What a weekend!

http://www.lafollette.wisc.edu/publicservice/floods/images/Monona%20Terrace_Lake%20Front.jpgThis past weekend I went to my first Mary Kay company event - Career Conference - which took place at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center located right on Lake Monona in Madison, WI.

What's really neat about the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center is that it was built by architect Frank Lloyd Wright! Myself and another member of my MK unit, who's also a graphic artist, had a blast walking around the convention center and viewing everything! Even the gift shop had replicated pieces of Frank Lloyd Wright's various works for sale - it was pretty neat!

Anyways, below is one of the new Mary Kay commercials that they premiered to us at Career Conference - it's actually pretty cute and funny! I also think it's pretty clever, as all the things the women ask, we offer!

Career Conference was really fun though, but exhausting!

The first day/night there, we picked up our registration packet and goodies (including 5 full size new items we're offering this quarter!), some of us got ribbons to attach to our conference badges (which reminded me of the badges we wore at ACEN when we went) - I got 1 ribbon for it being my first year in Mary Kay; some ladies had a huge long thing of ribbons attached to theirs - the most I counted was 12! After registration, a few of us, who didn't have anything scheduled for the afternoon, walked around before heading over to The Great Dane Pub and Brewry to reserve a table for our group (there was almost 20 of us, from our 3 unit group). If you're in downtown Madison near Capitol Square, I recommend checking out this place! The food was really good and at an affordable price too! We didn't have any drinks, since it was a business conference, but I imagine some of their brews would probably be good if you like beer.

After dinner, we walked the 2 blocks back to the conference center and the sat in the opening ceremony for the evening before heading back to our hotel - there was a lot of recognition! They also gave away a lot of prizes too - bags, jewelry, a free registration to Seminar this July in Dallas, scrape booking sets, and other fun things! Also, they prayed before the sessions, which was really neat to see, as Mary Kay was a Christian, and the company is founded on the Golden Rule with the structure of God first, family second, career third. It was really neat to see that put in action! They also showed some inspiration video footage of Mary Kay Ash speaking at various seminars during her time - it was really neat! She seems like she would have been a really neat older lady to sit and chat with, kinda like my grandma on my dad's side! Unfortunately though, she died in 2001 - only a small handful of women at the conference remained standing when they asked how many of us there had met her.

We went back to the hotel for the night, trying to find the N. Iowa vs Michigan game on the radio, as my director is an alumni of N. Iowa and was freaking out that they had made it that far. When we got back, she watched the end of the game in our hotel room (which was AWESOME by the way! It was a suite, with a stove, dishwasher and fireplace - it had better appliances than my apartment and was only slightly smaller! and we got a great deal - $55/room, $13.50/person!). It was pretty amusing watching a 7 mo. preggo lady jumping around, getting all into a basketball game on TV! After the game, my unit had a PJ party with one of the other units we came with and we had a little birthday party at midnight, as one of our girls was turning 30!

The next morning, we woke up at 630 and we were down at the continental breakfast by 730 so we could leave the hotel by 8. We had morning classes at 830 and then a morning session at 1030, followed by lunch and the closing ceremony.

Some of the stories these women shared... WOW! One woman, Hollie Sherrick, her story really surprised me that it hit close to home. She shared that when she first started Mary Kay she was a single mom and $50k in debt. She really felt she had nothing left to lose. After getting out of debt though, her credit still wasn't high enough to get a home loan and she had to work and wait for it - getting a home of her own was a dream of hers, much like it is for me and hubby, although, like Hollie, we're in the same spot she was in (hubby's credit still too low according to the bank). She did get approved though, and for so much more than she was expecting and was able to get her dream home! Her and her unit were also recognized at the conference as #1 in production too! I figure, if she can get that much out of debt and become the #1 unit in production in our conference area, then why can't I do this? I'm in a lot better circumstances than she was, there's no reason I can't. As nice as it is that I only work 2 days a week and make a "decent" paycheck considering how little I work, after the first 2 months, I have been BORED out of my mind. There's no reason why I can't do this better when I have plenty of time to myself - especially since hubby got a 2nd job and I'm home alone so much these days.

So overall, this weekend was a big boost to my confidence that I CAN do this.

They left us with several challenges, which I am working on. One of my goals for this year that I posted back in January was to get my Red Jacket by Christmas. Well, I'd rather earn enough that I can afford to go to Seminar and wear my Red Jacket there.

I also decided I *want* to go to Seminar now. Originally, once I learned of the cost, I figured, forget it, I won't be able to afford it and we're going to Dallas in October anyway on vacation... but after this weekend, I want to go. Plus, 1 night we get to wear prom dresses and ball gowns too - how fun is that?? I love getting all dressed up like that! And it's all good, I'll be in the conference center pretty much the whole time so it won't be like I'm exploring the city without hubby - we can do that for our trip in October. My director said that if we just start saving a little bit from each party we do between now and then, we should be good to go once July comes.

Also, the girl in my unit who I mentioned earlier that also does graphic design work, her and I really got to bond this weekend which was really neat! I needed something like that - ever since I moved back to my hometown almost 2 summers ago, I haven't really felt connected with anyone my age. I have a few friends from high school I still occasionally meet up with and talk to online and on the phone sometimes, but they're busy with their kids a lot too as well as work. Now this girl, she's a single mom too, taking online classes, but she makes an effort each week to be there at our meetings and we have art and video games in common too. So it was just nice getting to bond with someone close to my age, that's female and lives nearby.

So a lot of good things came out of this weekend and I'm really glad I went!

My virtual selves

Throughout my nearly 5 years of playing World of Warcraft I've created and played many different classes - having gotten at least 1 of each class to level 10.


The first character I chose to play was a human female Paladin. Originally, I wanted to play a rogue like my soon-to-be roommate was and also thought the warlock class sounded kinda neat (I thought they had some amusing pets), but my boyfriend informed me that I couldn't be either of those classes if I wanted to be in the guild with him and our (his) friends.


It was an RP (role-playing) guild on an RP server (one of the few original ones ever made!) and they RP'd that the guild was a "holy Templar" guild and rogues were considered to be thieves while warlocks use demons and dark magic.

He suggested I try a Paladin, explaining that it was a melee fighting class, that could also heal, and thought it would be a good class for me to play while learning the game, since being able to heal myself gave me less of a chance for "dying."

I also picked the herbalism and alchemy professions, as my boyfriend explained that I could benefit from making potions for myself that would increase my stats and replenish my health and mana if needed.

He had me put my points in the Retribution (melee dps) tree and never really explained the other 2 paladin trees to me, so Ret was all I knew how to play in addition to throwing the occasional heal on myself when needed.

Yes, I realize her name is part of a common chicken dish. When my ex told me I needed an original RP name, it was honestly the first thing that came to mind and I don't know why, but it sounded "olden" enough to me. Most people ended up calling me Flour (pronounced floor) for short though.

I've done so much on Flour that it just feels strange when some people in game call me by one of my other toons' names. On her I've PVP'd back in the day, raided all the old school instances and raids, been diplomatic and made a lot of friends (and a few enemies). It's almost like she's part of me. She was the co-leader of a somewhat well known guild back in Vanilla, being the more diplomatic leader of the bunch and being pretty well-known on the server at one point. She was part of the 2nd wave of Paladins to get their epic quest mounts and then helped most of the paladins on the server successfully get theirs, since people seemed to think I was awesome at teaching the simple seal-mobwave strategy someone else had taught me. She was also pretty well-known among the server's RP community during Vanilla as well (Public RP on the server pretty much died soon after Burning Crusade came out and is near non-existent these day and very rare to find!).

The first picture of her I took back in spring of 2006, during one of our early guild allianced Molten Core runs. Her mace is Finkle's Lava Dredger, which drops out of Majordomo's treasure chest - it was my first epic weapon ever and I got it on the day AQ opened on our server too, which makes it even more memorable. I swear I wore those blue legplates out of AQ20 forever too - the Judgement skirt would just not drop for me, ever, until after I didn't need it anymore cuz I had better, but I did eventually get them for nostalgia sake, cuz they look awesome! She's also wearing several pieces of Soulforge - the Paladin .5 dungeon set that you upgrade through an annoying and long quest chain (I ended up with 6/8 pieces). The chestpiece is from the ZG rep quests - I eventually got 5/5, but usually only wore 3/5.

Notice, in the 2nd picture, when the in-game Barber Shops were introduced right before the release of Wrath, Flour instantly went and got a new hairstyle. While her ponytail was practical, she had been fighting mobs for years and I decided it was time to go ahead and let her hair down. That's how she currently looks, gear and all. Poor Flour... I haven't really played her much since the release of Ulduar.

This was the 2nd character I leveled to 60 back in Vanilla, however she wasn't my first attempt at a warrior.

I had played a male warrior in the beginning human areas, just to try it out but the whole being a dude thing wasn't working for me and I got bored with it.

I actually leveled this 'new' warrior - the female Atreyuu - with my ex as he leveled a rogue, so it made leveling pretty painless and more fun. No - her name isn't because of the band, Atreyu (although I do like them); yes - she is named after the boy warrior in The Never Ending Story, a movie I grew up watching. I eventually bought her the white epic horse mount, she she does have her horse too.

Since Atreyuu was an alt, she didn't get priority on main raids so I mainly just dps'd on her, taking her Arms 2hander/Mortal Strike spec, but when it came to alt-MC and alt-ZG (which those of us regulars would take our alts so the lesser geared mains could take their toons), I would help offtank on her.

Unfortunately, I never really enjoyed playing her past Vanilla. In Burning Crusade, compared to Flour, she just felt really weak and to be honest, I don't enjoy being a tank (I'm not that great at it). I think she is currently level 63. She is also mining/enchanting spec'd, but I haven't done much with them in awhile.

Sam was my first night elf character and my rogue that I eventually made. While leveling her, I would also RP on her - she was convinced she was a pirated and loved adventure. I even put together a pirate ensemble for her.

I really enjoyed the Subtlety spec and parked her at level 59 to PVP with her in the 50-59 bracket during the last portion of Vanilla WoW. It was a lot of fun stealthing around - especially in Alterac Valley, where I would stealth over to the horde base and climb up the towers, capturing them while the raid was still maybe halfway through the map. It was fun!

Currently, she's an engineer and a miner. I decided that once the next expansion comes out, I'm going to faction change her to a cute little pirate gobin and what profession goes better with a goblin than engineering! This caused me to start leveling her again, as I didn't really play her too much once Burning Crusade came out (I think she was level 63 when Wrath came out). Right now she's in the lower 70s.

No, she's not named after the freaky little girl in the movie The Ring. I originally wanted to name her Sammy or some variation on that, however they were all taken. So I gave her a Sam name and just refer to her as Sam or Sammy for short.

Nailed and her pet Hammered (pictured above with Burning Crusade Flourentine)

When I saw how cool Blood Elves looked in the Burning Crusade previews I decided I wanted to make one. And I always wanted to eventually level a hunter (I had made one and failed miserably at it before I got a chance to do the pet quests - all my armor broke, I had no money and no way to repair so that toon was a bust). Hubby's first main was a hunter and he made it look so fun, and the hunters I knew always seemed to have fun as well so I figured I'd give it a try when Blood Elves were available.

I wanted my hunter and pet to have names that went together, so I thought of some clever ideas and decided on Nailed for my hunter, Hammered for her pet (which can go 2 ways).

At first I just leveled her when I was bored on my alliance toons, but when I was trying to focus on graduating, I banned myself from raiding and so in my freetime, once I had my homework done, I'd just log on this one. And since I was busy with work post-graduation and couldn't fit raiding into my schedule, I just worked on leveling this one. Eventually I began casually raiding on her when I could with my guild towards the end of Burning Crusade - I was a decent hunter, keeping up with the Beast Mastery spec'd ones while I was Marks.

Once Wrath came out though I switched back to my alliance character and didn't really play her much for about a year, then I picked her up, dusted her off and leveled her up to 80 and did a little raiding on her. I eventually dual spec'd Survival on her, as I loved Marks but realized I wasn't doing nearly the same amount of damage as the Survival hunters I found myself grouped with. I use Survival as my raid spec, as well as a wolf named Smashed for a raid pet. Now Hammered is my regular pet I use for non-raids and he's a Springpaw that Nailed got in the beginning Blood Elf lands. But the Wolves give a buff that helps in raids so that's why I recently tamed one and leveled it up.

As soon Flour hit 80 I started raiding Naxx on her with my guild. After the first few months, she was pretty much geared up and my guild had the problem where 75% of the time we would have leather or Vanquisher items drop, yet we had no one in the raid that could use them. I started leveling up Sam, since she fit the category, however it wasn't as fun.

I decided to level a Night Elf Druid to help with this issue.

Yarris wasn't my first druid though - back in Vanilla I once made and leveled to 30 a Tauren druid on an alt server during some downtime on my regular server (it was for a few days so some of our friends and in our guild all rerolled horde on this alt server). After our server was fixed though, no one really played these toons anymore so I kind of abandoned her (I tried to play, but it was an RP-PVP server and yeah... PVP servers kinda suck when you're in contested territory plagued by higher level jerks). I enjoyed playing a Boomkin though so I rolled this druid the same spec, with healing as an off-spec (HoTs are sexy!).

I did pretty well as a Boomkin and actively raided on her in my new guild (the previous guild I was in fell apart weeks before I hit 80 on her). It was a lot of fun!

And no, I did not name her after the stupid Toyota car - it's actually bohemian and for those that know me in person, well, you know what Yarris is!

Hm... which will I play first come Cataclyism?

Other characters I have:
  • Weeblez - a gnome DeathKnight I made and play on occasion. I made a guild with her called "WobblezButDontFallDown"
  • Mizerie - a blood elf DeathKnight I sometimes play on my roommate's server
  • Mizerie - a blood elf shadow priest in her 30s, a horde character I sometimes play (this Mizerie came before the DK)
  • Kattina - a level 30 human warlock on a friends server. I haven't touched her in years, aside from getting her her mount early when they complimented the patch that let you get them at 30.
The rest of my characters are under level 10 and inactive, cept for my alliance banker.


Music Shuffle Monday (3.29.10)

http://www.veryicon.com/icon/png/Media/iPod,%20Therefore%20I%20Am/iPod%20Mini%20Blue.png1. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" - Green Day
Green Day is one of those bands that I kinda grew up. Their big album, "Dookie" came out in 4th grade and I remember one of my friend's brothers had the album. We would try to sing "Basket Case" but only the friend who's sibling had the CD knew lyrics and told us she'd get in trouble for repeating them, lol... I bought their CD "Nimrod" in Jr. High with my cousin while visiting relatives out in Pennsylvania but tried to hide it from my parents - I didn't think my parents would approve of me owning a Green Day CD back then!

In my 3rd year of college the album this song is on - "American Idiot" - was huge. All the kids I knew had it in some shape or form (I downloaded the songs I liked on my computer and put em on my iPod). I also used the lyrics for one of my Vis Com projects, you can see on my art page. Granted, I don't think this is one of their best albums, but I did enjoy most of the singles off it.

2. "I Don't Care" - Apocalyptica feat. Adam Gontier from Three Days Grace
This is the 2nd single off Apocalyptica's 2007 album "Worlds Collide." For those not familiar with the band, they are a Finish symphonic metal band.

Yes, you read the right: Symphonic. Metal.

And it sounds AWESOME.

Apocalyptica has a great blend of rock/metal instruments with orchestral strings. While they offer many original songs, they also do covers of other well known rock/metal bands and often feature guest musicians on vocals for some of their tracks. I recommend going out and picking up one of their CDs - their instrumental stuff is amazing, I LOVE IT. This was probably one of the best albums of 2007.

3. "The Pot" - Tool
Tool is one of those bands that seems to have been around forever. Their songs tend to be longer but they put so many different dynamics and sounds into them that you don't even noticed that 5+ minutes have gone by. This is the 2nd single from their Grammy winning 6th album 10,000 Days.

The first time I ever heard of Tool was when I saw their video for the song "Sober" - talk about a freaky video! It's dark and creepy with weird little claymation figures. By the time I got to high school Tool released their album Lateralus and I literally could not get away from their song "Schizm" that summer - EVERYTIME I got in my car or turned on the radio that song was on. I'm not even kidding!

I didn't mind Tool - it wasn't until singer Maynard James Keenan and co. did A Perfect Circle as a side project and released the 2nd album that I actually became more of a fan of their work (Thirteenth Step is one of my favorite albums ever), especially the current stuff as it seems a bit more reminiscent of APC than Tool. Now don't get me wrong, the older stuff is good too, but I like the newer stuff better.

4. "Honest Mistake" - The Bravery
I remember seeing this video once in college, late night on VH1, but it wasn't until I found it on my husband's ipod while we were dating that I had to have it too. It's a bit of a different sound and The Bravery never really got big, but they had a pretty neat video, creating a domino effect with dominos and different objects.

5. "The Beginning is the End is the Beginning" - The Smashing Pumpkins
This was the closing track to the Batman and Robin soundtrack. While the movie is extremely cheesy and corny and on many lists for the worst movies ever, the soundtrack was actually pretty good. This song also goes along with the soundtrack's opening track, also by the Pumpkins, titled "The End is the Beginning is the End" - while the first track is heavy and fast-paced, this one is slow and unwinding. They compliment each other nicely.


80s Primetime shows

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_utpn85k5ndo/S38v5P_J4bI/AAAAAAAAAJw/mw1r8Sd4oxE/s1600/flashbacklogo.jpgThis week's Flashback Friday is part 2 of a 2-parter regarding television shows I would watch in the 80s. This week, we'll be flashing back to the primetime shows I remember watching as a kid.

http://www.alftv.net/pictures/sitcom/alf.jpgI don't know what it was, but for some reason I LOVED Alf, the brown funny looking alien that lives with the suburban Tanner family while trying to fix his spacecraft after he had crashed into their garage. One element played for comic value was that Alf was always trying to catch the family cat and eat it - a bit gruesome and strange when you think about it now, but as a kid, we just laughed and thought it was funny! Alf aired on NBC for 4 seasons in the late 80s. I remember Hardees had Alf toys and even mini hand puppet versions of the infamous alien - I had one, with him wearing a Hawaiian shirt and I remember playing with him a lot!

Perfect Strangers
http://image3.examiner.com/images/blog/EXID1994/images/strangers.jpgAn 80s sitcom classic, Perfect Strangers chronicles the adventures of Larry Appleton and his distant cousin Balki Bartokomous. Larry we learned just moved from a small town in Wisconsin to the big city of Chicago when Greek cousin Balki shows up. Knowing very little about America, Larry decides to take Balki under his wing and teach him about our country. As a kid, I didn't really follow the plot too closely, but I did find Balki to be extremely funny in the way he would pronounce and do things that were so common to us - he was such an outrageous character! Perfect Strangers also featured a character named Harriette Winslow as an elevator operator, who eventually got her own show spin-off - Family Matters.

Family Matters
http://api.ning.com/files/xj8EBGAqpE91o3w-AMTiaovbnWi*Myafn4a*arNmrR9-BCzQ5FEcSOOVdKqLK-r9t8GsmGDTdU*gCipLLYItUWF2x6DhdBGM/Steve20Urkel.jpgFollowing Perfect Strangers, we are introduced to the Winslow family - Harriette and her husband Carl and their kids Eddie, Laura and Judy - and their lovable nerdy neighbor, Steve Urkel. As kids, we loved the character of Urkel, he was so funny and out there - kids could relate to him in some way! And there was so much Urkel merchandise too - I remember there was a talking Steve Urkel doll, where you pull the string on his back and he says one of him many catchphrases! While this show started in the late 80s, it lasted well into the 90s and we always enjoyed watching Urkel and his antics drive the Winslow family nuts!

The Cosby Show
http://sharetv.org/images/the_cosby_show-show.jpgThere was something about Billy Cosby that we loved as kids. Growing up, we often watched the Huxtable family - Bill (played by Cosby), his wife Claire, and their children Denise, Theo, Vanessa, and Rudy - go through events and parts of life that we would experience at sometime in our lives, whether or not we realized it as kids. Over the years they added to the cast, adding eldest sister Sondra and her husband Elvin, and eventually Denise's husband Martin and his young daughter Olivia. Cosby had a way with kids, so watching him interact with them on TV was something we all enjoyed.

The Wonder Years
http://violintide-da.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/wonderyears.jpgAh Kevin Arnold, oh how we enjoyed watching your adventures through adolescence each week as you had your on again, off again relationship with Winnie Cooper. My mom enjoyed watching this show as it took place in the 60s and she was right around the same age as Kevin was when all that stuff was going on. I enjoyed watching it just because it was a fun show. To this day, we still enjoy watching this show, as it's one of those timeless TV classics. I was sad to see it in the 90s, after 6 seasons and I thought the way things ended with Kevin and Winnie was just sad - we were always rooting for them to finally end up together for good. Unfortunately, this one has yet to be released on DVD to trouble gaining all the music rights for it (much like the series Freaks and Geeks), as it displayed many, many songs from that era. I can't wait for when it is finally released though, as this is definitely a must have series!

Full House
http://funboxcomedy.com/uploaded_images/fullhouse.jpgIn the late 80s were introduced to another Tanner family - this one headed up by Bob Saget as Danny Tanner, raising 3 young girls (DJ, Stephanie and baby Michelle) with the help of his best friend Joey and brother-in-law Jesse after the sudden death of his wife. I was barely 3 when the show started, so I enjoyed watching the bits with the girls - especially Michelle and the way these clueless men tried to handle a baby (remember the episode where Joey and Jesse tried to change her diaper?). I also enjoyed watching Uncle Jesse do his Elvis impersonations. Over the years, this became one of my favorite primetime shows to watch. I remember being in gym class at school, talking about the previous night's episode with my friends. Even to this day, who doesn't stop to watch the occasional rerun while flipping channels? I know I do!

America's Funniest Home Videos
http://i38.tinypic.com/106yf79.jpgAfter a few seasons of Full House, Bob Saget also began hosting this weekly send in your funny home videos show. I remember watching this one after dinner Sunday nights with my parents, just laughing my butt off at all the funny pet videos, funny baby videos, people falling down or getting hit in the crotch with various objects... I always wanted to send one in, but we never caught anything really funny on video. We'd watch and at the end discuss amongst ourselves during the commercial break which video of the top 3 we wanted to win. I'm actually surprised to learn that this show is still on the air!

Quantum Leap
In the late 80s we were given this Sci-Fi show on NBC, where scientist Sam Beckett gets lost in time and can "leap" from one persona to another in different parts of time. I honestly didn't watch too closely, but I did remember some of the scenarios Sam would get stuck in would be pretty amusing!

Beauty and the Beast
http://images.zap2it.com/programs/184006/p184006_ce_h1_aa.jpgBefore the Disney film of the early 90s, in the 80s we had this television show to look forward to each week. Set in modern day New York, Beauty is named Catherine and is a lawyer who gets kidnapped, beaten and left for dead in Central Park until kind, yet horrifying looking Vincent finds her and takes her back with him to the hidden tunnels and world under the city, where he lives as he nurses her back to health. Naturally the two have a romantic relationship and she becomes interested in his world. This series only lasted 3 seasons, but it was one I enjoyed watching, as it was based on a fairytale.

Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre
http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTU2NjQ4NTczN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTE2OTA5MQ@@._V1._SX295_SY400_.jpgIn the 80s, Shelley Duvall was all about family fantasy programming and created this hit fantasy series. Originally airing on Showtime, PBS picked up on Faerie Tale Theatre and would play a new hour-long episode each week. For 6 seasons worth, we got to see live-action versions of our favorite faerie tales - from Rumpelstilskin and the Frog Prince, to Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Puss in Boots, and more, there were very few faerie tales not covered in this show. Eventually, it got to be that each episode had some famous actor or actress playing a role. Some were clever and funny, otherwise were a tad on the scary side. Regardless, I tuned in each week with my mom for the next installment of Faerie Tale Theatre. It got to the point where she would tape them on VHS for me so I could watch them over and over again.

Press Your Luck
http://www.club777.co.uk/press_your_luck_slot.gifOne of my favorite game shows in the 80s was Press Your Luck, aka The Whammy Game. While it was originally on CBS, I watched it when it was rerunned on USA Network. In the first round, contestants answer trivia questions to earn spins on the board. In the second round, the player with the least amount of spins goes first, hoping to land on a space that gives them cash or a prize. Often contestants would chant "No Whammy, No Whammy!" as the light spun around the board. Getting a Whammy - red little devil looking guys - would take away all your earnings and pass your spins onto the next player. The Whammy animations that would play when a player landed on a Whammy spot were pretty amusing though!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/c7/1987_VH1_logo.svg/207px-1987_VH1_logo.svg.pngOne channel I would watch regularly in the 80s was VH1. My mom recalls when I was just a baby, I would pull myself up, holding onto the coffee table, and dance along to Tina Turner videos. Now I wasn't allowed to watch MTV, but boy did I enjoy VH1! I remember waiting around, watching all day for George Harrison's video to "Got My Mind Set On You" - I loved how all the objects in that video came to life and sang along! I also enjoyed watching Michael Jackson videos and Gloria Estefan videos as well. So many favorite songs and videos I had... I could spend hours playing with my toys in the family room and having VH1 on in the background, paying attention when I heard one of my favorite videos come on. They used to play videos all the time too, unlike nowadays.

http://www.brandsoftheworld.com/brands/0018/4236/brand.gifNick at Nite
In the 80s, while Nickelodeon had kids programming on during the day, in the evening they would play classic television shows from yesteryear. I remember often watching some of these with my mom - shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Green Acres, Mister Ed, Mork and Mindy, Betwitched, I Love Lucy, and more. It was a great way to see shows that were before our time - often ones our parents enjoyed watching as well. The 90s continued this trend as well, however in the last decade, the only way to view the classics is by occasionally catching them on some other channel playing in syndication, as Nick at Nite today pretty much only plays George Lopez and The Nanny.

At Home Foot Pampering

Why go and spend money at day spa for a facial, manicure and pedicure when you can do it at home for less?

Not too long ago I was cleaning out the basket that sits in our nightstand and came across a few bottles of trial-size stuff my dad had put in my Christmas stocking over the last few years. At first, I wrote one thing off as just being lotion, but when I looked closer I saw it was a thermal pedicure lotion. It says to moisten your feet, rub all over and focus on dry, rough areas, then rinse. It sounded interesting and have a few really rough spots on my heels so I pulled it out and figured I'd try it someday.

Well this weekend I'm going up to Madison with my unit for a Mary Kay Career Conference (my first company-wide event - I'm excited!). I decided, what better time to treat myself to a mini-pedicure than the night before I leave? I'm going to be staying with 5 or 6 other girls in a hotel suite so why not make sure my feet look cute since we're sort of having a slumber party our first night!

Now to be honest, I *hate* feet. I think feet are disgusting and ugly. I would say I have whatever the opposite of a foot fetish is, that's how much I don't like feet! I can't touch another person's foot or have their feet on me or my stuff - drives me nuts and grosses me out. I can however touch my feet though - for some reason my own feet don't bother me, but other people's... yuck! Please keep them to yourself, thanks! I can't understand people who have foot fetishes - grosses me out to try and even think about it or comprehend it! I actually knew a guy in college, when I lived in the dorms, who admitted to having a foot fetish. Thank God he didn't live on my floor, as from that point on, me and my best friend made sure our feet were covered when we were hanging around him, lol...

Anyways, in the picture here, you can see what I used for my At Home Pedicure:
  • Foot filing board
  • Toe nail clippers
  • Nail file
  • Cuticle Trimmer (I'm obsessed with trimming my cuticles and the surrounding skin)
  • Sapphire File
  • Olay Body Thermal Pedicure
  • Equate Skin Therapy Lotion
  • Pure Ice nail polish in metallic light blue ("Pussy Cat")

I really suggest trying the Olay stuff - my feet are feeling pretty good and the rough spots seem like some of it actually did come off this time too!

And you can use whatever nail polish you like of course - Pure Ice is a brand I've tried before and liked so I decided to try this color.

In Jr. High and High School I had *a bunch* of different nail polish colors - pinks, reds, blues, dark green, lime green, orange, black... crazy colors! I remember getting a lot of use out of the lime green one too!  Nowadays, I don't really paint my nails that often - I'll paint my toenails during the spring/summer months, since I'm usually wearing sandals then, but I rarely paint my fingernails unless I get in a mood to do so. I have a limited selection of colors.

Currently, I have a French manicure polish set, a dark blue by Jane, a couple bottles of black nail polish (I wore it a lot in high school and part of college), a metallic dark/neutral pink Petites nail polish, a simple bottle of red NYC nail polish, and now 2 bottles of Pure Ice - a metallic silver and a metallic light blue (called "Pussy Cat"). I tend to go for more metallic colors I've noticed, I think they look best, as they're not just a straight bland color.

I also tend to buy the same brands - NYC, Petites, and Pure Ice because you can get them all at Walmart for pretty cheap and they seem to last just as long as the expensive stuff you can get a beauty salon (I remember spending over $5 on OPI stuff back in Jr. High at Ulta). NYC is about $1, Petites is $1.50 and Pure Ice is $2 - those sound like decent prices on polish to me!

I think I'm going to do a little more pampering on myself tonight, using the Mary Kay Microdermabrasion set, but I thought I'd share about this fun, simple way to pamper your feet at home.


My journey in the World... of Warcaft.

As many know, I am a bit of a former WoW (World of Warcraft) addict - it comes and goes.

There's times where all I want to do is play - I'll do the things I have to do like go to work and get x-amount of sleep, but the rest of day, I'm logged in (meals become simple, quick things like microwave meals, ramen, sandwiches, pasta or macaroni - things that don't take long to cook - or we order pizza). Then there's times where I login at night and either spend half the time bored cause I can't get a group late at night or no one I enjoy playing with is on, or I sit in one zone, grinding out a mob or quest or jumping in circles in a major city, chatting with friends, using it as an instant messenger. This phase usually means I'm bored with the game and need to take a break. This is the phase I am in now.

Since WoW has been a part of my life for almost the last 5 years and I've found several other female bloggers who also play, I decided to add a new weekly segment - Warcraft Wednesdays.

I started playing near the end of the spring 2005 semester, after hearing all about it from my soon-to-be roommate (who originally started playing to have something in common with a guy she was crushing on) and having my boyfriend at the time show it to me and let me create a character on his account to try, I admit, I thought it was pretty fun, however I didn't want my own account until after my finals were done (which being an art major, my finals were a week before everyone elses and this semester the only big thing I had to focus on was my portfolio review). Once the semester was out, I installed the 10 day trial my now-ex gave me, recreated the character I had made on his account and seriously began my journey with World of Warcraft. 

It started out innocent enough - I would play during the evening and into the night on my laptop in my dorm suite's common room, as my other 3 roommates all had finals to study for and I did not. My boyfriend would help me with quests and explain things to me, sometimes showing up on my screen with his character and help me kill mobs I had trouble with. It was also neat because some friends of ours (his) that went to different schools - including out of state - also played, so it was nice to get to get to do something with them more often than we previously did.

That was also the summer I started working at the theater and got an apartment with my long-term roommate. I had to be out of the dorms the weekend after finals, but we couldn't move into our apartment for another 3 weeks or so and I had already started at the theater. Since driving back and forth multiple times a week from home to work would suck, my soon-to-be roommate cleared it with her current roommates that I could crash on their couch several times a week - for example, I would be home one day, drive down for my shift, work til close and stay at my future roommate's if I was working the next few days straight, then go home for a day or 2 and repeat. Since the theater was on the county school's schedule and not the college's schedule, I didn't have to be at work until 3pm at the earliest. Getting back at midnight, this gave me and my roommate plenty of time to play at the same time, even though we were on different servers. I eventually caught up to her character she had started not long before I started playing (she liked to play alts) so often times we'd be working on the same quests and could help each other.

When we moved into our apartment, her, myself and our 3rd roommate all played. And even though I had a summer class in the morning 4 days a week, I only worked a few days a week so the rest of the time was spent playing WoW. Needless to say, I got hooked. I had set a deadline for myself to hit 60 by the end summer and get my epic mount (which actually required work and effort back then). Then I got introduced to raiding and was co-leading a guild - really it turned into a 2nd job.

When I wasn't in class or working I was playing WoW.

The pressures of leading a guild though where 50% of the guild wanted to raid while the other half could care less and I was stuck being the diplomatic one trying to make everyone happy and keep guild alliances together really started to affect me outside the game. Fortunately we were able to merge the guild with a bigger guild that offered raiding as well as other aspects that the majority in our guild could take part in which solved that headache and I was able to just focus on the (mostly) fun parts of the game.

As the first expansion - Burning Crusade - was released I took a more casual approach to the game, as I had gone back to school after a semester off and was working as management so that limited my raid times greatly. It took me awhile to level up, as I didn't enjoy a lot of the quests and zones Burning Crusade had to offer (the instances were fun though!). I raided when I could though, as the guild I was in for the first half of BC was more laidback and a lot of fun. But that came to end, and for the rest of BC, on alliance side, I just couldn't find a guild that was as fun, so I decided to just focus on finishing college, casually leveling my horde character up. Eventually I played mostly just that one and got to raid a little bit on her for the end of Burning Crusade.

Then Wrath came out.

By this time, I was married and working a casual job a few days a week, so that gave me plenty of time to play. With hubby and a few friends, I leveled up in record time (it was just over a week). We joined a guild made up of some of the people we were guilded with during the first half of the previous expansion and raiding regularly most nights of the week. I also leveled another toon to 80 during the time when I wasn't raiding and once that guild ended, I joined one on my new toon and was an active raider on that one. When that guild fell apart (seems to be a reoccuring thing) I decided to go back and level my horde character, finding a casual raid guild made of up members from her former guild.

Then I started to get bored again.

We took some time off around Thanksgiving and I wasn't really active again until after Christmas. When I came back, there had been another big patch - the one with the Icecrown Citadel content - and my guildleader said my gear was too low to join them on those raids. I hate grinding. Raiding and working to get drops is one thing, but grinding instances for badges over and over to get an entire gear set... just gets annoying and boring. I can't do it.And it didn't help that the part inside of my laptop that connects to the power cord only works 50% of the time and would cost at least $300 to fix.

So this is where I ended my World of Warcraft addiction... for now.

Hubby had canceled his account back in December so he could pay for his EVE account and had planned on switching to Star Trek Online, but decided not to, after playing the Beta for a week or so. Since he canceled, I didn't really have anyone reliable to play with - a lot of my "close" friends in game had already quit months before and the ones that were left were either too busy with their guilds or didn't really do much. It became a $15/mo instant messenger and why pay for that when I can use AIM and Facebook for free? I figured that was an extra $15/mo that we could be spending elsewhere for now, so I canceled too.

Now don't get me wrong, I do have urges to reactivate my account and play - especially more so now that hubby is working most evenings and I get bored easily. But I manage to resist the urge.

Don't worry though, we plan on coming back for the next expansion - Cataclyism - which comes out (we're guessing) in the last half of this year. I already have plans for a few goblin toons - including one as my horde banker with a Harry Potter-ish Gringotts name =D Hopefully by then I'll have an actual gaming laptop too - Macs are great for designing stuff, but I'll admit, PCs are much better for gaming!

The Celebrity Apprentice 3

As previously mentioned, I usually only get hooked on the VH1 reality shows, and despite having a roommate and a few neighbors who were into the show when I was in college living in the dorms, I never really got into the Donald Trump Reality Show, but after the cast of Celebrity Apprentice 3 was announced, I was intrigued and wanted to check it out.

I'm hooked!

Just take a look at this cast though:

(From left to right)
Comedienne and Writer Carol Leifer, Sinbad, WWE Diva Maria Kanellis,
Rod Blagojevich, Sharon Osbourne, Olympic Sprinter Michael Johnson,
The Donald, Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone, Cyndi Lauper, WWE's Goldberg,
Baseball Player Darryl Strawberry, Bret Michaels, Victoria's Secret Model Selita Ebanks,
Summer Sanders, and Holly Robinson Peete

Why am I excited about this cast/season?

Several reasons!

I'm anxiously waiting for Sharon Osbourne to make some Rock of Love related remarks to Bret Michaels, as she was the "headmistress" of Rock of Love: Charm School, where she had the task of taming and weeding out Bret's "romantic" rejects from the first 2 seasons of Rock of Love.

Plus, you just know Sharon is a brutal force not to be reckoned with or underestimated - she's currently the breadmaker in her family and she still, year after year, forces Ozzy to perform and do Ozzfest when physically he shouldn't (the show I saw, he actually ran offstage in a panic for about 10 minutes while Sabbath went into an instrumental til he could get back onstage - he didn't look or sound good!). The woman's ruthless which is why I can see her going far and possibly winning.

Bret does have a bit of an advantage here though, at least when it comes to the cameras. Unlike a good handful of this cast, he's got plenty of experience when it comes to Reality TV and how they can edit things. He mentioned this in the 2nd episode, as he took a brief "time out" from his team, as he was getting frustrated with Sinbad's lack of leadership and refusal to tell him what he should be doing. He noticed the cameras following him around in a secluded area and immediately went back to group citing "Guys, gimme something to do - just tell me what I can be doing. I got these camera guys following me around now and it looks like I'm not doing anything and I don't want to be shown as a slacker! I did 3 seasons of Rock of Love, I know how they film and edit this stuff and I don't want to be portrayed like the slacker - please give me something to do!" Granted, it went in one ear and out the other and all Sinbad heard was "Rock of Love," but still, Bret did have a valid point and picked up on what was going on rather quickly!

I'm also excited to see some more stars from my childhood days!

I remember listening and singing along with Cyndi Lauper and her hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" in the 80s - my best friend growing up had it on their parent's karaoke machine and it was one of our favorites to sing along to! Plus Cyndi is just sooooo crazy and out there! It's amusing watching her as she's full of ideas, but can't seem to ever stay focused or on task - I can't wait to watch how she drives Sharon nuts this season! So far, just in the first 2 episodes, during both challenges Cyndi has broken out into one of her songs, getting the rest of the crowd to join in! She's definitely amusing! I'll hate to see her go, although I can't see her winning this thing - not with her competing against someone like Sharon Osbourne!

Who from my generation can forget the Sinbad kid/family friendly comedies of the 90s? I remember my dad taking me to see Houseguest and telling me that he was at the Pittsburgh Int'l Airport where they shot one of the early scenes and how he tried to stick around as an extra, but because he was traveling on business, he couldn't wait around as long as he would of had to.

I remember watching Summer Sanders host the Nickelodeon game show Figure It Out every weekday afternoon in the late 90s. I've since learned that she's an Olympic swimmer, however anyone from my age group and younger most likely knows her as the Figure It Out host.

I also used to watch Holly Robinson Peete every week on TGIF's show Hangin' With Mr. Cooper (Mark Curry) in the early-mid 90s, as she was one of the main female leads on the show.

Now as for Blago... of course I have to comment on him being on this show!

Being an Illinois resident for most of my life, I can't say I'm thrilled he's on this show, but he has been amusing to say the least! EVERY chance he gets, he's off talking to people about how he "didn't do those things," he's "innocent of all charges," and he "did a great job leading the 5th largest state in our nation." I can't help but laugh every time he says one of those phrases or something along those lines (he says them so often is should be a drinking game!) - yeah he did such a *great* job that our state is currently poor, my city has nearly a 20% unemployment rate and my local school district is laying off teachers left and right right now because our *great state* owes the district $112 million dollars for the budget they never received! As it is, my aluma mater just recently got the funds Blago had promised them over 2 years ago to remodel the building and area where the shooting took place, and if I recall, it was a lot less than what he said they'd get for it.

All his talk actually got him trouble in the first episode though - as he was too busy telling his tale of innocence to anyone who would listen, he let Joan River's burger get cold and she wasn't too happy (Trump sent her to act as a secret shopper and check up on the teams during their challenges).

And in the second episode... random people on the streets of New York are coming up to him, recognizing him, and calling him a crook and telling him he should be in jail! Ha! Also, some girl mistook him for Donny Osmond, going on about how her name is Donna and she was named after him... he was just like "Uh, my name's Rod... who do you think I am?" It was hilarious!

It was also pretty funny, early in the first episode when he made some comment about liking the guys he's on a team with and how he feels they got each others backs and Sinbad was all "Yeah Rod, I'd have your back - I'd be all 'Rod, get off the phone! Quit talking on the phone, Rod! ROD - SERIOUSLY, USE A PAYPHONE!'" lol... it was pretty funny watching a comedian like Sinbad give him some grief about it too!

Honestly, the days he got arrested and kicked out of office it was literally like a state-wide holiday here in Illinois - everyone was thrilled to finally see him go!It was also pretty funny to see how fast they tore down and covered his name on the tollways - it was literally within days, they didn't let that stay any longer than possible!I don't even know how he got elected to a 2nd term - I know I sure didn't vote for him! I think one of the main reasons that anyone from Illinois is watching is just to see him get fired... again! I also find it hilarious and ironic that his charity is the Children's Cancer Center, as he was such a jerk in another "scandal" of his where he was withholding money that was supposed to go to the big Children's Memorial Hospital in our state.

So there's my thoughts so far on the show.

I'd suggest checking it out this Sunday night (9/8c on NBC) or catch up on the first 2 episodes online - it definitely seems like an interesting season with an amusing cast!


Music Shuffle Monday (3.22.10)

So I did one of these a few weeks back, but decided to join the weekly Monday Mix-Up trend in Blogland, but on my own turns - iPod shuffle! Every Monday I'll put my iPod on shuffle and list the first 5 songs (assuming none of them has been on the list before) with some thoughts/commentary as well. 

http://www.veryicon.com/icon/png/Media/iPod,%20Therefore%20I%20Am/iPod%20Mini%20Blue.pngWelcome to Music Shuffle Mondays!

1. "Siva" - The Smashing Pumpkins
First up this week, a little old school Smashing Pumpkins from the very early 90s (1991 to be exact). I actually don't have the original album this song was on (Gish), but it was included in the 2001 Smashing Pumpkins Greatest Hits 2-disc set which I do have.

2. "Aerials" - System of a Down
From the album Toxicity, Aerials was the first big mainstream hit by SoaD - it was all over tv and radio, you couldn't get away from it! A bit too mellow of a song for me, I personally much prefer SoaD's heavier sounding/thriving songs to this.

3. "Falling Down" - Atreyu
Ah, Atreyu... one of the bands I got into while in college. I remember my roommate and I going to their show in Milwaukee during spring break one year. And to think, they just did a show at my aluma mater last month - a 5 minute walk from the dorm I lived in when I had to drive almost 2 hours north to see them live! Oh the irony! They were pretty amusing live though - gotta love the synchronized guitar/bass moves the guys choreographed - that was hilarious! Although I like some of their earlier songs, I gotta admit, from what I've heard of their later stuff in recent years, I'm glad they're not as much into the screamo stuff anymore - that part in every song got a bit old!

4. "Bwomp!" - Mushroomhead
I remember I borrowed this CD from the "Weekender" desk as it was used in one for one of the music reviews. I had heard of Mushroomhead, but up until this point I had never heard their stuff before. I didn't get far beyond this track on the CD - with the bass and chords and guitars... omg I loved this song, musically! It starts out kinda eery, but then it goes into this driving "dun-dun-duh! dun-dun-duh!" beat with the bass/chords(sounds like strings)/guitars and wow... Now I'm not a fan of the lyrics, but that's not why I have it on my iPod. I have it on there because musically, I love how things flow and sound for the majority of the song (it winds down near the end). Being an artist and a former musician, I'm drawn to things musically, regardless of the lyrics.

5. "(Je Fais de Toi) Mon Essentiel" - Emmanuel Moire
O...M...G... perhaps one of my FAVORITE songs we were introduced in my college french classes (I loved my instructor for my last time taking 102 and my summer 201 class - she was the best french instructor I ever had!). I remember as part of our 201 final we had to pick a french song and lip synch to it (or sing if we wanted) in front of the class. I did this one, as she had showed it to us in both classes and I fell in love with it. It's such a great, romantic love song... and in french! If hubby could learn this one and sing it to me, omg, I'd probably melt, lol... I don't recall the translation exactly, but it's definitely romantic!

I have to include the music video on this one, as the song is so beautiful and the guy is pretty hot too!


Our invitation to a "secret society"

The other day, hubby got a rather interesting letter in the mail.

"Please forgive us, but we have just taken a closer look at your profile. It turns out you're more special than any of us imagined! Did you know that you possess some very rare, hidden traits? In fact, there is a famous person (someone you would instantly recognize, he's on TV every night) who possesses these same special, incredibly rare traits. ...It turns out that people who possess these same rare and often hidden traits that you do are some of the most famous and successful people on this planet! You are indeed blessed! I know those around you don't know this yet, but they will! Down deep, you sense it, too. Right? I'm so excited for you!"

No doubt my hubby is special and blessed - I wouldn't be with him if I didn't think he was special! To think about it, really, every single person is special in one way or another... and of course we're all biased and tend to think that our loved ones are more special than anyone else!

It goes on to talk about some "secret society" - "the association" that he had been carefully selected to receive an invitation to based off certain special traits he possesses and how he will get "something of immense value from us absolutely free with no strings attached. So read every word very carefully because you will never get another letter from us again." It talks about how there's lots of people in this "secret society" that are just like my hubby - many famous and powerful that we would recognize immediately if their identities were exposed. It says there's a manuscript, 2300 years old that holds the Greatest Kept Secrets for money, power, romantic-love and more! And hubby can receive it for absolutely free! It will change our lives!

A fraction of what we'll learn?
-learn where the profits are and where they are not in all games of chance, poker, bingo, blackjack, lotteries, casino games or any gambling situations (not even casinos or professional cheaters will be able to beat you!)
-learn how to transfer all money, power, prestige from the uninformed to you... instantly.
-learn how to use this new scientific knowledge to begin generating huge sums of money within hours...automatically...without even trying. 
-learn how to win any lover in any situation or how to regain your ex-lover
-learn how to lose all the weight you want or elminate any addictions; (food, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs) easily and effortlessly virtually overnight!
-learn to control anyone, man or woman, anywhere.
-learn to easily beat any opponent in your life...in any situation.
-learn how to make your new powers render all others helpless.
-learn how to be more intelligent.
-learn how to make everyone you meet want to be your friend.
-learn how to make your every relationship; spouse, lover, children, friends, co-workers, etc. become better and more fulfilling
-learn how to be constantly and invisibly armed so that any person trying deception or cheatin gploys against you instantly becomes powerless and at your mercy.

Also in this 8-page "typed" letter (I love how they used the Times font to make it look like it was typed on a typewriter) we are introduced to Kevin, who was a down on his luck guy, broke and having a rough marriage who meets a "mysterious" guy in Vegas who can't help but win at poker. This mysterious guy let's him on the "secret" and eventually Kevin becomes an overnight success.

Hubby read the first page of this letter and instantly wrote it off as a scam. Curious, as I went to feed it to the paper shredder, I paused and began reading it. I read the whole thing.

It sounds more like a cult than a scam if you ask me.

So I decided to hop on Google and find out more regarding this strange letter. The only information on the letter (it never names "the association" or "secret society") is the address to mail our invitation back to with a fax number, so I tried the address first.

Plenty of scam-alert, ripoff report, and complaint-board links popped up and I read some of them.

Most people had the same response as hubby - that it is a scam - and a few had the same response as I did - go get a Bible and find all the answers for life that you'll need in there.

A few were curious about this "free" opportunity and faxed/mailed their invitation back just find out what would happen. Apparently you get a 52-page booklet that has several "testimonials" in it, 2 of which were in the original letter, and then you are asked to send $140 to receive a 1200 page manuscript, that holds all the Greatest Kept Secrets you'll need in life. They also reported that several times it straight out mocks Christianity and God, so really, why would we be interested in that?

From Neo-Tech as a New Way of Thought:
In the free booklet, it is nothing more than a big sales pitch to buy the NT manual, in the front cover it says:

"This Small Book Has Hidden Power. Whoever discovers the secret meaning within the nine true stories about money and sex that follow will become wealthy and unforgettable. If you do not discover the secret menaning, you still absorb that secret meaning while reading the nine stories. As a consequence, three very major good things, prompted by your subconcious, will happen to you within two weeks involving money, power, and love!"

Then on the first page, first paragraph it says:

"This may be the luckiest day of your life! You are a new Neo-Tech customer, and this is your Neo-Tech Orientation booklet. It could be the most important event that will ever happen to you. By the time you finish reading this booklet, you'll know exactly what to do to make $5,000, $10,000, even $100,000 cash...IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS!"

Personally, I have read that booklet over 15 times and still don't have a clue as to how to make that kind of money in a short period of time. I know how to make that kind of money over the next year by using common sense, but it had nothing to do with NT.

The booklet claims you will make more in one week than most people do in a year and I have no clue as to *how* just by reading the booklet.

It has 9 stories which claim will help you absorb the meaning. The booklet says these are true stories.

    * Story 1 is an incomplete story that ends in a sales pitch. In the story a man who wishes to stay anonymous says he was down on his luck. Then he met a mysterious man in Vegas who was winning lots of money and had lots of women around him. He asked the man his secret, but after hanging around him a few days, he claimed it was a secret known since ancient times. The anonymous man went into a library and asked about a book and the librarian said it was funny, but a mysterious man requested that same book printed in the 1800s that was translated from a manual that was thousands of years old. That book was now simplified into Neo-Tech. Then the sales pitch. [And before you ask, I have tried to get a straight answer about the unknown book in the story and was told it was merely a fictional story. This book does not exist.]
    * Story II isn't a story, but an interview with Frank R. Wallace - the man behind the Neo-Tech philosophy.
    * Story III talks about the history of Wallace and his NT discovery and what NT will do for you. However, it does not go into details on exactly what NT is.
    * Story IV has Wallace's son tell how he used the principles to make a lot of money and get women and also testimony from people with intitials.
    * Story V is a story from an anonymous famous person who changes their life with a 10 second miracle, but does not say what exactly it is.
    * Story VI is an uncomfortable read about some poor man whose wife was cheating on him and how he used NT to come out on top without going into details as to how he did it.
    * Story VII tells how a ladies man has a great sex life with as many women as he wants thanks to NT with guarantees what NT will do (Regardless of physical appearances, you can be having sex with beautiful women of your choice in one week or less. You will be a superior lover, those women will fall in love with you and want to be yours forever. You will be making thousands of dollars each week at first, each day eventually. You will rid your recurring illnesses, physical incompetence, pains, allergies, and addictions. You will lose all your fat. You will become very smart very quickly. When you talk, everyone will listen. You will pick only the winning stocks. Beautiful women and powerful men will almost beg to be your friends. You will get an instant promotion. Then it states a 90 day money back guarantee if this does not happen.)
    * Story VIII claims to hold the key to the secret (which I have read intensely and still don't see it) and talks of a man who was grieving over the loss of his mother when he discovered this mysterious manuscript which changed his life and he changed the life of someone else in turn through the power coming from the book. Supposedly by reading that story you would subconsciously absorb the secret of NT. They claim within 2 weeks you will have a money/power/love miracle happen, just by reading the story!
    * Story IX story tells about squaring your income, but doesn't exactly give details as to how.
So, how exactly do you get the details on the secret? Buy the manual! Of course the booklet doesn't tell you that the manual in full is online absolutely free [On their website].

Okay then, what is the secret of the NT manual? If you are an average lay person, this manual is not an easy read. It is full of scientific theories and phrases that will go over the heads of most people while it dances around the issue of how to obtain the power they claim you would get. In the mix with science is a lot of Ayn Rand philosophies, redefining words to suit their meaning, a sort of us versus them conspiracy, there is no God out there just a power called Zon which you can become, there is a lot of mumbo-jumbo wording that never actually tells you *how* to do what they promised you can do.

In all is there any actual useful information that was promised in the sales letter? No! Absolutely not. The book does not even come close to the claims in the sales pitch to buy the manual.

NT is very much behind the idea of promoting the value of business and applauds all sorts of enterprises. They claim that if you want the power and wealth, it can be had if you work hard with a feasible plan. (Well, duh!) They really push the idea that the pursuit of making money above everything else is the most honorable thing one can do.

They are also against anything considered charity, humanitarian, or self-sacrificing. They reason that by depriving yourself of your hard earned money, time or possessions is unnatural when everyone should be enabled to do for themselves instead of relying on charity.

As far as sex goes, the sales letter would have you believe that you would have lovers knocking down your door to get to you. The manual talks about the extreme opposites of the sex pole from those who are too hung up on sex and those who engage in it too much and both are wrong. They imply that moderation is best and you should enjoy it. (Another hearty duh!)

Oh and the Kevin they mention in the letter? That is infomercial host Kevin Trudeau, known for his [insert product name here] "They" Don't Want You to Know About.

A "supporter" of this group tries to defend it on a Ripoff Report article by stating

Start today!  Start by economizing, get your household consuming less than you produce or bring in.  Pay down your debts faster than you accumulate them.  Live within your means.  Be kind to your family, go the extra mile!  Deliver more value to your customers than you are paid or expected to do.  Work harder and smarter at your job than you would need to to keep your position.  Think of ways to make life better and ACT ON THEM!  Trade in your prime-time distractions for a productive hobby that you can be passionate about - and turn it into a part time incredibly FUN PROFIT EARNING ENTERPRISE!  (The cure for a sunken economy is not regulation, taxation, inflation[theft], government 'creation of jobs', for [disasterous]wall street bailouts[also theft]) - the cure for a sunken economy is for individuals, families,  companies, and governments to live/operate within their means.  That is all it takes.  Think about it.  If you had money left over at the end of the month, wouldn't you be feeling GREAT!  Well, you can, but it takes looking at your situation with strength and honesty.

 Um, did you really need to waste $140 to learn all that? Sounds like common knowledge to me... 

The funny part of all this?
Hubby's letter was dated March 13. We didn't get it in our mailbox until the evening of March 19. The deadline to fax/postmark our invitation? March 19! By then the post office was already closed and we don't have simple access to a fax machine! So even if we were interested in this hoax/scam/cult, well, they gave us zero time to respond! And here, I thought we were special.

If you get a strange letter like this one, toss it out. It's not worth you wasting your hard-earned money on just to learn some common knowledge concepts about saving and spending that you can easily find online for free.


Kid's shows of the 80s

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_utpn85k5ndo/S38v5P_J4bI/AAAAAAAAAJw/mw1r8Sd4oxE/s1600/flashbacklogo.jpgThis week's Flashback Friday is part 1 of a 2-parter regarding television shows I would watch in the 80s (not to be confused with Saturday morning programming). This week, we'll be flashing back to the kids shows I remember watching, while next week we'll touch on 80s primetime TV shows. 

Fraggle Rock
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2a/Fraggle_Rock.jpgNow of course we all watched Sesame Street growing up, so there's no point in mentioning that one, however, another muppet show by Jim Henson and Company that most of us probably watched was Fraggle Rock. The Fraggles were small colorful creatures who lived in a series of caves underground called Fraggle Rock. They also ate radishes. While there were tons of Fraggles, the main characters in the show were Gobo, Mokey, Red (who was my favorite!), Wembley and Boober. Also in Fraggle Rock live the Doozers, small ant-size creatures who build things in Fraggle Rock although the Fraggles have a bad habit of eating or destroying their works. Outside Fraggle Rock live a family of Gorgs - giant furry human-like creatures who consider the Fraggles to be pests and often try to catch them. I recall they had a dog too that would scare the Fraggles. I remember loving this show as a kid!

Zoobilee Zoo
"Zoobilee Zoo... Zoobilee Zoo! Wonder and magic are waiting for you!"
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/64/AMPH_zoobileezoo.jpgYou can tell I watched this one one too many times as a kid when nearly 20 years later I can still recall the theme song! This was probably one of my favorite shows to watch early in the morning and then later on before going to preschool and kindergarten. I remember it aired on PBS (or WTTW out here), which also aired Sesame Street and Mr. Rodgers. In this show, we had humans dressed up as different zoo-type animals, each with a distinct personality that you could tell from their "home". We had Mayor Ben, a leopard, who usually introduced each episode; Van Go Lion who was a lion with a knack for painting; Talkatoo Cockatoo, a bird who seemed to talk a lot - I remember thinking she was more of the mother-figure on the show; Lookout Bear, who likes adventure and travel; Bravo Fox, a show man of sorts; and Whazzat Kangaroo, the youngest of the bunch who liked dancing - she was my favorite. They always had some adventure or problem that needed to be solved. Whatever it was, it had me hooked! I remember being really emotionally angry and upset when they took this one off the air - I felt like I lost my morning friends!

Today's Special
http://liebchen11.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/todaysspecialcast.jpgThis one aired weekday afternoons on Nickelodeon, usually before or after Lassie reruns. This show took place in a department store after hours. The store's display manager Jodie would come in for the night and things would come to life - including a manequinn named Jeff. Also part of the cast was a puppet named Sam who was the night security guard, a little mouse named Muffy and her cousin Mort and TXL - the store's security computer system. We pretty much followed the adventures of the cast and sometimes special guest characters would come to life and cause problems. Whatever it was that day, I sure enjoyed watching this one.

Shining Time Station
http://www.toonarific.com/pics_root//00003276/shiningtimelogo.jpgThe origin of Thomas the Tank Engine and his buddies, however personally I much preferred and enjoyed the live-action parts of the show over the silly trains. Enjoyed watching the adventures of Stacy Jones, Tanya (mechanic Harry's granddaughter), Matt (Stacy's nephew), and tiny Mr. Conductor as they went up against the mean, always scheming Mr. Schemer who owned the arcade and never let the kids have fun. There was also a jukebox which housed a small band that would play songs for a nickel. Ringo Starr played the role of Mr. Conductor for the first season, and was later replaced by George Carlin for the next few seasons, before there was another change (I only watched the early seasons though). Didi Conn (aka Frenchy from Grease) was Stacy Jones. This was another PBS regular that I would watch weekdays.

David the Gnome
http://mamrie.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/davidthegnome.jpgDavid - the oldest gnome around at 399 years old (most only live to be 400) and is still in good health - and his wife Lisa live in a cave with David's friend/pet/mount Swift the Fox living right outside. All David has to do is whistle and Swift shows up to aid him. The gnomes are not fond of the trolls though, which cause problems for them and the other forest creatures. David is also a known doctor gnome, so he goes all over the forest to heal fellow gnomes or forest creatures in need. While this series only had 26 episodes, it sure felt much longer as it aired for several years as part of Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. programming in the 80s. My favorite character was probably Swift - I wanted fox that I could ride around on!

Maple Town
http://onceuponawin.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/maple-town-toys.jpgAnother show that aired on Nick Jr. in the 80s, Maple Town followed the adventures of small animals who lived in a town much like people do. We had newcomers the Rabbit family, joining the Mouse family, the Bear family, the Fox family, the Dog family, the Squirrel family, the Raccoon family, the Beaver family, and I'm sure you get the point. Wild Wolf was considered to be the main antagonist of this series. There was also a toy line by Tonka created after the series where you could buy each family as a set.

It never cease to amaze me just how many shows I grew up watching in the 80s were actually animes from Japan!

Inspector Gadget
No kid from the 80s can forget this staple in our tv viewing ways! Inspector Gadget was given an assignment at the beginning of each episode by Chief  Quimbly that would self-destruct (and despite the Chief's best efforts, he'd still get caught in the explosion). Now Gadget, who was equipped with all sorts of Gadgets in his body parts, was pretty clueless yet the evil Dr. Claw and his henchmen were always trying to put a stop to him before he uncovered what was really going on. Gadget's niece, the extremely smart Penny, would usually tag along on her uncle's assignments, having her dog Brain aid her dumb uncle and get the job done via her work behind the scenes. I always wanted a computer book like the one she had - that thing could do everything! I remember playing along with my toys that I was Penny - I even wore my hair in pigtails like her. I had a pretty vivid imagination as a kid! Considering this aired on Nickelodeon around the same time they were rerunning Get Smart, as kids we easily considered Inspector Gadget to be the cartoon version of Maxwell Smart, as the similarities between the two were many!

Heathcliff was often aired back to back with Garfield on Nickelodeon, however the similarities of them being cats pretty much was just that. Heathcliff was an alley cat. Heathcliff also had his band of friends, known as the Catillac Cats - featuring Wordsworth, a DJ cat, Riff-Rat a bigger cat sporting a hat and scarf and his girlfriend Cleo (who often wore pink legwarmers). There were also cats Hector who spoke with a Jersey accent and Mungo who was the purple, dim-witted one of the group. Just like Garfield, these cats had similar adventures, only in the alleys of the town.

Double Dare
http://forladiesbyladies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/history-doubledare.jpgNow this was our game show, as a kid in the 80s. Hosted by Marc Summers, there were 2 teams of kids, usually a boy-girl team. They would be asked trivia questions that none of us watching knew the answers to, but that was alright, as we weren't watching for an educational lesson - no, we were watching for the messy physical challenges! If a team couldn't answer the question, they would "dare" the other team to answer. If that team didn't know they could then "double dare" the other team to answer. They could then "physical challenge" the other team, which would then lead to a wacky challenge involving Nickelodeon slime. At the end of the game, the team with the most points would get to do the obstacle course, where they had to retrieve flags out of slime filled objects and slides. It looked so messy, yet so fun! Eventually they turned it into a family affair, creating Family Double Dare - watching mom and dad get slimed only made the show that more fun! I always wanted to go on the show as a kid, but I didn't have a sibling until 1993 and all the families on the show had 2 siblings and a mom and dad.

She-Ra: Princess of Power
http://www.webtvwire.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/she-ra-princess-of-power.jpgI wasn't crazy about He-man growing up because, well, that was a boy's show. She-Ra however - the female spin-off of He-man and supposedly his twin sister - now THAT was a girl's show! I remember watching this one USA Network for a time, and then renting the VHS tapes at the video store from time to time. While the plot and storyline were almost identical to He-Man, I fully enjoyed this version so much more! She-Ra had a horse named Spirit who became Swiftwind when She-Ra (aka Adora) became She-Ra. She had so many friends I can't even recall them all! I do remember attending a friend's Vacation Bible Study one summer and during the downtime, several of us, myself included, would play She-Ra. I was always She-Ra, one girl always wanted to be horse (don't ask!) and a few others usually had the same roles. One time someone tried to change up the roles and a few of us got really upset - *I* was She-Ra, the one girl *was* Swiftwind. This takeover by kids that didn't play with us from the start really caused an uproar and I recall we were told not to play She-Ra the rest of the week! oops!

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_J9PlRvGGXS8/Se6yRib71qI/AAAAAAAAAVc/OBuf1AVFpcE/s400/ducktales4.jpgWho can forget this one? DuckTales often aired weekday afternoons on Fox, and meant the end of the cartoon shows for that day, as The Andy Griffith Show would come on immediately afterwards. My friends I loved watching this one in the afternoons though. We all had our favorites - some liked Launchpad, some liked Gizmoduck, some liked the nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, and some, like myself, liked the nephews female counterpart Webby. I remember my best friend's brothers had the DuckTales game for Nintendo - we would spend hours playing that game (my friend could eventually beat it). I remember when they released the big screen DuckTales movie - our parents took us to it together and oh how we loved it!

What televison kids shows did you watch as a kid?


Sounds like... plagiarism

http://spookydan.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/REPO-vs-RepoMen_Logosvs.jpgThis Friday, March 19, Jude Law and Forest Whitaker star in a "new" film by Universal Studios called Repo Men.

Notice, I put new in quotations, because well... it's not really a new film. It was already released back in November 2008 and called Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Repo! The Genetic Opera goes all the way back the late 90s, where creators Terrance Zdunich and Darren Smith performed as rock duo The Gallery, where they would perform short 10 minute mini-operas, one of which was called The Necromancer's Debt about a grave robber living in a dystopian future. The middle song in this three-song operetta was “The Genetic Repo Man,” about the organ snatching activities of the publicly dreaded Repo Man. This mini-opera became known as Repo! and was later used in the 2008 film as the opening song.

It was extended and became a hit off-off Broadway. Eventually, Terrance and Darren decided they wanted to make their rock opera into a film, and produced a short film version of it directed by Darren Lynn Bousman that they used to shop around to different film distributors in hope of getting it financed with a bigger budget and released in theaters. This is how many believe Universal Studios caught wind of the story, as they told Terrance and Darren they would finance the film, however the music had to go - they didn't like the idea of a rock opera. Of course they said no - Repo! is a rock opera - in addition to the artistic quality of it, the music is what makes it what it is. They packed up shop, and eventually (after Bousman directed several of the Saw films) got Lionsgate to agree to do the movie, which was filmed in 2007 and released in 2008, starring Alexa Vega, Paul Sorvino, Anthony Stewart Head, and Sarah Brightman.

Terrance states on his blog:
"We were told that Universal’s ostensibly cloned concept was based on a book. At the time, we could find no record of the novel, which was later published in 2009 as The Repossession Mambo - one full year after Repo! the film was released. Satisfied that Darren Smith and I came up with Repo! long before Repo Men (or Repossession Mambo) came into existence, our producers carried on with the production of our film"
Now it's quite obvious to those of us that have seen Repo! that Repo Men is a non-musical version of Repo! as it's clear from the trailers that the storyline is similar. However, I didn't realize just how bad the book this film is based on blatantly rips off Terrance and Darren's masterpiece! So far, there have been 25 comparisons between this book and the original Repo!

Take a look for yourself - I was shocked at how this isn't considered plagiarism! If I had done this in college I would have failed and been in trouble with the university for plagiarism. But because this backed by a huge film studio, it's okay?


Like me, you're probably wondering, why aren't Terrance and Darren suing Universal and Garcia over this?

Well, Terrance, again on his blog, puts it this way:
"We asked the same question that is now being posed to me in a continuous outpour of letters from Repo! ’s fans: can we sue these guys?


Several entertainment attorneys told us that while the script, characters, and music of Repo! are copyright protected, the ideas are not ... We were further told that attempting to litigate against Universal’s mammoth legal team would be, in effect, financial suicide."
 So basically, it comes down to money...
"So, in response to your many expressed concerns: no, we are not planning to sue Repo Men.  Further: even if I wanted to bring legal action against Universal Pictures, it’s really not my battle to have; Twisted Pictures and Lions Gate Films now own the rights to Repo! Any potential legal action on behalf of the property would need to be initiated by these studios ... Repo! exists as a whacky art film, a sliver of cult cinema.  Repo Men looks like a gigantically-budgeted Hollywood blockbuster.  And Repo Men is NOT an opera."
...and Lionsgate just doesn't care as much as the creators and fans do to take on Universal.

Terrance goes on to say:
"Also: it seems unlikely that Repo Men, no matter how successful it may be at the box office, will ever garner the sort of intense fan support that Repo! has.  I doubt we will see people dressing up as Jude Law (who stars in Repo Men) and acting out scenes from the film in the aisles of theatres over a year after the movie’s initial release.  This is what is happening with Repo! All over the world. As fans of Repo!, it seems that one of the things you love about our project is its uniqueness.  Repo Men does not threaten this.  It exists almost as the antithesis to what you love about Repo!: it’s mainstream.  Because of this, Repo Men will undoubtedly have a huge marketing budget and a public presence that Repo! never did (and probably never will).  As fans of Repo!, this gives you a unique opportunity to testify to those who bring up Repo Men, those who may be unaware of the existence of Repo! The very controversy over what looks like idea theft could rally a whole new viewership to Repo!’s fandom.

Emotions aside, I think the trailer to Repo Men looks pretty cool, and I wish the filmmakers nothing but luck with their project."
So what can we do?


To be honest, Repo! is one of those cult films that you either love or hate - there is no inbetween (it's been called the Rocky Horror of its generation). Those that loved it, like myself, are passionate about it and are really upset at what's been done. Those that hated it, well, while they'll admit Repo Men appears to be a ripoff of Repo!, they'll most likely be the ones that want to see Repo Men (hubby fits in this category).

http://www.repo-opera.com/images/splash_not_parents.jpgI am refusing to see Repo Men - as an artist myself, I can't bring myself to support plagiarism like this. But I will gladly bring up the topic of Repo! when those not aware are talking about this "new" film.

Whether you love or hate musicals/rock operas, I strongly urge you to check out Repo! The Genetic Opera before seeing Repo Men this weekend.

It really is a work of art. The world it's set in is very artistically designed, the costumes are pretty neat, and the singing and music is fantastic - one of my favorite numbers is a song with Brightman and Vega, and my! Anthony Stewart Head (aka Giles from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv series) can really sing! Yes, Paris Hilton is in the film, however her character has maybe, at most, 15 minutes of screentime - she is a minor character. And while Darren Smith did direct Saw II, III and IV, it's not nearly as gory as those films - the blood and gore seen in the movie is about as gruesome as say the blood and gore in Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd (which is to say, it's extremely over the top and obviously fake).