Thursday, June 28, 2007
Give the Gift of Blog
Okay, I think I have this whole RSS/Atom feed business finally solved. After procrastinating, er, working all day on it, I think I have it arranged where you can have email notices sent to you when I post a new blog. Which we know is only when I do something really stupid or there is a full moon.

So if you are game, enter your email addy in the box on the left hand column, and then verify some info, and voila! You get updated every time I post another thrilling installment of my life or an update on my cat's hairball situation. You don't want to miss that.

Geez, I hope this works. I am so not a techie. Dudes, I had to write code! I feel like I should take my own picture and post it on someone's refrigerator. So proud! (Okay, so I just put two and two together and copied some code in my blog template. But still.)

Have a good weekend!

  posted at 2:24 PM  

Channel Surfing as Punishment
I’m on the tail-end of a deadline. My third book in the Katie Parker Production series is due July 15. And I still have a lot to do. So as usual on the tail-end of a deadline with a ton to do, I find other tasks to occupy my time when I should be writing. It’s usually on the last week of a deadline when I have not allowed myself time to do more than sit, type, and occasionally breathe, that I get this overwhelming urge to clean the garage or sweep out gutters.

So this past week I have been pulling out my old tried and true and much read Julie Garwood and Judith McNaught books. Once a upon a time these ladies wrote historical romance, the first of their kind really to put any decent humor in it. (They now write contemporary fiction, but I don’t really want to talk about it.) So I will start one, write a little, then go back to finish the book late into the night. Wake up the next morning feeling like a freight train ran over me, get up and write for a few hours, then pick a new dusty book from my shelf by the two authors. Repeat next day. And the next.

But then I decided—no more! I must be responsible about this! (Okay, actually I ran out of books.) So even though I have two new books sitting in my living room, waiting for me and calling my name. (The Kite Runner, which is supposed to be fabulous, but is all serious, and probably won’t do much for my simplistic brain. And the one I’m the most excited about Spells and Sleeping Bags, the thrilling installment to the hilarious YA series by Sarah Mlynowski. And before people get all offended, it’s not like take me to the dark side stuff, but more like Bewitched for teens. So funny.)

Anyway, so last night I wrote and wrote. And when I was finished I had at least an hour or so before I would be ready to call it a night. And my new books stared at me. And I refused to acknowledge them, knowing if I started one I would read it the entire next day. So I turned on the TV. Now I don’t watch a lot of TV, but it’s amazing what you can find when you HAVE to watch it. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

Christopher Columbus saw three mermaids on one of his voyages. He said they were “Not as beautiful as he expected.” Men. Never happy with what they’ve got. Plus scientists believe what he actually saw were manatees. I guess when you’re a year or so without the presence of the lady folk, anything can look semi-attractive.

I want a Wii.

There’s a spider than can spend it’s entire life underwater. It spins a web and creates an air bubble for itself. This bubble is also where it kills its victims. Like I needed another reason not to swim in our local lake.

The Office is hilarious. Why didn’t someone tell me? Steve Carell is a comedic genius. His timing is amazing. And I loved the bloopers on the season two DVD set. Those people crack each other up, which is always fun to see.

Did you know a lot of media outlets put a moratorium on Paris Hilton news? Seriously, even US magazine refused to so much as mention her name this week. So I was really disheartened when I turned on CNN and there’s Anderson Cooper yakking it up about the former inmate. Anderson, I trusted you. Don’t you have a Darfur update or something you could talk about instead? I will never look at your and your prematurely gray hair the same again.

On one channel I learned that country music legend Glen Campbell now has a mullet. This is not good. Now wonder his career is not exactly in its prime. But then I flipped to another channel and found another mullet-—the Dog Bounty Hunter. Frankly, if I’m looking for an on-the-run loved one, I want my bounty hunter to have a mullet. If you look at the Dog’s recovery stats, I think there must be a correlation. And frankly, you can’t take your eyes off of it.

Twinkies now come in a banana flavor. I think this upset me the most. Number one, don’t mess with Twinkies. And number two—banana? What idiot thought of this? Nobody likes artificial banana taste. Nobody. Why wouldn’t you try some basics first—chocolate? Strawberry? Peanut butter? But banana? That’s like saying, “Hey, let’s add a flavor to Reese’s. I want to try prunes.” So illogical.

The Discovery Channel has a lot of really irrelevant shows. But it’s put a lot of dorks to work. Though they should not be allowed to write their own dialog. For example on Myth Busters, two guys wanted to test if a snapping cord could cut a person in half. So they used this giant, dead pig (Very attractive. Brought back all sorts of high school lab nightmares) to test it. But it did not snap the poor swine in two.
Host one says, “A rope snapping at 227 miles per hour won’t kill you. It
doesn’t have enough beef to it. Or should I say pork.”

I found another show that was riveting. Hilarious even—but probably not in the way intended. It’s called Honey: We’re Killing the Kids, on TLC. But that’s for another day. For it deserves a blog all by itself.

Now back to writing. Or garage cleaning.

  posted at 10:23 AM  

Sunday, June 24, 2007
What I Have To Say Is Alarming
Dear Neighbors,
I would like to apologize for the events that transpired on Saturday night at 10:06 central time.

You see, as I tried to explain to the neighborly strangers on my doorstep, my house has a security system. But it’s never been…um, put to the test. But all this week it’s gone off every morning at exactly 6:15 a.m. Just an annoying little beep—like a loud alarm clock. And lo and behold, the sound stops if I punch in my ATM pin number. Yes, I know it’s random, as this isn’t any programmed code. But what a mathematician I must be to deduce the sequence of numbers of the code on the first try.

Anyway, I decided I was sick of that annoying beeping at 6:15 (It’s summer. This girl needs her sleep.). So there are three big buttons on the key pad. Tonight, after six years in this house, I mashed down two of them. What? I had such good luck with the pin number and all. What could go wrong?

And then…my whole world exploded.

A sound louder than the school fire alarm came from outside my house. It was a warning signal coming from a speaker above my garage. Loud enough to wake the dead. It was like it was Armageddon and my house was solely responsible for sounding the alarm.

Well, poor neighbors, I had been ready for bed, but knew everyone within the four state area would be over to see what the hideous noise was.

So I panicked. I knew the police would be on their way. I knew the 80 year old man who drives the Neighborhood Watch minivan would come too. I had to find some decent clothes. But with all the house noise, I couldn’t think.

I need pants. Where do I keep them? I need a bra. Bra, bra, bra. I ran to drawers, ran to my closet and stood there without comprehending that yes, there were clothes in there. I grabbed a pair of khakis, then remembered they made my butt look big. Not kidding. This literally went through my head.) I ran back to the bathroom, grabbed a pair of yoga pants. Where I found the rest is a blur. All I know is I looked down and I was dressed.

Next, with the tornado alarm on top of my house still blaring, I ran into the garage, finally realizing there’s a box thingie in there. And within it are switches, and hopefully flipping some combination, even though none said “Apocalyptic Alarm,” the thing would go off before someone called the po-po. I raked my hand over the switches and just flipped them all.

I was plunged into darkness (which is SO dangerous in MY garage).
But the alarm stopped. Only the annoying small alarm remained.
And I heard people on my front porch.

So I ran in the dark back into the house. Then realized I couldn’t meet the neighbors in the pitch black, so sprinted back to the garage (ran over something—sorry kitty), and flipped the switch to get the porch light on.

Then you, sweet neighbors (who I’ve never seen before in my life, by the way. Welcome to the neighborhood!), came to my door and asked me if I was okay.

And I meant to say, “It’s my house alarm. It’s been going off all week and somehow I set off this big daddy alarm tonight. It not longer accepts my ATM pin.”

But instead it came out: “OH MY GOSH! I’m so sorry. My alarm. My scary, scary alarm. Loud. Very loud. Is God punishing me? I know I need to move for the sake of your property values.”

And I’d like to apologize to Mr. O’Grady, twelve houses down. I’m sorry the noise interfered with your pacemaker. It hurt me too, though. It hurt my ears. And of course you’re right, the heart is a big deal, but still. I think my two ears beats your one heart.

And little Bobby across the street having the fun birthday party with the cool inflatables. Even though you didn’t invite me, I’m still sorry for the scary noise. And I’m sorry it made you cry, but even though this wasn’t the end of the world, wasn’t it fun to act like it was? It is going to happen sometime, so you might as well practice now. And maybe it did ruin your birthday, but chin up, little skipper. You’ll have another birthday next year.

And God, I’m sorry for what I said when my house nearly exploded with the noise. I didn’t know I knew that particular word combination either. Nor did I know my house was wired with the same warning system as a nuclear reactor.

So it’s now one a.m., and I am wide awake. But I would like to thank my family for their keen electrical work tonight to permanently fix the problem and stop the full house of tiny beeping that followed the BIG beeping. Because even if you turn the power off, there’s a backup battery. WHO KNEW??? And who knew there was a speaker on the outside of my house? My garage door barely opens on a daily basis, but this dumb, hidden speaker works like new after six years of no usage. That’s some fine craftsmanship.

And thank you po-po, for not stopping by. Though you only live ¼ of a mile away, and tomorrow I will question your commitment to protect and serve, right now I’m awfully glad I didn’t have to greet you in my stretched out yoga pants and XXL high school drama t-shirt.

Again, my apologies to my neighborhood and the poor unsuspecting retirement community in which I live. Apologies to Arkansas and the U.S.A. And apologies to NATO, who probably took the siren as an aggressive act of terrorism and will be storming my house any minute, so I better go vacuum or tidy up.

Good night.

  posted at 3:55 AM  

Wednesday, June 20, 2007
You Got That Cinnamon?
Did you watch Dateline? I know some people did! And you know who you are.
It was a great interview. Those princes are funny. Who knew? I wonder if the Queen approves. Though I hear she has a sense of humor, as well. I guess you'd have to to pull of those outfits. I liked how Prince William said, "We will never be normal." Could he and I be any more alike?

My good friend Jessica brought this video to my attention. You call it video. I call it art. It is fabulous. It is a rap ode to the cereal Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Can only ceral die hards relate? And beware of the tub scenes...

Isn't that great? "My school friends give me props cuz I cut my box tops." But what is up with the boy in the chiffon green polo? Dude, it's a rap. Do you think the cereal related content makes it any less gangsta? Oh, no, my friend. It does not. I find his attire disrespectful to CTC. On behalf of gangstas everywhere, as well as cereal enthusiasts, you looked like Carlton from Fresh Prince amidst a bunch of Snoop Doggs.
But anyway, great video. And my top secret, underground General Mills sources (okay, again, my friend Jessica)confirm that this is not a publicity stunt by GM. These cool cats did it all on their own (thus the wardrobe snafu).

Finally, I have the cover to The Big Picture, Act III in the Katie Parker Production series. I've been very blessed with covers. Though you're not supposed to judge a book by the cover...let's face it. We all do. That's why I never liked science. The book usually had a close-up of some Amazon frog's eyeball or an amoeba or something stupid. Had it been cuter and something in a nice pattern of pink and brown--or had Matthew McConaghey's picture on it, maybe I would've taken more interest. So yes, the fact that I am not a rich plastic surgeon now is all the book industry's fault. But anyway, drumroll's The Big Picture.

  posted at 5:06 PM  

Monday, June 18, 2007
Someday My Prince Will Come--Like Tonight
Tonight is the Matt Lauer interview with Prince Harry and Prince (and one day king) William. I have church tonight, or else I would park myself RIGHT in front of that TV and soak it all in. Now I will have to settle for taping it. And yes, I said "tape." I am not with the DVR/Tivo generation yet. (But in my defense, I stopped listening to eight track tapes last year, so things are improving.)

I cannot wait to see Matt talk to these two dashing gents. I hope he asks them really serious, heavy-hitting questions. Like have you ever wanted to visit Arkansas? Or if you were given the choice of having to marry Roseanne Barr, the bearded lady at the circus, that really old man from Harry Potter, or me...who would you choose? Or your stranded on a dessert island and you can only have one of the following with you: Osama Bin Laden, Screech, or me--who do you pick? Please come through for us all, Matt. No surface level, silly, frothy questions, okay? I want to know the hard facts. The deep stuff. Like what cologne they wear. (Christmas will be here sooner than you know, and I need to know how to properly shop and stalk.)

So we shall reconvene and discuss after the interview debut.

  posted at 1:27 PM  

Thursday, June 14, 2007
The Good, The Bad, And The Princes
I’ve been so busy cleaning my house that I haven’t had time to blog.
Bwa-hahaha! Okay, not really. There have been some documented moments of dusting though. And I did unload the dishwasher this week, so that has to count for something.

I am eagerly anticipating the Matt Lauer interview of Wills and Harry, otherwise known as my future family. Though since it’s a Dateline interview, I don’t know how this is going to go down. If you are a young man and Dateline calls and want to meet with you, RUN! Before you know it, you’re sitting in your kitchen staring at a laptop, and some reporter has a mic in your face saying, “Do you know this thirteen year old?” I will be very disappointed if Wills and Harry are not on Dateline to discuss the future of the monarchy, their mother, their lives, and me. I know they are not predators, but I would still be able to sleep better at night if I knew Primetime was interviewing them instead. Be on your guard, princely gentlemen. Be on your guard.

As mentioned, I will be traveling to stalk Wills, er, I mean vacationing in Europe at the end of July. We are taking a highly recommended tour of England. A new addition has been added to this tour, and I hate it already. It’s evil. It’s scary. It’s TALL. It’s a giant Ferris wheel. I’ve never even been on one. They sway, they swing, and they…I don’t know, they have Nazi origins? Okay, I don’t know, but I hate them. I could fall out! Well, this beauty, the London Eye, is 443 feet high (Hello, that’s 438 feet taller than me.). My friends are proud of the fact that it’s the tallest observation wheel in the world. Um…that’s a reason to AVOID it—not jump on it. Wikipedia has this to say about it: “The rim of the Eye is supported by tie rods and resembles a huge spoked bicycle wheel.” Oh, okay. That makes me feel MUCH better. It’s made of twist ties and bicycle parts, for crying out loud. So yeah, excited about that. I am really looking forward to losing my cookies, er, my scones, in a bubble suspended a million feet in the air. And I’ve seen Spider Man. This is the type of place that people who want to destroy the world TARGET. Oh, well. I guess I have a while yet to prepare. And make out my last will and testament.

  posted at 4:00 PM  

Friday, June 08, 2007
Paris Hilton went to jail.
Paris Hilton got out of jail.
Paris Hilton went back to jail.
Her lawyer claims she was put on house arrest due to medical conditions. Intially the press said the medical condition could be summed up in one word: RASH. Playing the rash card never works. Trust me, Paris. I try and use it all the time to get out of stuff. "Sorry I'm late for work. I had a rash." "Sorry I forgot to pay you that ten bucks I owe you. I had a rash to take care of." "Sorry I forgot your birthday. See I have this rash..." "No, I don't understand all the intricacies of the Middle Eastern conflict. But I do have a rash."
And house arrest? In the Hilton Mansion? I want to be on house arrest there!

Summer is my time to catch up on reading. Of course, I'm supposed to be reading Pride and Prejudice with my friend Kari. I have a feeling neither one of us are working too hard on it. But since I need something to do while I'm ignoring P and P, here's what I'm reading:

All the Tea in China is a tale about an Englishwoman who stows away on a ship bound for the Orient so she can begin her life as a missionary. Then, oops, she gets caught (because it would be a dull book if she stayed hidden the entire 348 pages), and of course, falls in love with the ship's captain (Just once why can't the damsel in distress fall in love with a deck swabber? A lookout on the poop deck?). I'm not a big regency fan, but I liked the book. And the author did not survive to see it's release, so purchasing this book would definitely help our the young family she left behind. And I do love the cover.

I am half way through The Specialists: Model Spy. This brilliantly intelligent sixteen-year-old girl gets caught hacking into the government's computer system. Instead of going to prison, she gets recruited into a program for young smarties like herself, gets a new identity, and all but saves the world (while getting a boyfriend, I think). Oh, and she's model beautiful. This might as well be my life story. Sooo many similarities. The long legs, the hacking, the child prodigy issue, having to fight the dudes off with a stick. And of course looking like Giselle or Kate Moss while entering computer code and wearing bifocals. Besides the fact that the author clearly ripped this story from my life, it's a good book. Middle school audience though. So obviously I like it.

I'm listening to Michael Buble's Call Me Irresponsible. I especially like "Me and Mrs. Jones."
Though I don't know why. I'm not Mrs. Jones. My mom is. Still, that song will make anyone wish they were Mrs. Jones. But his real life lady love is the girl who played the total heifer with crazy eye shadow in Devil Wears Prada. That's not a good pic, but she had wild green eye shadow stripes everywhere. Mr. Buble, you sir, can do better than that. She's mean and she abuses the Mary Kay products. And probably does not appreciate the track "Me and Mrs. Jones." S'all
I'm saying.

If you, like me, have grown tired and weary of the war dominating the TV and news, wondering where has the good, quality, in-depth journalism gone--wonder no more. On the morn of June 18, Matt Lauer, who has not demonstrated his journalist chops since Tom Cruise got up in his glib face, will be interviewing my future relatives, Wills and Harry. You can check it out here. And who wouldn't?

  posted at 10:00 PM  

Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Summertime---and the Living is Easy
Today was my last day of school. So long school year, 2006-2007. It’s been…real.As in real long. Real exhausting. And real glad it’s over.

My summer plans (after the four days of school meetings, which I refuse to comment on):

1. Painting. The disaster known as my bedroom (John Deere threw up here), must be corrected. I stumbled upon inspiration and a theme a bit more calming today and will go with that. See, out of school only a few hours and already my brain is working better. John Deere green paint—this is my brain on school.

2. Spend some time with the cats, Grady and Miller. I think I have neglected one of the fuzzy wonders, as he is behaving destructively. And again, for those that keep up, he’s on meds. He has a running prescription of anti-depressants, but I think I probably need them more. Cat is psycho. Could be the green bedroom though. I wonder if this could get us on Dr. Phil?

3. Clean my house. I hear it’s what most people do. I think I’ll give it a try and see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be. I have my doubts.

4. Catch up on Oprah and once again ignore her book club selection. Hello, Oprah, your books are a drag! When are you gonna pick something funny? What’s wrong with a beach read? You know what this country REALLY needs?

Some Berenstain Bears. If we all read those, we’d know a proper bedtime is important, it’s not nice to yell at our siblings and neighbors, and parents (or teachers—especially short speech teachers) usually know best.

5. Find a wrinkle cream. I don’t really want to talk about it.

6. Drink lots of ice tea. (Which unfortunately racks up a lot of summer pee time)

7. Write The Big Picture, Act III in the Katie Parker series, and the book that follows this one, which releases in September. (And no, it’s really not 208 pages. I distinctly remember bleeding out quite a bit more.)

8. Layout and get a tan. Just kidding.

9. Do the Beth Moore Bible study on Daniel. Because that is one smart, southern girl. (We’re a lot alike like that).

10. Try to enjoy the break instead of waking up every day with the thought, “Oh, my gosh. I only have _________ more days left!”

And I want to say George Bush’s announcement today that Russia would not be bombing Europe really set my mind at ease. As I will be going there at the end of July, I do believe bombing and stuff could totally mess up my vacation. George W. does not want to see three single girls with nothing to loose get irate over a bombed Eiffel Tower and serious airline delays. Not to mention it would totally frizz my hair.

Happy summer to all!

  posted at 5:02 PM  

Friday, June 01, 2007
Teacher's Top Ten
This list was shared by my friend Lizann, also a teacher. Sooo true. (Though she is done with school. And I am not. It's a wonder I'm still speaking to her.)

Top 10 ways to know you are ready for school to end
(and a little editorializing from moi):

10. You are so tired, you want to answer students' questions with "shut up."
(I'm not proud, as this is a banned word in my classroom, but this happened to
me JUST this week. And it felt AWESOME.)

9. Your friends call to ask how you've been and you immediately scream "Stop asking me these questions!" (What? What teacher is capable of phone conversation at this point?)

8. Your garbage can is now your "Inbox." (Or in my case, every email I get that doesn't say "free food in lounge" or "you can leave early today" automatically gets deleted.)
7. You wake up to discover your classroom is one fire, but go back to sleep because you just don't care. (So not true. I would definitely save myself.)

6. You consider a 40 hour work week a vacation. (Oh...I'm expected to still be working? Right, right. I knew that.)

5. Visions of the upcoming summer and sleeping in help you make it through Monday. (Actually I've been sleeping in the last few weeks. I just want to practice before summer starts.)

4. You don't set your alarm anymore because you just don't care if you're late or not. (See no. 5) (Though I did have to show up early for work today. I had double meetings this morning. And NOBODY brought donuts or pastries. What kind of institution of learning is this? Isn't "providing unhealthy, high sugar food for meetings" covered in No Child Left Behind?)

3. The next kid who asks you for a pencil is going to hear "Don't you have anything? Do you see Wal Mart tattooed on my forehead?" ( My kids have the skills and tools to see that happen. Not gonna risk that one.)

2. Your day timer/work planner exploded a week ago. (DayTimer? Planner? BWA-HA-HA!!! That's a good one.)

1. You fantasize about how relaxing it would be if you were in jail right now. (After this last week of smelling fetal pig dissection from the classrooms on either side of me, definitely.)

  posted at 9:07 PM  

About Me

Jenny B. Jones

Arkansas, US

I am a teacher in one of the largest high schools in the state. I'm also a writer of Young Adult novels and am currently working on a brand new series. Book three in the Katie Parker Production series, The Big Picture, will hit shelves in April 2008. Stay tuned!

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