Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh, little pop-stars...growing up so fast (or, my rant for the day about the ridiculous-ness of celebrities.)

Miley Cyrus is the latest celebrity to join the "I was misquoted" parade, saying that she really does like Internet sensation Rebecca Black. Cyrus last week told anAustralian radio show that when it comes to the likes of Black, "It should be harder to be an artist. You shouldn't just be able to put a song on YouTube and go out on tour." Now, Cyrus is telling E!,"I am a fan of Rebecca Black. I love Rebecca Black. I just got misquoted. I think she's great." (MSN-Scoop)

Oh-my-goodness.  Can somebody puh-lease tell me who told Miley Cyrus that she was hot sh&t and that nobody else mattered?  I'd like to have a couple of words with that person.  It should be harder for someone to put a song on YouTube?  Has she also forgotten who her father (used to be)?  How does everyone think she got into the music scene in the first place?  Does anyone honestly think it was all her hard work and dedication to her craft that made record labels take an interest?  I don't think so.  Daddy's name and career (and cash) helped out quite a bit.  

I'd like to remind her that as popular as thirteen (yes, thirteen) year old Rebecca's video is, so is Miley's viral marijuana video.  Looks like she's losing just a smidgen of attention because she did something stupid in front of a video camera that someone put up in the internet, and now she's jealous that someone's getting the same attention that she got at that age.  Next thing you know, she'll be taking pot-shots at the little girl who garnered Lady Gaga's attention by singing "Born this Way" like a vocal prodigy/angel and was subsequently invited to sing on stage with Gaga.  Heaven knows Britney Spears or Hilary Duff  might rightly take her down a peg or two if she directed her "I'm not number one anymore" woes at them and I would hope that they wouldn't be so nice about it and or that they were mis-quoted.  I know I wouldn't be if I were famous enough to bend her ear.  Everyone will forget about it next time her newest racy music video comes out, and she'll reclaim, but I can only hope that Miss Black keeps a level head (and most of her clothing on) until she's twenty or so.  If Miley can't learn to quit picking on other rising stars, maybe she can at least keep the punches to her own age group.  One can only hope.  (The next Disney channel star will only out-do her, anyway.  Here's to hoping it's Rebecca Black...)

Allie H.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm back! Sorry it's been a while...and yes, my first PSA, but it's important.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter Weekend-Kris got Monday off work (over here they do Easter Monday instead of Good Friday for the work Schedule) so he's had a four day work week that's shortly going to be done with !  We picked up a leg of lamb Friday evening and threw it in the fridge.  (Sigh-I used to raise them when I did 4-H so I'm sad to say that it was pretty tasty.  Just finished off the last of it today with lamb, veggie, cheese kebab wraps for lunch and leftover potato madness.  Kris made two layer potato-rosti on the bottom, potato au gratin on top for dinner last night, with lardons and cheese sprinkled on top.  Too yummy!)  Anyway, lamb, and roasted potatoes with bell peppers, onion, garlic, salad, bread, (pickles, apples, Brie...) Yeah.  We stuffed our faces.  It was awesome.  Threw the lamb in the oven after the church service we'd decided to attend with Kris's coworker, then in Easter Style, threw on the Ten Commandments (of course, with Charles Heston and Yul Brynner) and popped open the beers.  What works better than Easter and beer?  It was a great meal and we were stuffed until about 11pm when, still awake, and hungry again, somehow, Kris made us eggs and rosti.  Rosti is shredded potatoes and lardons (fatty square chunks of bacon), covered in grease, and you fry it in a pan for 15 minutes or so, until golden brown and crunchy, flip it, cook the other side for awhile-but the flipping is not so easy.  It comes out of the package in a rectangle shape, but refuses to stay that way to be cooked evenly.  It's still good only golden on one side, of course.  We're addicted to the stuff.  We eat it for breakfast and don't eat again until 5pm or so.  Kris's mom sent us Peeps and Easter cookies so we had goodies as well, and coworker Stephen contributed chocolate as well as more beer-we had a full meal!  

Have been cycling through my stories-reading through some I haven't worked on in a year, at least, since I had a whole handfuls of things to work on for my Creative Writing course this time last year.  Have also found  Writer's Digest online, which led me to update my account info and put a couple of writing books in my shopping cart-it has since reminded me that I put them there, and wouldn't I like to buy them?  Yes, when I transfer a few bucks to one of our credit cards to be able to do so!  I will buy you, I promise!

PSA Time:

On a more serious note, folks, when I'm avoiding focusing on writing, I browse MSNBC and see what's going on with the world back home.  Today I ran across the story of the young single mother who's body was found, after her car and baby girl were found the day or so before in NH.  Ladies, I implore you-do something!  I don't know how this young girl met her fate, exactly, though it was mentioned that her ex-boyfriend was arrested for drug trafficking, and I think, that he was the father of her child, but it's disheartening to hear that more and more often that a young woman was taken from her home, work, car, parking lot, bar, etc, etc, etc.  

So please!  Women, get mad.  Take self defense classes.  Carry prepaid GoPhones if you don't have a regular exclusive expensive cell phone plans you can afford to pay for every month.  Brothers, fathers, buy your sisters, daughters, cousins, whoever you have in your family, pepper spray, pocket knives.  Teach them how to throw a punch, or to box if that's what you know how to do.  Men are victims of crimes as well of course but the stories every week are about so many women are going missing these days that might not have gone missing at all is someone had taken the time to teach them to defend themselves.  If someone attacks you to pick your pocket or steal your car, chances are, if you can scare them off, make them bleed, they'll lose confidence and run.  My driver's ed teacher told us that if we were walking to our cars late at night or in a part of town we didn't know, to hold our keychains in our fists with the key sticking out between our middle and ring fingers so that if we were approached and attacked, we had a better chance of swiping, scratching, and fighting back.  Be smart, know your surroundings at night, even if you think you know them in broad daylight, ask to see a police officer's ID if you're pulled over on an otherwise deserted road.  This young woman left behind an infant child, a mother, a sister, a family.  So many of them do.  It's beyond horrible and tragic.

I joke about that fact that I might not win a chick fight if I got into one, but I'd do what I could to leave a couple of bruises, pull some hair, kick some shins.  I wish now I'd gotten some sort of kick-boxing, self-defense, some sort of classes while I was at college and wasting elective space on interior design and sewing. A friend of ours gave me a pocket knife a while back (he had plenty he didn't use, someone might as well) and I carry it downtown at night, even if I'm with my husband, and when we go to big cities here, where we'll be on the Metro, buses, etc, I carry one of his switchblades in an accessible pocket.  I don't think of it as being paranoid, I think of it as having the means to protect myself from theft and harm.  A good friend of mine went to school on the East Coast and a friend of ours who worked as a security guard at the time gave her a switchblade  as a going away gift because he knew she'd be on the metro late at night and visiting friends in DC and NYC.  

It's just pure sense and safety, gals.  Take a weekend class.  Talk to your fathers, uncles, brothers.  Do what you need to do to become confident that you can walk to your car in a dark and deserted parking lot and handle yourself.  That we all could be celebrities and travel with a grip of bodyguards 24/7 would be ideal, but we're unfortunately not all pointed down that avenue of life.  It's not unreasonable to want to be safe, so take the steps to do so, I implore you all.  Don't merely take your safety for granted, thinking you're not in the wrong part of town.  Make yourself safe.  Ensure your own safety.  

Thanks for reading,

Allie H.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lake Lugano

Photos of our first couple of weeks in Lugano-when it was 85 + degrees and humid...gearing up to get back to that weather soon-has been 75+ the past couple of weeks and tons of sun.

Lake Lugano is between Switzerland and Italy-if you take the "giro du lago" tour you quite literally cross into Italian water for a few minutes on the lake Tour boat-the tour shows you all the little towns around the lake, gives you some history, some only accessible by foot from the highway (a couple towns have no streets big enough for cars, so no cars,) the casino, the Swiss Miniature (scale model of all the mountains and tourist spots in SW) a few towns that our little regional train goes to but again, some walking to get to.  You can take the Lake tour, get off at these towns and get back on when the boat comes back by so we'll be doing that as soon as we can, as there's a couple towns we'd like to see-having spent money on plane tickets to come back and visit in June makes expenses a bit tight but can't wait to see the states and everyone for a few weeks, so it's worth it.  But spring is springing around here by leaps and bounds, trees and flowers blooming all over the place, so more pictures will be posted soon.  Daily walks with Chloe-monster are accompanied by the digital camera, or at least my camera phone in case there's something new, interesting and pretty to look at!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Recent reading...and dreaming

Kris and I bought these books last year at an offshore cruising seminar in Oakland-this family packed up and went cruising for two years, planned, then extended it to six years-mother, father, and three boys-did home school at sea while sailing all over the world!  Even if you're not a sail enthusiast, it's an absolutely interesting read.  

We met Mrs. Copeland at the seminar in the convention midway after drooling at all of the beautiful 40+ foot yachts on display in the harbor and conveyed our desire to sail in the Caribbean and eventually around the world and she was so thrilled at our dream for adventure.  We bought her pack of books and she signed each of them for us and wished us well and on our way soon!  

"Just Cruising" -Europe, Caribbean, Galapagos, South Pacific, and to Australia
"Still Cruising" -Australia, Indian Ocean, Cape of Good Hope, back to the US
"Comfortable Cruising" -Around North and Central America

All written by Liza Copeland with maps, pictures, appendices on planning routes, weather, etc, etc, etc-a wealth of information.  Of course, their trip was several years past but still a wealth of fascinating sites to see, wonderful stories of meeting people in every country who were helpful and fellow cruisers who they constantly saw in different ports around the world, who were like their family at sea, and watching even her youngest boy grow up with a totally different life experience than his classmates from home, an understanding of the world from a very hands on, unique perspective.

Since unpacking our books here and going back to our favorites for a couple of months, we've decided to crack open these books and we're happy we did.  They're fabulous and we are now getting antsy to buy a boat of our own and get gone!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blog blurb number one!

Hi everyone!  My first blog post-so exciting!  I plan on blogging here for a couple of reasons: 
1.  To share with friends and family more of our day-to-day life and what it's like, what we see, do, and learn while we're over here, keep everyone more up to date with our new lives.  
2.  To use this space (hopefully) as a relaxed, free-writing tool where there's less of a goal in mind, unlike my other projects.  Some people know, and some people don't, that I write constantly and would love to be published some day.  While I've got stories and poetry and writing projects, I'm trying to find a regular writing schedule, and starting off with something casual seems like the way to gear up for focusing on a somewhat fixed idea.   
3.  I'll also be posting cool stuff I find, pictures I take, websites I want to share!  So enjoy!  
Allie H.