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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Tears For Fears"

Before I go any further...HAPPY (Early) HALLOWEEN!

Today's question falls in line with the Halloween theme.

What is the scariest (or some of the scariest) experiences you have ever had?

You can tell me about things that were scary in the moment, but ended up being no big deal in the grand scheme of things or you can go for the real deal type of scares. Basically anything that is scary that you have to share works just fine.

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Write Back Weekend "If She Knew What She Wants"

As I was pondering my answer to last week's TITMT question (see below) on the drive home today, a song came on my mp3 player that got me thinking. After all, I haven't been on the lookout for someone to date for sometime now, so I needed something to remind me of all the qualities my perfect mate would possess. The song was Alanis Morissette's 21 Things I Want In A Lover.

Now you should know that I've always related to the words of Alanis, so it seems only fitting that the precursor to my list be hers.

21 Things I Want In A Lover

Do you derive joy when someone else succeeds?
Do you not play dirty when engaged in competition?
Do you have a big intellectual capacity but know
That it alone does not equate wisdom?
Do you see everything as an illusion?
But enjoy it even though you are not of it?
Are you both masculine and feminine? politically aware?
And don't believe in capital punishment?

These are 21 things that I want in a lover
Not necessarily needs but qualities that I prefer

Do you derive joy from diving in and seeing that
Loving someone can actually feel like freedom? are you funny?
la self-deprecating? like adventure? and have many formed opinions?

These are 21 things that I want in a lover
Not necessarily needs but qualities that I prefer
I figure I can describe it since I have a choice in the matter
These are 21 things I choose to choose in a lover

I'm in no hurry I could wait forever
I'm in no rush cuz I like being solo
There are no worries and certainly no pressure in the meantime
I'll live like there's no tomorrow

Are you uninhibited in bed? more than three times a week?
Up for being experimental? are you athletic?
Are you thriving in a job that helps your brother? are you not addicted?
...curious and communicative...

Of course while on some level I often relate to the words of Alanis, that doesn't mean I don't have thoughts of my own. So what follows are some of my top qualities I'm drawn to in the opposite sex (over the years, that is). Notice I preface this by saying the qualities I'm drawn to. This doesn't necessarily mean I always want to be. I suppose instead you could see my list as a mixture of the ideals and the ordeals, as the case may be.

1. Sense of humor- A sense of humor has always been the main thing that has attracted me to anyone, period. They say that if you dub a girl as having a good sense of humor it can be the kiss of death. The exact opposite often applies to a man though, thus the never ending double standard. I think that's a shame. For the record, I don't feel heinousness and funniness are not mutually exclusive.

2. Passionate- Anyone who I've ever been attracted to had strong opinions. They aren't necessarily always in line with my own, but the men I like often have strong convictions and stand by them, no matter what others around them think.

3. Slighty geeky- I know that all things geek are in the eye of the beholder, but never, ever has the typical "muscle bound meathead type" attracted in the slightest. I'd be more inclined to find my perfect guy in Barnes and Noble than Gold's Gym.

4. Not into sports- I guess this ties somewhat into the meathead theory above, but basically it boils down to this. I never wanted to be the girl who had to sit through game after game in order to spend time with my significant other. Besides, sports season is never over for a true sports nut. Once one sport ends, another one is just around the corner.

5. Complicated- This is one of those "not by choice" type scenarios, but the guys I have been attracted to have been nothing if not deep. Whether they are in the midst of some sort of emotional shootout when I meet them or there are deeper, underlying issues, I believe I have an angel complex; I want to be the girl who can save them all.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "What I Like About You"

The longer you're around the better handle you have on your turn on's and off's as the case may be.

Today's question's inspiration was a post I saw on Sybil Law's site. So today I want to know...

What is your type? Or in other words, what qualities are you (or have you) been drawn to in the opposite sex? Same sex also applies. I am nothing if not an equal opportunity TITMT'er.

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Write Back Weekend "Something Old, Something New"

Once upon a time, I used to get really excited for the new fall season.

I loved looking forward to what new shows would be coming on and more importantly, who would be on them. You see, I had so many favorite actors, many who had to have their "big break", so the idea they may be added as a permanent cast member to an existing favorite, or be made an intregal part of a new favorite was in itself, worth the anticipation.

But the last few years my passion for the new fall season has dwindled. That's because in my eyes, there has been less and less to be excited about. Many of the concepts are either been there or "out there" and the cast members are often of the "who the hell is that?" variety.

That being said, that doesn't mean that I don't still go at every new fall season with the gusto I did the season before. A girl can always dream, right? So although I have less and less time every year, that doesn't stop me from giving a slew of new fall shows a chance to sit next to returning favorites on Tivo's season passes. This year in particular, however, there seems to be a lot of new shows as a lot of older shows are no longer on the air.

The following list you are about to read (if you should be so bold) consists of 32 shows total, 13 of them new shows, all of which I attempted to watch this year. I've broken them down by night and by category, returning favorites versus new shows I'm trying this year. The **** indicate a current favorite of mine. Of course TV is a fickle creature. What's here today may be gone tomorrow and there's always something new on my horizon. Some say New York never sleeps. Neither does my Tivo.

After reading this list you may wonder how in the hell I have the time to "watch" all of it. Simply put, I don't. It's an addiction, plain and simple. I'm still trying to get through my summer season passes, but that's not important now.

Returning Favorites

Mondays - Let it be known that Monday's alone is really a week's worth of programming. If everything is new on a Monday, needless to say I need to watch something, use the Tivo and use the tried and true VCR, too.

1. ***Dancing With the Stars***- Technically this show is a two night event as it is on Tuesday, too. I like how it's brought dancing back into the forefront, and it's good, clean fun, even if the chosen stars don't always necessarily burn as bright as you'd want them to.

2. How I Met Your Mother- This show is cute and the cast works well together. That being said, it will always be a poor substitute to Friends and it's lead actor, a poor fill in for Johnathan Silverman, the man who should have had this role had they made the show ten years ago, you know, when I was still excited about the fall season. It's also interesting that in the future, the lead character's voice sounds a lot like Bob Saget. It's not like this is Wonder Years and he's a child telling the story. Wouldn't his voice be pretty much the same in thirty years or should I too worry about one day sounding something like Bea Arthur?

3. Heroes- I like this show, but sometimes I am afraid it is going to go the way of Lost, opening a lot of doors, but not giving us a whole lot of answers. I also worry a bit that the heroes themselves, which were once a small, exclusive group, seems to be everywhere. Before you know it, everyone will have super powers and if that's the case, can they really be considered to be super?

4. The Bachelor- Every crop of shows deserves a guilty pleasure watch or two. The Bachelor falls under this category, though I almost always fall asleep while watching it. After all, once you've seen one smooth talker hooking up with another misguided wanna be model, you've seen them all.

5. Samantha Who?- I've only watched this show once so far, but I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did. I mean I really wanted to hate it. What I do hate, however, is the title. Ugh.

6. Weeds- When Weeds first started I thought it was a really great premise. A suddenly single suburban mom, as to not compromise the lifestyle of her children, begins to sell weed to make ends meet. But now that it's been on for a few seasons, I have a harder and harder time feeling for the mom's situation. She continually makes bad choices, now even including her children in her bad decisions. Is it fun to watch? Sure. Does Mary Louise Parker do a good job? Absolutely. But the believability factor has definitely gone "up in smoke".

7. The Hills
- Guilty pleasure #2. I'm sure much of it is staged and regardless of whether it is or not, I'm far too old to be watching it. I don't care. I still do.


1. Beauty and the Geek- Guilty pleasure #3. I also know this one is partly staged. The beauties always seem far dumber in the beginning of the season, as to the nerds come across as way geekier. But somehow, someway they both transform and might somewhere in the middle. Riiight.


1. The Real World- Guilty pleasure #4. I have a lot of these don't I? I started watching the "seven strangers forced to live in a house..." premise years ago. In fact, at this point, The Real World has been on for more than half of my lifetime. Scary.


1. 30 Rock - I love that Tina Fey is a funny woman who also writes. I love Alec Baldwin when he's being funny, intentionally or not. I think Tracy Meadows is the perfect nut job. That's all I have to say about that.

2. ***The Office***- Take a perfect cast on a show that is brilliantly written and you have The Office. All the characters are just odd enough to make you scratch your head. Even odder is that I worked in an office just like this years ago. I so relate to Pam and my fiance is definitely my Jim.

3. ***Grey's Anatomy*** - I can still remember how when this show started how I was excited by the previews and thought it looked really good. But for the most part, a lot of mid season replacements have always been just filler, nothing of substance. Once shows like The OC and Grey's came along though, they changed the formula. Now I know that great shows need not start in fall at all.

4. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
- It's sick. It's twisted. It's filmed on next to no budget. And yet, it's highly entertaining.


1. ***Friday Night Lights*** - I was soooo happy when I heard that Friday Night Lights had been renewed for a second season. They are like the little engine that could of good television. I'm not sure where they are going this season and if I am completely happy with some storyline and character's direction, but even with its faults, this show is leaps and bounds above the rest.

2. Men In Trees- I watched this show all last year. I have the first two episodes on my Tivo for this season though and I haven't gotten to them yet. I'm still uncertain about if I'm going to continue watching it, but I will watch a few more before I make my final decision. I do think Anne Heche is a great actress though, both in her personal and professional life.


1. Saturday Night Live- I've watched faithfully since I was eleven years old. Taped or not, I don't think I've ever missed an episode. Now it's more like a tradition than anything else. It's like the Thanksgiving dinner of television. Sometimes you know it isn't going to be fun, but you watch anyway.


1. Desperate Housewives - This show is utterly ridiculous, but it is also mildly amusing. I could really take or leave the antics, but I continue to take the mysteries of Wysteria Lane. I still say that Felicity Huffman is the only one with true acting chops living on that block.

2. Family Guy
- What's so great about this show is that you can watch any episode, from any season in any order and it doesn't matter. They're all hysterical and they all are chockful of pop culture references only someone like me could love.

3. ***Brothers and Sisters*** - At first I wasn't so sure how I was going to feel about this show and the chemistry between the brothers and sisters. But the family, and their individual story lines, ultimately grew on me. I've always been envious of big families like that, so now I have the chance to live vicariously through the Walkers every Sunday night. I could take or leave the Calista role, but other than that, it's a staple of mine.

New Shows I Tried This Year


1. **Big Bang Theory** - I watched this show by accident and I'm glad I did. I really enjoy Johnny Galecki and I'm glad that he continued to work, if only sporadically, after Roseanne went off the air. In fact, I love that other Roseanne alums (Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert) have shown up on the show as well. The comedy itself is like Beauty And The Geek but more real.

2. **Chuck**- Apparently geeks are where it's at this season because Chuck is another show to make geek seem hip. The premise is about a regular guy who works as a tech support guy during the day. Only through an unfortunate mishap, all the government secrets are downloaded into Chuck's brain. As a result, he finds himself thrown into the role of reluctant espionage spy. Chuck himself is a combination of Seth from The OC and Jim from The Office. Chances are if you like either of those characters, you'd dig Chuck, too.

3. **Journeyman**
- I didn't catch up with this show until three episodes in. I liked it so much though, I watched all three episodes back to back. With my luck, that means it won't last very long. It's compared a lot to Quantum Leap an while I didn't watch that show, I know enough about it to say the comparison is valid. However, where Journeyman differs is that there is a continuing story line thread that runs from episode to episode. Quantum Leap on the other hand was rather encapsulated in nature. The lead actor, although foreign, completely reminds me of later years Anthony Michael Hall.


1. Reaper - This is another new show I'm on the fence about. It's premise is basically Chuck meets Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The lead actor is just a regular guy who works in a Home Depot like store. Regular, that is, until he finds out that his parents sold his soul to the devil when he turned 18. As a result, each episode has him battling two very different demons...his daytime boss and the devil himself. Only time will tell if the devil is in the details, too.


1. **Pushing Daisies** - Pushing Daisies is like a vivid dream you don't want to wake up from. It's child like in it's narration, but cerebral in its approach. The show is centered around a pie maker named Ned who discovers as a little boy that he has the talent to bring the dead back to life with his touch. Only catch is if he touches the dead twice, they become dead...again. Of course at the heart of it all is a love story, too. Only the one he loves he cannot touch at all since he was responsible for bringing her back from the dead. It's original, which in this day and age, is something in itself. And to think, some guys are only responsible for breaking hearts.

2. **Private Practice**
- No matter how they market it, this show is essentially Grey's Anatomy: Part Two. But I love Grey's so much that I was willing to give this one a shot. Last season I wasn't impressed with the premiere, but some tinkering has me coming back for more this fall. Plus it has the "takes a licking and keeps on ticking" actor, Tim Daly. Poor guy has been looking for a bit hit since his Wings days. For this reason alone I hope the show succeeds. Well that and the fact that Kate Walsh has a better look and more charisma than Ellen Pompeo, period.

3. Gossip Girl - Guilty pleasure #5. I can't really tell you why I watch it. Watching this show makes me feel old. But it looks like it's going to be a hit and since Gilmore Girls is gone, I felt like I owed The CW at least an hour of my time. It's a bit like Cruel Intentions only without the incestuous least so far.

4. **Dirty Sexy Money**
- I don't know what I expected the first time I watched this show, but I didn't get what I bargained for at all. It's better than I expected and yet it's not as serious as I thought it was going to be. It centers around a larger than life, rich family called the Darlings. All of the Darlings are self obsessed, only on different levels. If there's one complaint I had about this show is that I wish they would have made the rich characters a bit less cartoonish and one-dimensional. I'm afraid this way it's going to be hard to get to know them, considering they have no souls. Still for the time being, they have my interest.


1. Big Shots - This is another show I'm on the fence about and something tells me that eventually the ratings will make the inevitable decision on this one for me. I mainly watched because I love Michael Vartan. His character is the only one so far who has redeemable qualities. Overall, I think they should have made the guys more human. All the other leading men are merely existing on different levels of loathsome. If that's not the recipe for certain disaster, I don't know what is.


1. The Next Great American Band - This show just premiered this past Friday, so the jury is still out. I do like they rounded out the finals with all different types of bands, but at the same time that makes it very hard to pit them against each other. I'm also worried they let a few good ones get through the cracks in order to try to get more of a mix. Otherwise it's easy to see this is just American Idol en mass.

2. Nashville - It's a "reality" show about the pretty young things of the country music scene who want to make it big. This show is like Real World meets American Idol. It was originally meant to be a partner for The Next Great American Band, but it was removed from the schedule after a few weeks on the air. I would say it was the first casualty of the season, but it hasn't been officially cancelled...yet. I still think it's only a matter of time though.


1. Life Is Wild - If Seventh Heaven lost a few members and journeyed to South Africa you'd have the brood on Life Is Wild. Here we follow the misadventures of three children and their parents as they are uprooted from their New York lifestyle to a game reserve. It's early yet, but this show has more substance than I expected it to. Yet, it's easy enough to watch while doing other things. For instance, I'm "watching" it right now as I write this post. It also has the miscast dad (yet happy to see him anyhow), D.W. Moffett. Moffett is better used when being semi-sinister and snarky and yet, if he is on board, so am I.

2. Viva Laughlin - Ok, so I watched the premiere and I will admit, it totally has the train wreck effect. It's soooo bad that it makes it oddly good. I have no idea if you're meant to laugh at it or with it but either way, I know I'm laughing for all the wrong reasons. Even worse it has relatively big names in Melanie Griffith and Hugh Jackman as regular cast members. I can't imagine the Cop Rock of the casino set (they randomly burst into song) lasting for very long, but they can't say they didn't take a gamble. They just have to know when to fold 'em, too.

New Shows I Tried, But Couldn't Take To

1. Cane- I suppose you could say that Cane is like the Hispanic Dirty Sexy Money. I only watched one episode, but I couldn't get into it. I decided not to try too hard since I watch too much already anyhow. Of course that next week I heard that this show was picked up for more episodes. Isn't it always the way?

2. Kid Nation- Another hit that was lost on me, it's too Lord of the Flies meets Survivor. I couldn't imagine story line suspense being centered around children that were under fifteen. Even if they did manage to have drama, I get that every day in the class when I try to do group work anyhow. No need for someone like me to tune in every week.

3. Women's Murder Club- This show has only been on twice. I only watched it once. Maybe I didn't give it a far shot, but I didn't like the mix of CSI and Sex and the City. Of course I heard that it was a ratings hit the first week out. Whatever. I give up.

Shows I Gave Up This Year So Far

1. Degrassi- I was very excited to find that the old Degrassi show I watched on PBS was rejuvenated with a new generation. When I found it a few years back, I faithfully started watching. I loved the after school special like quality of the first show and how they were regular teens having regular problems, growing up before our eyes. Even the second batch managed to hold my interest for many years before I finally got sick of the "wrapping it all up in 22 minutes" writing style. I would have much rather them tell it like it is and be in it for the long haul.

2. Ugly Betty- Breaking up is hard to do, but I did finally decide to dump Ugly Betty after watching an episode an a half this season. I know, I know everyone who watched it loves it. With the exception of me. Once I saw The Devil Wears Prada and realized they did it better, that did me in.

3. Jericho
- Despite grass roots efforts to resurrect this show from the dead, can't believe this was the show to actually get revived. I was already a few episodes behind when it got canceled. When they decided to bring it back however, I was already long gone.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "You're The One That I Want Watch"

Now that the new fall season has had a few weeks to settle in this seems like a fitting time to ask the following question...

What are your favorite new fall shows so far and why do you like them? And in returning favorites fashion there's a second part to the question. What are your favorite shows that keep coming back for more and why are you happy they are still around?

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Write Back Weekend "Long, Beautiful Hair"

Once upon a time, also known as "the eighties", there lived a segment of the population that wore acid wash, Aqua Net and wanted nothing but a good time. We called these people hair band groupies and their obsession was everything hair band mania. From approximately 1982 until 1992, hair bands swept the nation with their luscious locks, music that rocks and a make-up collection that probably rivaled your sixteen year old sister's.

But just as quickly as their hair rose them to fame, all the glam of the tight jeans seemed to fall into oblivion. Anyone who was around back then remembers the good ol' days and how while it was funny to laugh at the whole image, there actually was some pretty good power ballads, rockers and key vocalists that rocked this particular brand of music. This is why I asked you to not be shy and share your favorites this past Tuesday. Now it's my turn.

So I want you to dust off your wet t-shirts, lace up your Converse sneakers and join me while I take you on a trip down memory lane with my favorite hair band memories, complete with musical clips.

1. Bang Bang- Danger Danger To me, the lead singer of this band never really had a true "hair band" voice. If you close your eyes, he sounded more like he should be singing commercials about deodorant and its endurance. I mean this as an observation by the way, not a diss. "Bang, Bang" meanwhile was quite a fun song. Both a song and a band so nice that they named them twice.

2. Born To Be My Baby- Bon Jovi In the eighties, I thought that Bon Jovi could do no wrong. Maybe that's because I was surrounded by people who felt the same. I am from Jersey after all and Jon Bon Jovi is from two towns over. But besides his winning smile and great head of hair, they had so many great songs, it really was hard to pick just one to represent them here. In the last ten years or so I've tired of the later Jovi music. I know that's sacreligious to say where I come from, but it's true.

3. Time For Letting Go- Enuff Z Nuff- I searched briefly if there was a video for this song, but I wasn't surprised to see that there wasn't. I don't know why Enuff Z' Nuff never made it as big as some of the other hair bands of the time. I bought a few of their albums from the bargain bin and loved a lot of what I heard. They were hard rockers with a pop-filled center. "Time For Letting Go" wasn't very hard, but it was very cool.

4. Fallen Angel- Poison Growing up, I absolutely LOVED this video. This was back in a time where the video actually matched the song and the song told a story. Sure it was a story about an innocent girl who wants to move to California and corrupt herself, but it was a story all the same.

5. High Enough- Damn Yankees In the early nineties, Damn Yankees had a huge hit with "High Enough". It started off as a stirring ballad and kicked into high gear when it got to the chorus. They also had Ted Nugent too. Melodic with a touch of the crazies. I dig that.

6. Rest In Peace- Extreme
I never understood why Extreme didn't get more credit for being a band that was more than, "More Than Words". Sure that might have been their biggest hit, but that was only one side of the multi-talented band. Interestingly enough, this song came from an album called III Sides To Every Story. "Rest In Peace" is not only kick ass, it also has a good message to it. Poor Gary Cherone got labeled as the bastard child of Van Halen after this. He should have been a star in his own right instead.

7. Run Runaway- Slade Believe it or not, I just discovered this song for the first time this year. I heard it on XM Radio's eighties channel and wondered how I never heard it before. Then I found myself searching for it for an hour on the internet, and lo and behold, I found it. I love how it starts off as a hard rock song, but it's also part comical hoe down. It's highly addictive, whatever it is. I was taken in by the chant-like quality which reminded me of another great song, "Come On Feel The Noise". Imagine my surprise when I discovered that song was actually a cover. The original? Done by these guys.

8. I Saw Red-Warrant In the early nineties there were two main choices for blonde, long-haired dreamy lead singers. You could have favored Bret Michaels of Poison, or Jani Lane of Warrant. Incidentally, they both ended up as washed up has beens on VH1 shows years later. Either way you were getting a cocktail of power ballads, rocker anthems and eye liner. It was hard for me to pick one song by Warrant two as I have two other favorites ("Heaven" and "Bitter Pill") but I settled on "I Saw Red" because I loved the story it told. He saw red when he opened up the door and he doesn't think he's gonna love you anymore.

9. 18 and Life- Skid Row
Whether you know it or not, Skid Row were local boys too, discovered by Bon Jovi. Lead singer Sebastian Bach had an amazing voice that transcended hair band vocals. While Skid Row's success was short-lived, Bach went on to do some Broadway and even a stint on Gilmore Girls, completely rocking the world of hair band alum expectations. "18 and Life" was back when it all began.

10. Sister Christian- Night Ranger Sister Christian is another example of a hair band with pure pop tendencies. For years I thought the actual name of this song was "Motorin'". I also loved their other great song, "Sentimental Street" which was like "Motorin: Part Two". A lot of people rediscovered (or discovered) this song after it was showcased in the movie, Boogie Nights. It was always awesome though, to me.

11. If You Needed Somebody- Bad Company A lot of people who were fans of Bad Company in the seventies would say a song like this isn't true Bad Company. But this is the era of Bad Company I grew up on, and I completely loved this song. It was a great song about pining. Not to take anything away from the likes of "Feel Like Making Love". I'm just saying.

12. Girl Don't Go Away Mad- Motley Crue I was never a huge Motley Crue fan overall, but this song was just so great for its title alone. Seriously.

13. Love Bites- Def Leppard Let' just put it out there. Def Leppard had a lot of great hits. However I have no idea what they are talking about in the majority of their songs. "Pour Some Sugar On Me", "Armageddon It" "Rocket..Yeah"'s all garbeldy gook to me. "Love Bites" meanwhile actually made some sense, though the whole "When you make love, do you look in the mirror?" lyric freaked me out when I was ten years old.

14. Be With You- Mr. Big Here lies yet another band not unlike Extreme, whose music had depth and color to it, but no one ever knew because their only big hit was the power ballad, "Be With You". "Just Take My Heart" was another excellent tune by them as well. Labeled wrongfully as a one hit wonder, "Be With You" was a great song. I remember seeing Bryan Adams as my first concert. Walking through the casino, I saw the lead singer of Mr. Big, the opening act, walking around. Our eyes locked in and it freaked me out. He was at the stage where he so badly wanted people to know him and shriek. I did know him, but I was not the shrieking type of girl. In the end, neither one of us got what we wanted.

15. Sweet Child O' Mine- Guns N' Roses When Guns N' Roses were so popular I like, totally hated them. I hated their music, I thought Axl Rose was ugly and I didn't see what all the fuss was about. But as years went on, I learned to embrace the music of Guns N' Roses, mainly because the different side that came out on their monster hit, "Patience". Now it is hard for me to pick just one song to best represent them but I settled upon "Sweet Child O' Mine" for its kickass intro. So I apologize Axl Rose, some twenty years too late. I also apologize to the girl whose Appetite for Destruction tape I ruined on the playground back in 1989. You never should have let me do that, but that doesn't mean it was right.

16. Honestly- Stryper For years, I loved the beginning of this song. I would begin to tape it off the radio over and over, forgetting each time what song it was. Then the lead singer would open his mouth and I would instantly hit stop. Needless to say, I really hated the vocals on this song back then. One day though I sat and listened to the whole thing and realized it really was a good song. Some people see it as a religious tune (since they are a religious band), others have made it their wedding song. Whatever floats your boat. That's what I say.

17. Legs- ZZ Top Despite whatever your preconceived notions are about ZZ Top, when you hear the name, I challenge you not to picture the long beards, big guitars and THIS video in your mind. Not only is it a classic video, it's also a classic song. She's got legs, and she knows how to use 'em.

18. Love Song- Tesla Some people loved this song for its long, beautiful intro alone. I loved all of it because it had a little bit of everything all rolled into one "love song". Their cover of "Signs" wasn't half bad either.

19. Here I Go Again- Whitesnake Now known as the infamous, "Tawny Kitaen dancing on the hood of a car video", "Here I Go Again" is actually a song that builds slowly, but totally draws you in. It's great to get you worked up before taking a second shot at something. If only Whitesnake could have pumped themselves up to revive their career.

20. When It's Love- Van Halen Another great band with too many great tunes to pick just one. I chose "When It's Love" because it was always a favorite of mine, and fell in line with the rest of the group so well. I know that I might get burned at the stake for picking a song from the Sammy Hagar years but it's ok, you'll get over it.
Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tell It Like It Is

Lately I've been having a very hard time finding the time (or the motivation) to blog. I don't know what my problem is. It's not like I don't still come up with things that I can write about and God knows I don't know when to shut up.

But sometimes I come home at the end of a day and I just want to chill out. Blogging takes energy. How I managed to once do it on nearly a daily basis baffles me now. Not only did I blog fairly regularly, I did it while being a new teacher. Now I've been teaching longer and I'm more into a groove, and yet my energy is zapped all the more. I guess I'm just getting old.:(

So I decided to try and take Rix's advice, at least for this week, and simply write a "what's been going on" type of post instead of the themed nuggets of wit you've come to love AOGB for. I hope you'll oblige me while I try a post like this and see where it takes me. What better place to start than at the heart of my daily life, what's going on in my classroom this year.

As some of you may remember from my post a few weeks ago, for the first time this year I have a student teacher. I am happy to say that it is going well. I have heard horror stories about lazy or unprepared student teachers and I'm glad to report that that is not the case. In fact, my student teacher and I get along really well. So well in fact that I am going to definitely be sad when she leaves in December.

One of the biggest reasons it is so great that I have a student teacher is because I currently have 24 students in my classroom. Depending on where you teach and what you teach that might not seem like a lot to you, but when you have a batch of needy and/or lazy third graders, any extra help is appreciated. In its truest form, a student teacher is supposed to take over responsibility of the class completely, but since my class this year needs so much redirection and motivation, we often take more of a team teaching approach to get the job done, so to speak.

The bigger problem driving this year is the fact that I have eight, count 'em eight retentions in my class that I know of. Yes, you read that right. Those of you who were paying attention above will recall that just a moment ago I said I had 24 students. That means that one-third of my class has been retained previously. I said that I know of because this year has been the year of CSI type investigating. You didn't know teachers had to solve mysteries too did you? Well, they do. The past few weeks have been living proof of that.

I've had to do some digging and be quite resourceful in order to determine who has been retained before. The information that comes to me in the beginning of the year is hardly ever complete, or accurate. Now I know better and luckily this is the first year where having the extra help has provided me with the opportunity to dig deeper into the backgrounds of some of my students. This is crucial considering the big picture. Since No Child Left Behind, any child is no longer meant to be retained more than once in his life. It's called social promotion. Without knowing who has been retained before and who hasn't though, you run the risk of letting one slip through the cracks in more ways than one, among other things.

Now although one-third of my class has been retained before, that doesn't include the other two thirds. Another third I could easily make a case to retain tomorrow, which leaves the remaining third of the kids to pick up the slack for the rest. Scary, right? I think so.

Don't get me wrong. As anyone who has been reading my blog the past three years knows, my classes have never been top notch. Part of it is not their fault. I teach in a poor, urban area where in many cases, English is a second language. You simply cannot hold the children to the same standards as you would that of the privileged, suburban youth of surrounding areas. That doesn't mean though that I go easier on my students because of this. If anything, it's quite the contrary considering I am trying hard every day to break the cycle of poverty and low level jobs with the next generation. Empowering these children to aim higher, even this early, I believe is essential. Letting them off easy because of their backgrounds is not only disservicing the kids, but our country as well.

The other day we had a grade level meeting about motivation. We've talked about this regarding classes in the past but the song remains the same. We aren't doing anything wrong in terms of motivation, the kids just aren't motivated by the right things, period. If you give them lunch detention, they barely blink. If they fail a test, they stuff it in their folders. And where do they learn that these things are ok? I almost always can trace it right back to the parents. Chances are the more absentee they are, the more likely you are to have other things "missing" such as homework, h honesty and a sense of responsibility.

The scariest piece of the puzzle is that the passing average for standardized tests scores raises each year. It would be one thing if you were constantly working on improving the scores of the same kids and held accountable for that number. But each year is supposed to be higher, even though it is a brand new group you are assessing.

It is too soon to tell what this year's results are going to bring, but if I could look for a moment into my crystal ball I'd have to say the outlook isn't so good.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Hair, There, Everywhere"

Nowadays the music world is saturated with the likes of emo and R&B, but in a land not so far away, the hair band Gods rules supreme.

So this week I'm asking you to take out your hairspray and acid wash and join with me in a little nostalgia.

What are your favorite hair band songs of all time and why?

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Write Back Weekend "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

This week I decided to make a call for all the crazies by asking you to tell me about the craziest Internet searches that have brought people to your site. To be honest, I don't know what is crazier, that people are out there searching for these things on my site, or that these people are out there searching for these things, period.

Over the years AOGB has been in existence, I have noticed a trend in the traffic that has brought people to me. A lot of visitors find me assuming a blog entitled "The Art of Getting By" is a religious site. While my site is hardly blasphemous, it isn't exactly religious either. Still consistently I have found that religious folk have flocked to this blog more than any other "group" that otherwise knows nothing about AOGB. To these people I say come children, let AOGB be with you.

The second most consistently popular search I've noticed over the years are image searches. Since I've linked to so many people for different posts that I have written, merely searching for them has brought these innocent bystanders I wonder what they think when search for say "Rick Springfield" and get so many results for my site, only to not find that I do not now, nor did I ever, know Rick Springfield personally. You can really insert any celeb's name there. No matter who it is, I apologize for letting you down unintentionally.

My intention this week, however, was to monitor a small sampling of hits to my blog and extract the weirdness for this week only. I know there has been a lot of interesting, out there type of hits to AOGB, but monitoring them over the long term would be easier said than done.

In fact, I also discovered something else...monitoring them, if only for a week, also became easier said than done. I started off strong on Tuesday and then the rest of the week, I slipped. I don't know how I managed to blog nearly every day just a year or so ago because I simply don't have the time or the energy anymore. Long story short, I didn't get to investigate my hits as closely as I intended to. But the ironic twist is that there isn't as much to analyze considering not as many visitors swing by AOGB as they once did.

The following is a smattering of odd hits I received over the course of this week. As an added bonus, I decided to put myself in the shoes of the searches and see if I could find the post that loosely connected them to moi. I realize that actually writing about these things this time I might run the risk of drawing these searchers out of the woodwork yet again. It's ok. I'm ready for 'em this time!

1. Old Navy Sweater Commercial
- I have worn Old Navy sweaters before, never have I written extensively about searching for clothing there. Apparently though, the mere mention of both "Old Navy" and "sweaters" on the same page for two entirely different posts brought the visitor to this link.

2. Debbie Gibson For Better Or Worse Multiply
- Ok, I'm guilty I've written about Debbie Gibson before. I'm also guilty of knowing that For Better or Worse is the title of one of Debbie Gibson's songs, not that I was writing about it, but still. The multiply bit baffled me unless you wanted to multiply Debbie Gibson, which I don't think anyone is into, right? At any rate, here
is the page that made it all happen.

3. Turkey Art For Grade Two's- As far as I can tell, in this case I was talking about school and thus, the word "grade" came up. I also talked about the "terrible two's" in another post. I have no idea how the turkey came into play. Here. Feel free to figure it out for yourself.

4. Is There Underlying Problem 4th grader Doesn't Hand In Completed Work- I can't seem to find the specific post that brought people to my blog (because I write about school a lot), but I think through searching for the connection, I may have found the solution. Apparently Attention Deficit Order is to blame.

5. The Art of Acquiring Power- Slab "The Art of..." in front of anything and people have found my blog because of it. This one was actually a rather easy search to trace. Take the title of my site, plus my recent post on superpowers and voila, there you have it!

6. What To Do About Getting Left Behind In The Computer Age - Let's suppose I wrote about the computer age before. Ok, I'll give you that. The Left Behind part baffled me initially, but then I realized I've written about the No Child Left Behind Act before and suddenly, it all came together. Unfortunately, I don't know what to tell the people who are concerned about getting left behind in the computer age other than the fact that they used the Internet to search for something like that means they might not be as behind as they thought they were.

7. Spice Adultnetwork- Here we start to pull out the big guns. This one is actually the funniest to me. In a post I wrote entitled, Some Like It Hot, I started off by saying, "There's something that anybody who knows me, knows about me. I LOVE SPICE." Ironically, I followed it with the following words, "No, I'm not talking about that raunchy "adult" network type spice, so you can all just get your minds out of the gutters, thank you very much." The irony is in the mere mention of NOT talking about it, I did indeed talk about it. And the rest is internet searching history.

8. Men Dressed As Girls- Another "mind in the gutter" type of search, I think I see the lineage here, too. I have written before about fashion and how men have it easier than women. But let's get one thing straight- I never dug men dressing up as girls. So if you happen across this blog, you cross dressing crusader, get it right this time!

9. Art To Getting Beat Up- This one could be a mirage of anything really. I did a show with the song "Beat It" and remember what I told you earlier about "The Art of..." anything? I don't know about all of you, I'm just surprised there is an art to getting beat up and not the other way around. Do you duck on the count of three or cover parts of your body to ease the blow? Inquiring minds want to know!

10. My Name Isn't Baby. It's Janet. Miss Jackson If You're Nasty Lyrics
- This is a fun one. I understand how it got people here and in that sense, I suppose it isn't that weird. After all, my name isn't baby either. I also have never put in a corner. But that's neither here nor there.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "I Know It's Crazy, But It's True"

First of all I have to say I'm thinking about recycling some of my old TITMT questions and using them again. The problem is I know there are a lot of good questions left to ask, but I seem to have writer's block if I don't write them down right away.

Long story short, if you have a good question that you'd like to see on a future TITMT, please email me at Now on to today's lame attempt...

What are some of the weirdest searches that brought people to your site?

I like this question, but I'm not sure how good I am going to be at recalling them off the bat. I'm thinking about trying to closely monitor my traffic this week instead so if you want to participate and choose to do that too, that's cool by me.

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Write Back Weekend " We Don't Need Another Hero"

When I sat down to write my answer to last week's TITMT question I realized something. Superpowers are like potato's hard to pick just one. I borrowed that one from an old film strip on fire safety starring Dick Van Dyke on you can substitute 'superpowers' for 'smoke alarms'. Still, the sentiment remains the same.

If you initially acquire a superpower I imagine the first reaction would be one of disbelief. You know the "look at what's happened to me, I can't believe it myself" school of thought so aptly described by the Greatest American Hero. But soon there after I'd imagine that reluctance would give way to abundance and suddenly, you'd want it all and you'd want it NOW.

This is why it is easy to fall into the "grant three wishes, wish for more wishes" way of thinking on this one. I attribute that to acquiring power itself. If you watch Heroes at all, Peter's "absorb all" power that Becky eluded to falls under this heading and is tempting to request. Once many people attain power, they forget what it was like to once have been the little guy. I suppose to some extent it's human nature, but there are always extremes. Just think about a boss or two who I'm sure you have crossed paths with and you'll know what I mean.

When I asked the question initially, I really didn't have an answer in mine. Then I read some of yours and I have to admit, I read some pretty creative responses. So much so that for the first time ever, I think I'm going to do a top five favorite superpowers listed by all of you instead of just finding one of my own to write about.

1. Marty said..."To snuff out bull shit. I guess that would make me Bullshitman. I hope that name isn't copyrighted as yet."

Nat chose the Lie Detector which is pretty close to BS detector. Either way, I think I have been honing this skill for years actually. You're training takes place by teaching elementary school.

2. Dawn said..."Honestly, I just want to be able to teleport. That would ROCK."

Teleportation reminds me of Back to the Future and time travel itself is the ultimate rush. The idea that we could go back in time to undo our wrong doings or go into the future and avoid mistakes we had yet to make is just too delicious to even imagine, but I'll try.

3. The Write Jerry aka Bent Sense had the most creatively robust answer..."I've always wanted to be TimeLine, The Emperor of Time, Space & Dimension! I'd be a benevolent manipulator of history and the cosmos."

I think this might fall under the same heading as teleportation, but it's extravagant detail and ornate wording suckered me in on impact.

4. My first choice..."To be able to control people and things via hypnosis."

I know there are people who claim to be able to hypnotize people, but I'm talking in a put under your spell sorta way. Some might call that witchcraft. I call that awesome.

5. My second choice...To be invisible at a moment's notice.

I always thought it would be so cool to be that fly on the wall. Imagine all that you could see and hear. You'd know if people were really talking about you behind your back just like you always wondered. You'd also know if crimes were committed, be that big or large, because no one would know you were there. I was really shy in high school. It was as close to being invisible as a real, live person can get. As a result, I was privy to a lot of information I shouldn't have been. I rest my case.

Of course the ideal superpower would be the turbo combo of those mentioned above. But like I said, I'd settle for one thing that's super. Beggars can't be choosers.



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