Oh boy.

I had a ginger ale on the flight. Got a real limo driver when I got into Boston (ha ha). Got home, had some crackers and hot chai green tea, then went to bed.

I was sick all day yesterday and could barely eat some rice for dinner.

I did have something good happen yesterday, which I will post tomorrow.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Finches and the conference

On Monday night, I had dinner with Jay and Elizabeth Finch. Jay is the web host for the two WHOA web sites, my personal site, Chris' web site and the Net Crimes site. He's a very cool guy who has been a "temp" for Cox Communications for almost four years now. The last time I saw them was in 2004 when they had been together for a bit. Now they're married (in March was the wedding)! Elizabeth is a real estate agent, so if you need to buy a house in the Atlanta area, give her a shout!

They took me to this wonderful restaurant, Mirage Persian Cuisine. I love different kinds of food and this was the best. I had chicken kabob that had several spices on it, sour cherry rice, stuffed grape leaves and for dessert, pistachio/rosewater ice cream and Turkish coffee.

They are a very cute couple and finally going on their honeymoon - a cruise in Europe. Have fun, you two, and take loads of photos!

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I hit the Cox Security Conference before lunch to listen to the speaker talk about different ways terrorists attack. Great before-lunch talk, ha ha. Lunch was good and I met up with Lionel and Otis, who I'd met at the last conference in 2004. I sat with Jeannie from the Cox Auto Auction Division (seriously - they also publish Auto Trader magazine) and she and I became best friends throughout my stay. She's a hoot!

After lunch was another speaker talking about the war in Israel, then I was up. I crammed a lot into an hour and then Bob Brand from Cox and I took questions. I found two things they need to add to their online usage policy for employees and they are going to jump on it.

I sold most of my books and got so many great comments. Bob said I was the most favorite speaker of the conference. Hooray!

I'll write about the exciting dinner/entertainment (it was, really, I'm not being sarcastic) later.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Two notes to self:

1) When the car service driver calls you and is lost, you should cancel the pickup and drive yourself to the airport

I love Great Bay Limo - they've been my car service for a few years now. So when I booked them for my trip to Atlanta, I asked for a pickup at 7 am because I was flying out of Boston and I was worried about the security lines, etc. My flight didn't leave until 10:16, but you never know.

So I'm packed and ready, having gotten up at 5:30 am to do last minute packing, showering, letting the dogs out, feeding Chippy, etc. At 6:50 am, the phone rings. It's the driver. He said he'd done a drop off at Manchester's airport and there was a car accident, so he'd be about 10-15 minutes late. No problem.

At 7:30, the phone rings again and the driver asks where off of Route 1A our house was. I gave him directions and he asked how far off Congress Street we were. Huh? Turns out he was in Portsmouth, NH, about 20 minutes away.

I patiently gave him directions and waited.

I had my luggage in the driveway and when I saw the car come, I said goodbye to the dogs (it was now 8 am) and ran out. He drove by the house. Then he came back. He gets out of the car and I hesitated. He was wearing black pants like the drivers usually do, but a normal striped shirt. The drivers usually wear a "uniform" of sorts - black pants, white shirt, tie and black jacket. Hmm. I practically threw my bags in the trunk, hopped in and we started off.

Next thing I notice is that the cooler with juice/water and snack basket are not in the back seat. No, I'm not spoiled. This is part of the service they offer and I usually grab an OJ to drink. I notice he doesn't call into the car service to let them know he picked me up, which the driver usually does.

So I ask him how long he's been driving for them. He doesn't. He was borrowed from a Massachusetts car service that the owner is friends with. Okay. Makes sense. I guess one driver was fired and another was in the hospital, so the owner of Great Bay asked his friend to let him borrow a driver or two.

I called Delta to see if my flight was on time. It would be five minutes late. No biggie, but I was worried about getting to Boston in time.

So we get on the highway and suddenly the driver leans forward on the steering wheel and stares, like there's something on the hood. He squints, opens his eyes, squints, opens his eyes. I think there's a bug on the hood.

But then the car starts drifting into another lane. I asked him if I'm his last run of the day, thinking he was a night shift driver and was tired. Well, I had no idea just HOW tired. He had been driving airport runs since 2 pm the day before. With only one hour of sleep.

Honestly, I panicked. He did the leaning forward, squinting thing and I realized he was trying to stay awake. I have never been so frightened in my life. But by this time, it was too late to turn around, go home and drive myself (and I don't know the way to the airport well either). So I started talking with the driver to keep him awake.

There were a few close calls where he almost hit someone in the rear, swerved into another lane and almost hit a truck. I was literally hanging onto the armrest the whole way.

We get to the airport and I swear to God I almost kissed the ground when I got out of the car. I got to the Delta desk and my hands were shaking. The Delta employee asked if I was all right and I told her about my nightmare ride to the airport. She patted my hand and told me I was safe.

I have never been so happy to be in an airport in my life.

I called Great Bay and told the receptionist what happened. She kept gasping and saying she was sorry, but now that I can laugh about it, the thing that horrified her the most was that he was out of uniform.

So she had the owner call me, who apologized up and down and didn't charge me for the ride (if he had, I would have disputed the charge). He told me he had been thinking about hiring the guy, but this clinched it. No go.

I made it to Atlanta safely.

2) Don't listen to comedy on the plane or in the exercise room.

I downloaded PBS radio's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me! to my iPod. It was hard not to burst out laughing on the plane. As it was, my stifled laughs caused the guy sitting next to me to look at me curiously. When I was on the treadmill in the exercise room at the hotel this morning, I did burst out laughing and both girls in there looked at me curiously.

I'm off in a bit to speak at the Cox Communications security conference.

BTW, Chris tried to take photos of Chippy eating out of my hand on Sunday, but of course he didn't show up on the porch. But Chippy did come out yesterday while I was waiting for the crazy driver. Chippy is too smart.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I did it!

And it's not even fall yet! What am I so excited about?

Chippy ate out of my hand this morning!

I was worried about him yesterday because he didn't show up for his "breakfast." What was weird was that none of the birds that usually show up were there either. I wonder if that hawk came back and I just didn't see it.

This morning, I fed Chippy as usual on his fence post in the backyard, then went inside to give the dogs their cheese (which hides their medicine) and make my coffee. I took the coffee out on the deck where we have one of those screened tent thingys. It's nice and cool today, so it was pleasant. Chippy saw me from his fence post and came running onto the deck. I sat perfectly still, talking to him as he ran around the lounge chair I was on, curious as to me being on the deck.

When he left, I ran downstairs, grabbed a cupful of sunflower seeds and went back on the deck. I put some seeds on the deck floor, then talked to Chippy and he came and sat next to my chair, happily stuffing his fat cheeks. He took off to his hidey hole and I decided to put some seeds on the end of the lounge chair.

He promptly came back and didn't hesitate climbing up the chair leg and stuffed his cheeks, watching me and listening to my voice. When he took off again, I ran in the house to get Chris up, but he was tired.

So out I went again and this time put the seeds closer to me (I was sitting cross-legged on the chair) and placed my hand flat on the cushion, with seeds in it. Chippy came right back up, ate the seeds in front of my hand, then began eating the ones in my hand. I was so excited, I almost burst!

When he ran off to his hole, I ran in the house again and told Chris Chippy was eating out of my hand. He didn't believe me and dragged his tired butt out of bed to look out the window.

I went back out, put more seeds in my hand and this time Chippy actually sat *on* my hand as he stuffed his mouth. Chris whispered, "I can't beleive it!"

Chippy eyed my knees and legs, like he was deciding whether to climb those, then the lawn guys next door started working and off Chippy went.

I went back in the house, proud of myself.

Tomorrow I'll try putting seeds on my knees and Chris said he was going to take photos! Wheeeeee!

--------------
Chris update: We went to the doctor's office two days ago. Chris is a devil. While waiting in the exam room, he made Dr. G's stool go down to the lowest point so that it was almost to the floor. I told him he was bad. But I couldn't wait to see what would happen.

Dr. G comes in with his laptop, talking away and goes to sit on the stool. He tried to sit on it, noticed it was low and began fumbling to put it back up. This broke his concentration (which he is so proud of) and we both burst out laughing. He laughed too and said he knew he was in trouble when he saw he was being "double-teamed."

Chris' sugar numbers are high, but it's because he isn't really exercising yet. Dr. G did take away one of the high blood pressure meds that was making him woozy and weighed Chris. He lost almost 30 pounds since he was in the hospital. Chris calls it the Demerol and IV diet. He looks good weightwise, but is still pale and tired.

We went for a ride to Portsmouth to Best Buy and Barnes & Noble and Chris was able to stay in the stores longer this time before heading out to the car. I got the latest book on LOST by Orson Scott Card, yes the famous sci-fi novelist. Turns out he's a huge fan of the show. I also picked up a week ago another book, LOST: The Unauthorized Guide. And the annual yearbook for the show came in the mail, so I'm all set for my airline trip to Atlanta on Monday.

Speaking of, with all the terrorist brouhaha going on right now, Delta sent me the following email:

NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVELERS
Arrive early and expect possible delays


Hello Ms. Hitchcock,

As you may know, federal authorities have issued new security procedures
that may impact any upcoming travel.

As a result, you could experience delays at the airport. Please remember
to pack lightly, travel with little or no carry on baggage (due to the
potential screening delays at the security checkpoints) and arrive
approximately three hours prior to your scheduled take-off time.

Here are some additional tips that may help you as you prepare for any
upcoming trips. No liquids or gels will be permitted through airport
screening checkpoints and they cannot be carried onboard. Keep in mind,
there are some restrictions to what items can be included in checked
baggage. Visit delta.com/baggage for additional details, and please
notify a ticket agent if you have packed any of these restricted items.
http://e.delta.com/ct/click?q=6e-2apjIyET1DZIfbZiAqqjm~yPWqNr

Examples of prohibited carry on substances include:

-- Beverages (including those purchased at the airport)
-- Shampoo
-- Suntan lotion
-- Creams
-- Toothpaste
-- Hair gel
-- And other items of similar consistency

However, you will be able to carry on the following substances:

-- Baby formula, breast milk or juice for a traveling child
-- Medicine prescribed to you
-- Insulin and other essential non-prescription medicines

And remember, including all your current contact information both inside
and outside any baggage will help ensure that a bag separated from you
finds its way back.

---------------------

Chris actually felt well enough today to take his motorcycle, Griselda, for a ride. He's been gone for about 10 minutes now. He took it out the other day for a bit as well. It's good to see him beginning to feel a little better.

-------------------
A friend (you, Dickster) turned us onto Robot Chicken, a weird ass series by Seth Green that uses action figures and dolls plus claymation techniques to do comedy skits. I've never laughed so hard. We actually broke down and bought the 1st Season DVD at Best Buy. Truly funny sick stuff.
-------------------
I also bought the Clerks 10th Anniversary DVD. Don't hate me - I've never seen the movie, but love Silent Bob and Jay.

------------------
My publisher hired a publicist for me, Brian Feinblum of Planned Television Arts. Yay!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Blade: The Series; Chippy; Chris update

I tape Blade: The Series marathon and am halfway through. I do like it, but enquiring minds want to know:

1) Are all vampires sticks? I have yet to see in this series, or for that matter, in vampire movies, any vampires that are of normal weight or overweight. Every one of them so far is either so thin on camera that they must disappear in real life (the camera adds 10-20 pounds - explain this to me please? Why can't they make a camera that films you at your actual weight?) or bulked up from weightlifting and/or steroids.

2) On Blade: The Series there is a virtual "rainbow" of vampires. A Native American Indian, Brit, Asian (doesn't define which country she's from yet), American, I'm assuming Fritz was supposed to be German, African-American (or African, I can't tell because this character hasn't spoken yet). I'm waiting to see the Mexican vampire (I'll give you taco kisses. . .of blood!), Puerto Rican (so that's where the chupacabra really comes from), Italian (he really gives you the kiss the death), Swiss (blood is better than chocolate), Bermudan (awfully natty in those Bermuda shorts), Russian (dance like a bear before I bite you!), etc.

3) So, where are the gay and lesbian vampires or are they all bi-sexual?

4) How about the transvetite or trans-sexual vampires? Where are they? Or the drag queen vampires? Come on! I want to see vampires of all kinds, people!

5) And how about the pet vampires? If they bite a dog or cat, will it live forever, too?

-------------------

Chippy was a bit standoffish yesterday, sitting on one post near the porch, breathing heavily (no, I wasn't wearing lacy jammies) and looking behind me. I kept turning around, but couldn't see anything. He finally came to the post near me, grabbed his food and skedaddled. The birds were keeping away, too. Hmmm.

About an hour later, I looked out the bathroom window and there was a hawk perched on one of the fence posts. No wonder all the animals were so jittery. I wanted to get a photo of the hawk, but it flew off before I could.

This morning, I went out and the birds and Chippy certainly made up for yesterday. Birds lined the fencing, chirping away at me. I put food in their dish, then went to feed Chippy. He actually ran right up to the post next to me and watched as I raised my hand. He tried to figure out how to get the food from my hand. I held my breath. He came thisclose to eating out of my hand!

He finally backed off and I put the food on the post, talking to him quietly. He, for once, actually sat there and nibbled on a nut instead of stuffing his cheeks and taking off.

The birds were going crazy in the birdfeeder. I've never had them not be afraid of me and they were all over. Finches, cardinals, titmouse (if there's more than one, are they titmice?), mourning doves, and some others I hadn't seen before.

Chippy stuffed his cheeks and took off. I let Bandit out (remember, Chippy thinks he's a giant chipmunk) and the birds still didn't leave the yard). Chippy came back and ran down the fence, around my legs, in the garden, stopping to pop up on his hind legs to look at me, then went to the bird feeder. He passed right by Bandit, no hesitation. Bandit was a big hunter before he became blind, so he would've pounced on Chippy before this.

An exciting day for the Chippy!

-----------------------

Chris let me take him to Kittery Trading Post yesterday. There was a used gun he was thinking of buying. So we went. While he was upstairs in the gun department, I hit the women's department and they were having a huge sale, so I picked up a bunch of shirts for my trips. I went upstairs and he was at the counter, looking a bit pale. He asked me to take him home, so I did.

He relaxed on the couch for a bit. He's out of Percocet and I keep telling him to call the doctor to get more. He doesn't want to be dependent on it, but darn, if he's in pain, just take the darned stuff. He's been trying Tylenol, then Tylenol PM to help him sleep. They aren't helping.

I took Guin for her walk and we timed it right to go on the beach. Dogs are allowed on the beaches in York only before 8 am and after 6 pm. She was excited and bounced on the sand and we chased each other around. She is so cute!

Went home and Chris was still feeling blah. I'd picked up some chicken breasts, so while I took a quick shower from the walk, he cooked the breasts up, with some Italian pasta salad.

We watched some TV, then he hit the bed.

He finally called the doctor this morning. Ever since he left the hospital, his sugars have been going up, even though he's being really careful about what he eats. It was high enough this morning for him to call the doctor. Now we have to wait to see what the doctor says and hope he won't have to go back in the hospital.

I have to do a lecture in Sanford tonight. Thank goodness it's not far from home.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Note to self:

Self, do NOT wear your Net Crimes & Misdemeanors hunter green polo shirt when walking Guin to the beach.

I wore it yesterday, with my NUMA baseball hat and aviator sunglasses. I had people beeping at me, so I waved. One woman stopped her car to ask me for directions to a store. No biggie, I get people asking for directions all the time.

We got to the beach and I saw this family taking photos on the sidewalk. So I snuck up behind them and stuck two fingers up behind this guy's head. The women with him burst out laughing. Guin and I walked on. Since I had my iPod on, I couldn't hear what they were saying, but I think I made their day.

More beeping. I waved. A guy fishing off the shore caught a fish. I saw a man sitting on the rocks and asked him what it was. A striper. Cool! He waved at me as we walked on. We rested for a bit on a rock to watch people on the beach, then headed back home. We passed the man on the rocks and he informed me that the seagulls were getting into the bait bag of the guy fishing. I told him he should shoo the seagull away and keep an eye on it (jokingly). He did. Hmmm.

One of the local bike cops rode by and waved at me. I see him just about every day. That's when it hit me. All the York cops who patrol the beach wear polo shirts, shorts, hat and aviator sunglasses. The York PD name is over their left breast. Even though their shirts are a dark plue, I realized that the name of my book, over the left breast, took up about the same amount of space.

These people probably thought I was a cop. Tee hee!

-------------------

When I got home, Chris was on the phone with the doctor. His pancreas numbers were down a bit, but still high. As long as they kept going down, he could stay home to recuperate. Yay!

------------------
I did a lot of weeding out front today, then whacked the heck out of some tall grass near the driveway and prayed no snakes would come after me. We have a family of them in that general vicinity every year and I try to leave them alone. I went inside after and Chris was feeling blah.

I told him to get dressed and we'd go for a ride. We went down to Kittery where I ran into Starbucks for a frappucinno for me. He didn't want anything, although he snuck a few sips of my drink (bad Chris).

We went to the grocery store, Chris picked out a cooked turkey breast for him for dinner. I got eggplant parmesan and he went to wait in the car. Just that little bit wore him out.

He crashed in bed when we got home and is still napping.

Almost time to take Guin for her walk to the beach. No polo shirt today!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Two radio interviews coming up

One interview is this afternoon at 4:30 pm EST on TechTalk Radio. It's pretaped, so you'll have to listen to it on Sunday or check the site when they post the interview.

The other is Fran Silverman's Radio Show, the one where the power went kaplooey on me earlier this week. She rescheduled me originally for January, but called today to let me know a slot was available on Tuesday August 22nd at 2:30 pm EST. So mark your calendars and call in - this is going to be a LIVE show.

Chris snoozed a lot yesterday. We still haven't heard from his doctor about his bloodwork, so I am guessing that no news is good news. Or else he would have called and told Chris to haul his butt back to the hospital by now.

We had lobster last night, since that is one of the few foods his tummy can tolerate. I know, poor Chris, huh? Ha ha.

My speaking schedule is crazy busy - take a look at my Schedule page. So if you know anyone who is interested in booking me for this fall, they'd better do it quick. If it's a university or college, they have to book me through my agent, Wolfman Productions.

I'm updating my presentation for my August 15th speaking engagement at the Cox Corporate Security Conference in Atlanta. This will be the second time I've done a talk for them (they do their conferences every few years). It'll be three days in hot Atlanta. I wish these places would book me when it's more seasonal, like Atlanta in the winter and Minneapolis in the spring, maybe? Oh well. They're going to be taking all attendees and speakers to the Georgia Aquarium while there and I'll get to see our webmaster, Jay and his wife while there, so it'll be a fun trip. And the hotel is a Marriott that I stayed in before. I remember it being nice.

I hope to sell a lot of books - I'm bringing 20 with me, but hope to take orders for more.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

You know. . . Radio Blackout, more

You know, I really hate when people try to read between the lines in my posts to this blog. Chris' mom called last night, all upset because I posted in my blog the *2nd day* he was in the hospital that he wanted to make sure his will was up to date. It makes common sense to do that. And it made me realize I didn't have a will either. She was claiming we were hiding something from her (like he was dying or something) and she wanted to talk to his doctor. This not only upset his mom, but Chris as well and stress is not good for Chris right now. We're pretty sure we know who told his mom this and we are NOT happy about it.

Mind you, I told his mother we were going to have wills done in person when I saw her and Dad at their house. She already knew we were doing this. So why now is she all upset? Because someone made her upset.

Chris is NOT dying. Pancreatitis is a serious illness, but it will go away eventually. It just takes a while. Chris was right in wanting to make sure his will was okay (which our lawyer says it is, now I just have to have one done for myself and we're going to have Power of Attorneys done for each other, just in case something happens in the future).

I wish people would stop taking things out of context to get others upset. It gets me mad.

Hmph.

So, the radio show I was to be on the other day. . .they called. I waited for the intro, said "Hello," then there was a weird sound, I could barely hear the host, then there was nothing.

A friend was online at the web site of the radio show to listen to it and he kept IMing me updates, which went something like this:

DM: Dead air
Me: What now?
DM: Music, elevator music
Me: No phone call back, weird.
DM: Dead air again
Me: Wait, she just called. They had an equipment power failure
DM: Some announcer came on and said they were having problems.
DM: More music.

SO that was the gist of it. I was rescheduled for January. Oh well.

Hey, it's never boring around here.

Today is a lazy day. Chris is snoozing. The dogs are "dead" - Guin is crashed in her bed in my office and Bandit is on the bathroom floor. It's still hot out, but not as bad as yesterday. The weather bug claims it's 71 degrees outside. Feels warmer. I may take the dogs for a ride in the car later, then give them a Frosty Paws dessert to cool off.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Muy caliente

Yipes, it's hot. And I'm in Maine! The high was 98 degrees here today. How do I tell Guin I can't take her for her walk because I'll probably faint from heat exhaustion? She's giving me those big eyes "Let's go mom!"

Bandit has just been laying on the floor. I haven't seen him actually move and think he's just pushing his body with his hind legs and sliding along the floor when I'm not looking.

Even our A/C is tottering. I set the thermostat to 75 degrees and it's hovering between 77/78.

No bath for me tonight. Maybe a lukewarm one.

Chris is better. He had his bloodwork done this morning, then we had breakfast at the hospital cafeteria. He wanted to get his hair cut, so I dropped him off at Geraci's Barbershop and he regaled Tom and Sharon with his hospital stay and his "great (almost) escape."

I ran across the street to a cool women's clothing store and bought some sweaters for the winter. Thinking cool!

I took Chris home, caught up on email and then went out to get his other new prescription and dinner. We decided on salads. I didn't even want to microwave anything tonight.

We've got lots to watch On Demand and I have reading to catch up on as well. The new "24" magazine came in today - yay! And the new LOST magazine - double yay! (I'm a geek, I know it)

Debbie, a good friend, sent Chris the cutest little teddy bear that had "stitches" on it and holds a Get Well balloon. I named him Boo Boo. Chris loves him. She sent me a good luck coin - a 1911 british six pence she found in a piano. I'm putting it in a special pocket in my wallet as a good luck charm.

I should be able to announce one of the things I've been hinting at in the next week or so. It's a big one. Believe me. I'm on a mega diet because of it.

You're dying to know, aintcha? I'm not gonna tell! I don't want to jinx it!

Here's to a cooler day tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

On the radio, uh oh

Chris had a rough night last night, couldn't get comfortable, was hot, then cold, then hot. He took three showers and I tried to help. I'm exhausted.

He's better today.

For me, I know this is last minute, but if you get the chance:

Fran Silverman's 2 p.m. EST guest on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 on Book Marketing with Fran on Achieve Radio is Edward W. Smith, a motivational expert, self-published author of Sixty Seconds to Success (Bright Moment 2004), stand-up comic, cable TV host, instructor and operator of the Bright Moment Seminars. http://www.brightmoment.com

Her 2:30 p.m. guest is Jayne Hitchcock, an internationally recognized cyber-crime expert and author of Net Crimes & Misdemeanors: Outmaneuvering Spammers, Stalkers, and Con Artists (Information Today, 2nd 2006). http://www.jahitchcock.com
http://www.netcrimes.net

The show airs live on Tuesday, noon to 1 p.m. (MST); 11 a.m., (PST), 1 p.m. (CST) and 2 p.m. (EST). During Daylight Savings Time, the show airs at 11 a.m. in Arizona, which does not change its clock. The archives are available 10 minutes after the shows ends.

Easy Steps Tuning Into Fran's Radio Program

1. Go to http://www.achieveradio.com
2. On left side, click "Shows, Hosts and Schedules" and scroll down to my show.

To talk to Fran and her guest, you can call toll free 800-920-3717 (Phoenix area - 623-772-9379). To email them, on left side of main page click "In-Quick Message or Call-In" (In-Quick only works during live shows).