Monthly Archives: October 2013

I May Need A New Job

Listen to what I have done today and you be the judge. For anyone who may happen to be reading this who doesn’t know me, I recently quit my marketing job after 15 years. I have never not worked in my life. At first it was going well b/c I had lots of freelance stuff that was taking up time while my boys were in school (which for my little one is just 4 hours a day). But, a lot of that has tapered off, and here’s what I found myself doing today.

1. As I think I have mentioned previously, I like sharing my opinion. As such I fill out a lot of online surveys. One survey that I completed qualified me for a follow-up phone call where they asked if I would be willing to download an app at iPoll and go to different stores and take surveys. For my effort/opinion I would accrue money that I could use to buy things on Amazon.com. Hoping to support my reading habit, I readily downloaded the app.  My first “mission” as they call it, was to go to the Wal-Mart near my house and activate the survey so that I could the see what I was supposed to do. It recognizes where you are by GPS and won’t actually activate the survey until you are in the store. I entered Wal-Mart this morning and went to activate my mission. However, it said “You must be in the store. You are 1.63 miles away from the location.” But I wasn’t, I was in the store. I knew there was another Wal-Mart in Chelsea, but that was further than six miles away. After several minutes of head scratching I figured out the problem. We used to have a Wal-Mart where Lowes currently is. Somehow the iPoll system still thought our Wal-Mart was at the old location. Therefore, it was impossible for me to activate the survey. But did I let that deter me? Oh, no. I got in my car and drove 6.2 miles to the Chelsea Wal-Mart where I could activate the survey. (I did have regular shopping that I needed to do too.) So the survey wanted me to go to the refrigerated dough aisle, take some pictures of the display and answer a bunch of questions about the products on the shelf. For this I received $5.00 credit. At the end of the survey it said if I would buy a certain item that I indicated I liked and take it home, cook it and have my family try it, and answer another survey they would give me an additional $15.00 credit.  I was going to buy the product anyway so I agreed.

So what I gathered from my visit is that Pepperidge Farm is getting in to the refrigerated dough market. And, from the looks of it they have some pretty yummy products. Two that I purchased were Savory Cheddar Biscuits and Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls. Apparently this is a soft launch(or else their marketing department sucks) as I could not find any images on their website to show you. Although the products look really yummy the packaging really doesn’t stand out on the shelf. The packaging is mainly purple and that does happen to be my favorite color, but what it does not do is stand out on a shelf already crowded with lots of blue packaging (Pillsbury and Great Value). What does stand out is Nestle’s garish bright yellow packaging.

2. After this detour to the alternate Wal-Mart location, I was late to lunch at Ragtime with my Dad. On the way there my phone dinged (not with a call from the casting directors at Hollyood Game Night) but an alert from my iPoll app telling me that they saw I was near Valleydale Village and they had another survey that I could do there. At this point I started to feel a little bit like Mae in The Circle but it’s not like I had to “go transparent” or anything so I was still cool with it. (Read the book to understand reference.) On my way back from lunch I stopped in the location it indicated a Winn-Dixie, but once I was in there and starting the survey (on Toastinos snack products) I realized the Winn-Dixie was going out of business and therefore was not stocking new products, so I abandoned the mission and went to get in carpool line. Don’t worry I will go to Publix tomorrow to take it!

3. I decided Monday afternoon that if Hollywood Game Night was going to pick me they would have already called. Also I read that the new season was only picked up for 10 episodes, meaning they just need to select 20 people out of tons that apply. So, I reactivated my game show quest and researched how to apply to Family Feud and Wheel of Fortune. I tried to find out how to apply to The Pyramid, but have been unable to figure it out.

After this is was time to go to the bus stop, do homework and get ready for baseball.

In defense of not working I did finish my Freedom Filer project. I won’t lie. It was harder than I wanted it to be and took me a long time to get all of the folders prepared and all of the paper wrangled into the appropriate file. But now that I am finished, there is a place fore every piece of paper that enters this house, so it makes it much easier to keep the house de-cluttered. I am cooking more and as a result my family is eating out much less, which has to be a little bit of money savings. I am exercising consistently and I am significantly less stressed. The downside to being less stressed is that I am fatter. I think the heightened level of anxiety helped to burn more calories each day.

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What I Am Reading

I’ll be honest here. I have read less in the past two months than I have since I was six. I don’t know if it is due to a lack of interesting material, or that my brain no longer wants to focus for extended periods of time due to the only focusing on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook etc.  Which, if that can happen to me, a person who  loves reading more than anything, makes me extremely worried about my boys. But, that is a whole different post.

In this post I want to talk about some books that have caught my attention recently. One that I am currently reading is The Circle by Dave Eggers.

Summary: When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Next on the list. Has anybody heard the John Grisham has a secret to A Time to Kill? Well, he does and it is called Sycamore Row and is out today! I find it interesting that this hasn’t gotten more publicity. Or, maybe it has and I have just missed it because I have been too busy watching Pretty Little Liars on Netflix. At any rate I saw an interview with Grisham on the Today show where he said that his wife did not want him to right this sequel, b/c she thought he had gotten too far away the nitty grittness of lawyer work and he wouldn’t be able to do the characters or the story justice. Well, I guess he didn’t listen to her and wrote the book anyway, and I am excited to read it. I really hope that he made an effort to get back to his writing roots with this book. I loved early and middle Grisham, but found myself uninterested in his recent stuff.

After that I plan on reading Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down and Changed Who We Are My husband and I have different ideas about the needs for these type medications and I am interested to read a researched perspective.

Summary: A compelling and troubling exploration of a generation raised on antidepressants, and a book that combines expansive interviews with substantive research-based reporting, Coming of Age on Zoloft is a vitally important and immediately engrossing study of one of America’s most pressing and omnipresent issues: our growing reliance on prescription drugs. Katherine Sharpe, the former editor of Seed magazine’s ScienceBlogs.com, addresses the questions that millions of young men and women are struggling with. “Where does my personality end and my prescription begin?” “Do I have a disease?” “Can I get better on my own?” Combining stout scientific acumen with first-person experience gained through her own struggle with antidepressants, Sharpe leads the reader through a complex subject, a guide towards a clearer future for all.

And Tori Spelling has a new book out today, Spelling It Like It Is. Say what you will about Spelling ( or you may not say anything as she doesn’t cross your mind), but I like her because she is refreshingly honest and offers a behind the scene glimpse into her life as one of Hollywood’s “rich” and “famous”.

Summary Tori Spelling is the first to admit that the “real­ity” behind her popular television show, Tori & Dean, isn’t always real. Not even Star magazine could invent the true chaos that happens behind the scenes. Luckily, Tori is famously honest and self-deprecatingly funny when it comes to her per­sonal life. She’s always Spelling It Like It Is. . . .

Life is never boring at Tori’s house, but since the release of her New York Times bestselling memoirs sTORI Telling, Mommywood, and Un­charted terriTORI, things have been especially unpredictable: finding out she was pregnant with her third baby after nearly vomiting live on the Home Shopping Network; trying to hide her fourth pregnancy so soon after giving birth (as her stylist said, “Who would be that crazy?”); be­ing rescued from a paparazzo by a mom lynch mob; stalking her celebrity neighbor; and allow­ing cameras to film every personal detail of her life—from the most challenging time in her mar­riage to the only time in six years when she really felt as though those cameras invaded her privacy.

Tori shares these stories and many more with the usual humor, candor, and down-to-earth charm that her fans love. She also writes openly about her biggest challenges: the terrifying health problems surrounding her high-risk pregnancy with her youngest son, Finn; her guilt over missing baby Hattie’s early months because she was in the hospital on bed rest; her struggles (and failures) to live within her means after growing up in opulence; the discovery that she has a lot in common with her late mega-producer father, Aaron Spelling; and how she fell in love with Dean all over again (hint: it didn’t happen at their vow renewal ceremony).

After Tori I am on to Rude Bitches Make Me Tired by Celia Riverbank, also out today. I mean how can you not read a book with that awesome of a title?

Summary:

In this always sensible and mildly profane etiquette manual for the modern age Celia Rivenbark addresses real-life quandaries ranging from how to deal with braggy playground moms to wondering if you can have sex in your aunt’s bed on vacation to correctly grieving the dearly departed (hint: it doesn’t include tattoos or truck decals).  Rude Bitches Make Me Tired will provide answers to all your mannerly questions as Celia discusses the social conundrums of our day and age, including:

  • Navigating the agonies of check splitting (“Who had the gorgonzola crumbles and should we really care?”)
  • The baffling aspects of airline travel (such as “Recline Monster” and other animals)
  • The art of the visit (always leave them wanting more . . . much more)
  • Gym and locker etiquette (hint: no one wants to talk to you while you’re buck naked)
  • Office manners (“Loud talkers, cake hawkers, and Britney Sue’s unfortunate cyst”)
  • And much more!

Then I think I will try The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. This book has been getting a lot of pub.

Here’s the summary: THE ART OF LOVE IS NEVER A SCIENCE

MEET DON TILLMAN, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on the Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut will resonate with anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of great challenges. The Rosie Project is a rare find: a book that restores our optimism in the power of human connection.

So how about that KSB? Not a depressing one in the bunch!

You can follow me on Goodreads to find out more about what I’m reading.

Games On The Brain

Okay so pretty much all I have been focused on these day is games and Pretty Little Liars.

1. There is the ever-looming October 31st date on which I will hear from NBC by if I am going to be chosen to be a contestant on Hollywood Game Night. I try not to think about it, but when I do think about it I become obsessed. So, let’s analyze this: On Casting Duo’s Facebook Page they said today that they were extending the time to submit applications to be a contestant on Hollywood Game Night.  Okay, so what does this mean.

A. I have a bad chance of getting on – all the peeps they have seen thus far suck and no one they have talked to thus far has been worthy of playing How Do You Doo or Smash The Buzzer with celebs. NBC has rejected all of the clips they have been send. (If we are really being honest with seven celebrities per show how much do you really notice the regular peeps’ personalities?)

B. I have a good chance of getting on – I made it passed the initial written application round, the phone interview and the Skype interview. The Casting Duo person said she was sending my clip to the network (or does she say that to all the girls :)) and they are having a hard time filling the quota to send to the network so the competition going forward is not outstanding.

Brandon says I still have a 50/50 shot, which of course he means to be good, but I interpret as bad. Side Note: How fun would it be to work for a casting agency and decide what peeps get on t.v.!! If I couldn’t be Bravo Andy, Watch With Kristen Ask Ausiello, that would be a great job.

Also, like a 15 year old girl with a crush, I saw that Hollywood Game Night 2 was on Skype and I Skyped them the following message:

[4:02:33 PM] KF: Hey! I saw on Facebook that y’all are extending the deadline for casting. Does that mean the time in which NBC could contact would be extended to or should all my hopes be dashed if I don’t hear anything by the 31st. Also what % of people that you Skype with do you send onto NBC? Really sorry to bug you, just trying to manage my expectations!

Pathetic.

In other game news I was selected to be a host for a Hasbro Gaming Party House Party. As in actually selected, not just under indefinite consideration. So I get to play games (which it has been established that I love. Here’s what you get in the party pack that they send;

In the meantime, here’s what your exclusive Party Pack will include*:

  • 1 DRAW SOMETHING PARTY EDITION game
  • 1 FUNNY OR DIE game
  • 1 TABOO game
  • 1 CATCH PHRASE game
  • 2 Party More with Hasbro Gaming winner crowns
  • 10 Coupons for $4 off Hasbro games
  • 1 Pack of Party More with Hasbro Gaming cups
  • 12 Simply CHEETOS® White Cheddar Puffed Corn snack bags
  • 15 Coupons for $1 Off Simply CHEETOS® White Cheddar Puffed Corn

Cool huh! I think I will give one of the guest the Draw Something Party Edition as a prize because I lack small motor skills and drawing has never been my thing.

I was thinking recently about why I might be so obsessed with games and the only thing I could come up with was that I never really played on a competitive team growing up. Yes, I did play basketball in 4th, 5th and 6th grade, but outside of that nothing. So I guess I have all of the built up competitiveness inside of me that needs an outlet.

The other thing I am obsessed with right now that is not game-related is Pretty Little Liars. We recently got a Roku (big puffy heart love) and thus Netflix (I know, I know what a Luddite)and one night in September when Brandon was out of town I discovered Pretty Little Liars. And then I proceeded to watch all 4 1/2 seasons in a month. And so did Brandon. And yes it is a series about 16 year olds that is probably marketed to tweens. Certainly not 38 and 40 year olds. Laura Leighton and Holly Marie Combs play two of the girls’ moms of the show and I remember them from Melrose Place and Charmed respectively.  I won’t bore you with whole plot on here, but if you want to know about it I would LOOOVE to tell you about it as I am really not friends with any highschooler’s and have no one with whom to discuss it.  Except Brandon that is. He is seriously just as obsessed as I am. And because of this he has stuff to talk to about with the nurses and office managers at the offices he calls o and they LOVE IT. So see, I am helping my family by watching all this stuff on t.v!

We Interrupt This Blog…

We interrupt this blog with some exciting news!! A couple of weeks ago I filled out an online application to be a contestant on the next season of Hollywood Game Night on NBC. Last Wednesday when my family and I were all in the car on the way to baseball practice, THEY CALLED ME! I did a phone interview where they asked me questions about myself, why I wanted to be on the show, etc. Then they said, “Okay now we are going to test your knowledge of Pop Culture.”  The first question they asked was “Who is the current Vice President of the United States?”  Okay I was so nervous that I completely blanked. Like nothing came into my mind. Luckily my husband whispered “Joe Biden” after I repeated the question out loud, so I was able to get that right. I then missed a question about what insurance company is “Flo” the spokesperson for….I said Geico, even though I know they have the dumb lizard. I know you are all screaming, “Progressive, you idiot.”  I then missed the NEXT question.  I was so stressed at this point, that I don’t even remember what that question was. So then I say to the girl, “Listen, I know you think I am an idiot. I promise I am not an idiot. I will do better.” After that I started nailing questions like, “Name the Kardashian sisters in order from oldest to youngest.  What former supermodel is now a judge on America’s Got Talent?” and so on.  At the end of the interview the girl said she liked me and wanted to schedule a follow up SKYPE interview for Friday. In between this time I had to complete a 14 page questionnaire full of essay questions and submit ten pictures and a copy of my driver’s licenses.

Friday I was on a girl’s trip at the beach, but was up and ready with makeup done, appropriate clothes and accessories and my laptop placed in a prominent position to maximize lighting and minimize double chins.  I had tested my Skype with my friend Barkley.  I had downed to Dirty Shirleys between 10:30 and 11:30 to help calm my nerves and encourage me to be as animated as possible. I was ready, Hollywood Game Night Skyped me at exactly 11:30. And then, disaster. My  SKYPE was frozen.  I could see the interviewer, but she could not see me.  We tried her calling me back, we tried me calling her back, nothing worked. She had other interviews to get to so she suggested rescheduling for Tuesday. I.WAS.DEVASTATED. I was so hyped up and just wanted it to be over with and now 4 more days of waiting.

After a brief pity party I rallied (a much improvement over the me of the past) and went on to enjoy an excellent weekend with great friends. And Tuesday was here before you know it. This time I was going to be extra prepared. I went up to my old office (at a technology company and plugged into their T-1 line) an hour before the interview was supposed to start. I downed a Starbucks Venti Chocolate Chai Tea Latte (try one, it is new and yummy) ad 3 20 oz Coke Zeros for oomph and 1 1/2 anxiety pills so that I wouldn’t hyperventilate and my nerves wouldn’t cause my mind to be jumbled. I removed the deer head from the wall of the person’s office I was using, touched up my makeup,  checked Sype with Barkley, had a notebook with Joe Biden’s name written down, checked Twitter and my latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. I was as ready as I could be. About five minutes passed our scheduled time the interviewer chatted on Skype to let me know she was running a few minutes behind. I said a quick prayer and then it was Showtime. Except it wasn’t  My stupid Skpe was frozen again. She tried calling me again, I tried calling her again – nothing. We decided I would restart my computer and call her back. I felt like the door was closing; I was starting to panic.  I grabbed the laptop of the friend whose office I was using, plugged it in and logged into my Skype on his pc.  I called back.  Now she could see me, but I was pixelated and distorted. She said it wouldn’t work.  I told her I was at a technology company with a bunch of IT guys and to let me see what I could do. She said that she had an hour before her next interview and if I could SKYPE her back by then we could still do the interview.  I ran over to the IT department and BEGGED for help (keep in mind I don’t even work at this place anymore). They determined that the issue was due to a international video conference that was being held in the conference room.  My nice friend D. said some of the staff had recently moved into a building down the street and the Internet connection there should be better. He agreed to take me there. I ran back, grabbed both laptops and the Fishes of Alabama book (side note: I typeset the index of this book when I was a college intern at Southern Progress) I was using to prop up my laptop on so that the camera would be at eye level and would reduce the appearance of double chins, hopped in D’s car and headed to the other office.  I asked him to please drive faster.  We got there, parked ran in the building and up two flights of stairs. D got me plugged in and I immediately tried to Skype the casting the director. At this point, no consideration was given to my lighting, my background or my makeup. Desperate times, desperate measures and all that.

Anyway, guess what. She could see me clearly. Hurray!!!!!! So she starts with the basic, “why do you want to be on the show?” type questions and then quickly moves into the simulation round.  The first thing she did was Celebrity Name Game. I feel like this is my strongest area of Hollywood Game Night. She would hold up a celebrity’s name on a card and I just had to describe that celebrity to get her to guess. The first was Alec Baldwin and I think I said something like, has a daughter Ireland that he famously got into a big fight with, on 30 Rock, lots of brothers. We probably did about 10 of those and I felt like I was pretty strong.( I did pass on Tyler Perry b/c after I said “he did all those Madea movies I didn’t know anything else about him.

The next thing was How Do You Do? In this round she gives a song title and I am supposed to hum part of the song using only the word “Do”. This would definitely be my weakest area. I cannot carry a tune to save my life, nor is music my area of expertise. I got songs like We Didn’t Start The Fire and YMCA. There were a couple I had to pass on because I didn’t know them.  I have a strategy for this though. On the show, I don’t have to actually go hum the songs. One person on your team starts humming and whoever guesses it on the couch goes up to hum the next song. If I know a song I will just tell it to someone on the couch with me so that they yell it out and can go up and hum.

After those two rounds she had me pretend like I was introducing myself on t.v. and then give a pitch about why I should be chosen.  And then it was over.  She said that she will take our interview, condense it down into a 30 second clip and send it over to NBC. If NBC decides to cast me they will notify me by the end of the month. Otherwise, that is the last I will hear from these peeps. There will be no contact if I don’t make it.

And if I don’t make it, I still am excited that I got this far. As MF says, if you don’t make it here, there’s always Chain Reaction. If I wouldn’t have been able to interview and missed out due to technical difficulties it would have been a hard pill to swallow. But I did and I gave it my all and that’s really all I can do since I live in Alabama and am not a Hollywood insider.  I do know this would truly be a lifelong dream come true!

Want to know more about the games they play on Hollywood Game Night? Read the Wiki here.