10 Steps for Surviving the Writer’s Strike

November 9, 2007

I watch too much TV.  I’m the first to admit  it (the first step for conquering any addiction is admitting you have a problem).  That said, I don’t actually see myself giving up one of my favorite past times.  At least until this strike hit.  But as my favorite TV shows go dark one by one, I find myself in quite a quandary.  So I’ve come up with my own 10-step (I know it really should’ve been 12) plan to avoid the withdrawal symptoms and help me survive the strike.

1.  Clear the Backlog on my DVR
Over the last few weeks as my DVR has closed in on capacity, I’ve wondered about giving up on some of the more mediocre shows.  Did shows like Cane, Journeyman, Moonlight and Private Practice actually deserve a coveted place on my nearly full DVR?  Normally, I’d have cut the ties on at least a couple of these shows weeks ago.  But the strike has me running scared, so I saved them.  While these shows haven’t wowed me they are still better than endless hours of reality TV.  So I will fill my cold, dark winter nights clearing out the drudge on my DVR.  What can I say?  I can’t go cold turkey.  

2.  Catch up on Summer Blockbusters
This summer we were actually treated to some great new television shows.  Add the great summer fare to a busy summer with the kids and there was little time left to hit the theaters.  Now all those movies I wanted to see over the summer are being released on DVD.  We’ll be adding a few of these to our DVD collection and will spend several evenings catching up on what we missed this summer.  Yes, I know I’m subbing one addiction for another.  But hey, it’s baby steps!

3.  Hit the Theatres for the Holiday Movie Season
The holiday movie season has already started and I actually think there might be a few good selections out there.  Our outing to see the Bee Movie with the twins was successful so I’m encouraged.  See I’m progressing.  At least now I’m off the couch.

4.  Get a Jump Start on Christmas
Since I’m already at the mall for the movies, I might as well get a jump on my Christmas shopping.  Hmmm, I might be able to finish my shopping before December this year.  With such an early start, I might even make a few gifts this year.  And while I’m at it, I might as well get my decorations up early (that way we can look at the pretty lights on tree when there are no pretty lights coming from the TV).  There are Christmas cards to write and goodies to bake.  This step could keep me busy for a while.

5.  Blog More
Without all that TV watching taking up my time, I might actually get a chance to do some more blogging.  I always fall back to writing about my favorite shows.  Now I’ll be forced to conquer new topics.  Watch out world, you’ll be hearing my opinion on everything.  See that in itself, might be enough to stop the strike.

6.  Learn a New Hobby
Now is as good of time as any to pick up a new hobby.  Hmm . . . I’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy.  If I start now, I can use it for #4.  Won’t all my friends and family be impressed when they get hand-addressed Christmas cards done in calligraphy?  Okay, maybe I’m pushing myself a little too much here.  I must keep expectations realistic.

7.  Read a Good Book
I haven’t picked up a book since this summer.  It’s a real shame, because I really enjoy reading.  Here’s my chance to catch up with my reading list.  And what’s better on a cold winter night than curling up with a good book and a hot drink.  If I feel adventurous and want to multi-task and combine books with another step like #5 or #6, I might give audio books a try.

8.  Enjoy a Good Meal
No more microwaved meals in front of the television.  Instead, I can sit down at one of my favorite restaurants and enjoy a good meal.  Better yet, I can try a new restaurant.  Or since I just bought Jessica’s Seinfeld’s new book, I can take another go at learning to cook.  But due to my level of domestic challengeness, it might need to be a really long strike if I’m going to make any headway in that department.  It might be safer for all if I just hit the restaurants.

9  Enjoy a Good Night’s Sleep
No more staying up to watch late night talk shows.  No more trying to keep my eyes open for that 10 o’clock show.  I’m off to bed for a good nights sleep.  With a little rest, who knows what I’m capable of!

10.  Throw a Party
Sure I could have put something healthy here like start a new exercise program, but hey a party would be more fun.  What a better way to touch base with my friends then to invite them over for a night of stimulating conversation and fun antics (read beer and chips over a game of Taboo).

Just writing this post as helped quell the panic that’s been building ever since the writers picked up their first picket sign.  You know, I think I’m going to be okay.  I will be able to survive this strike. 

Now tell me about you.  What will you be doing to get through this strike?


My Blog Interview

July 30, 2007

I was recently interviewed by BlogInterviewer.com regarding this blog.  Here’s the interview if you are interested.


Great Resource for Newbie Bloggers

May 26, 2007

Interested in starting a blog?  New to blogging in general?  Check out this little tutorial for more information.

I’ve been blogging for two months now, but found this guide to be a great little tool in and of itself.  Unless you are real familiar with blogging, the terminology alone can be a little intimidating.  This tutorial lists a lot of the blogging jargon along with easy definitions.

But more importantly, if you are thinking about starting a blog, it has a nice chart comparing the various blogging software so that you can find the one that fits your needs best.

I currently use WordPress for my blog.  I did so because a friend recommended it, not because I had researched it.  However, I was lucky and Wordpess more than meets my blogging needs.  It’s simple and easy to use.  You don’t have to know HTML or be very technical to use it.

 I like that I can have a nice clean looking blog that is easy to use without having to do a lot of background work.  This feature allows me to concentrate on writing my posts.

However, resource like this when I started would have been great.  I hope you find it useful too.


As Women Cross New Thresholds in Blogging, Threats Abound

April 30, 2007

Today, I read an article in the Washington Post about women being threatened and stalked for blogging.  While I’m outraged that some people still resort to this type of intimidation, I think this response means that women are successfully progressing into new territory.

If you look back through history, every time women moved into a new arena, every time they pushed the envelope and for every new freedom won, these actions were meet with resistance.  Not just women, any group.

The fact that someone feels threatened enough to try intimidation means that we’re making an impact.  Is it right that in order to blaze a new trail someone must overcome hurdles of prejudice at every turn?  No.  But things worth having and doing are worth fighting for.

As terrible as I feel for Kathy Sierra and the other women mentioned in the article, I really feel that the type of people doing these horrible things are a minority.  If not, more women would be terrorized.  

Call me an optimist, but I believe that a majority of people on the Internet are good, decent human beings.  The creeps just seem to get more air time — maybe that’s why they do it.  

However, I hope that these incidents don’t keep women — or anyone, for than matter — from blogging or chatting on the net.  I’ve truly enjoyed my blogging experience.  True, not everyone agrees with my opinion — but hey, that would be a boring world. 


To Blog or Not To Blog

March 25, 2007

Well I’ve finally given into peer pressure (Thanks Marc and Rob) and started a blog (Not sure what a blog is?  Keep reading for a quick lesson).  To be honest with you, I love to write and I don’t get to do much of it in my current job.  I’ve been helping my husband with his blog and realized how much I miss writing.

However, the decision to blog was not taken lightly.  Some of my friends might think I’m technologically inclined because they never see me without my blackberry and I’d be lost without my computer.  I use it for everything — birthday invitations, Christmas newsletters, yes even yard sale tags — not just email and work.

But the truth is I’m a little slow to jump on the technology bandwagon.  I don’t have a HDTV (much to my husband’s chagrin), or an Ipod.  I don’t use Vista or Twitter.  First, I’m too busy (and maybe too lazy) to deal with all the bugs that come with being the first one in line to try out a new technology.  Secondly, with so much technology out there, I need to be sold on how that technology is going to make my life better or easier.  And it better be worth any money I spend on it!

A year or so ago, my father-in-law asked me what blogs were.  I told him they were just on-line journals — like diaries.  I still believe that it how blogs started, but they have come a long way since them.  Today they are more like a near-real time news brief on topics of interest with the opportunity for readers to discuss.

You can now find a blog on just about any topic.  Businesses use blogs to communicate with their customers (think electronic newsletter, but more frequent).  Other blogs are used to promote or market (check out blogs for your favorite TV shows — some characters even have their own blogs!).  While some blogs concentrate on a particular topic, others cover a range.

This blog will be used, of course, to talk about the topics close to my heart — parenting, toddlers, twins, activities in and around Richmond, family fun, travel, entertainment, movies, my favorite TV shows and current affairs (although by the time I get around to posting on them, they might not be so current).

For those of you also new to blogging — even as a reader — here’s a short tutorial.

You should plan to visit a blog often. Just because today’s topic doesn’t interest you, doesn’t mean tomorrow’s won’t.

If you are too busy (or lazy like me) to visit daily, you should subscribe to a blog.  There are two ways to subscribe to a blog — by email and by RSS.  You can subscribe to this blog by either message in the top right corner.  Email subscriptions appear in your Inbox just like any other email.  For RSS fees you’ll need an RSS reader (like Internet Explorer 7).  Not sure what RSS is, click here.

Comment.  Please Comment.  After each article you’ll find a link for you to post comments.  Bloggers love when you comment.  It lets us know that you are out there and that you are reading.  You don’t have to agree with us, but tell us what you think.  Feel free to comment on someone else’s comments too.  The point of a blog is to start a discussion.

Share my blog articles with others.  Like one of my articles?  Please feel free to email it to others.  Think others in general will enjoy this article, please feel free to post/vote for it at one of the social networks.  Social Networks are like search engines for blogs.  You can vote on your favorite posts.  I’ve listed links to some of my favorite social networks in the column on the right.

If you have your own blog and want to comment in your blog about one of my posts use the Trackback URL to link back to my blog.

Think there’s something I should be covering that I’m not, feel free to email me at vacelts@comcast.net.

That’s about all I know about blogging to date.  I’ll share more as I learn it.  Of course, I hope to see you back here soon.