Thursday, August 05, 2004

Bad News

My new nephew, Skylar, is in the hospital with jaundice, probably due to his small size. His mother is feeding him every two hours, they're pulling every nurse they can, and he's under ultraviolet lights.

Please, please, PLEASE, let him live. : ' 0 (

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Monkee-Ing Around...and the Arrival of a New Family Member

First of all, I would like to announce to one and all....I AM AN AUNT! My sister Anny Jackman had her son, Skylar Mikah, at 5:54 PM on Saturday, July 31st, 2004. He's a tiny, adorable thing, weighing in at 5 pounds, 10 ounces. He's long, too - he's gonna be a tall boy. He already has a head full of hair and his mother's nose. : 0 ) Mom and Dad have asked to be called Nana and Pop Pop. Mom says she has enough people calling her "Mom," and Dad does NOT want to hear "Grandpa." ; 0 ) They've spent the summer re-doing Keefe's old room for Anny and the baby and putting Keefe downstairs, as well as getting new furniture for their bedroom, and I think it all looks fabulous - I love the orange and soft green colors used for the walls. : 0 D

Second, you may wonder why I haven't posted since April. Where have I been? Well, quite literally, nowhere...and everywhere. My friend Lauren and I started a little Monkees role-play story between the two of us in our daily e-mails sometime in late April, just to goof off and practice the guys' dialogue (those Texas and British accents can be quite a handful....) for our fanfics. By early May, it had grown out of the e-mails and onto the IM, where we concocted two stories, one a fantasy, the other revolving around the complicated but fun Yahoo Monkees fanfic group we both belong to, Long-Title.

We had so much fun IMimg the "Dream World" story, we decided to do another IM role-play after the Memorial Day crowds came and went from the Wildwood area....and we enjoyed THAT one so much, we decided to just keep going and do one role-play story per month, usually at the beginning. The format is two stories, one "just for fun" two-to-three part pure sitcom-esque tale meant as a warm-up, and one longer, more action/drama-oriented story. The running gag in our stories is that the six of us - Lauren, me, and the four Monkees (Mike the tall hatted or sunglassed one, Micky the curly-haired nut, Peter the sweet blonde, and Davy the short girl-chaser) use the power of our imaginations (represented by a soft, blue light) to "dream" ourselves into any scenario or place we choose, from the Wildwood Boardwalk to the woods to the Wild West to a sinister factory in Davy's hometown of Manchester, England. We're probably going to tone down this somewhat after our next few stories, which will take us into Peter's imagination (a reprise of the famous second season Monkees episode "Fairy Tale") and Micky's (Lauren is planning something with gangsters and the beach...).

Other ideas planned for upcoming role-plays include another go-around with the infamous Mr. Zero from the second season Monkees episode "The Devil and Mr. Tork," spying on a record company that may be defrauding the public, and exploring the origins of the guys' clumsy alter egos from the first and early second seasons of the show, the Monkeemen. We'll also be writing short connecting vignette-style tales between the role-plays, and we also have plans to eventually turn the longer stories into full-blown fanfic, starting with "Dream World."

Oh, yes, and there is some romance here. In our stories, Lauren has married Micky, and I'm going in an on-again, off-again romance with the eternally stubborn Mike. ; 0 )

Want to see what we've done so far? Here's Lauren's Monkees site, where all of our current stories are posted.

The role-play and Anny's new son have occupied much of my mind, but not all of it. I know I've said this, but I REAAAAAAALLLY need to get out of the Acme. It's been driving me crazy this summer. They hired way too many people to cashier, so I haven't been getting the hours I should. The new people are a pain in the rear end. They're mostly nice, but they either come from foreign climes or larger stores where they have people to do everything for them. In the tiny Wildwood store, cashiers are expected to do more than just stand behind a register - we clean, gather baskets and return them to the front of the store, put things away, you name it. Few of the newcomers understand this. They either think they're too good to dirty their hands or are just used to larger, less self-sufficent stores. One of the girls asked me the other day how I could clean the bathrooms, since I was a cashier. I asked her how I couldn't. It's not like the bathrooms are huge, they need to be done (and done RIGHT), and I get away from the registers and have a chance to think.

And because we have so many new people, I've been getting far fewer hours than usual for this time in the summer. By the height of the summer in mid-late July, I'm usually clearing 40 hours a week easily. This summer, I think I've made 38 twice. Mostly, it's been 32-35, which is not only insulting to a cashier of my experience (I've only been working at the Acme on and off for six years), but isn't helping me pay the rent. I've tried to explain this a billion times. I live ALONE. No one is helping me pay the rent or my bills. This is my only job - I'm not a waitress or a game barker at night. I can barely handle this job sometimes.

My sister and my mom suggested a temp agency, and I may look into that. No newspaper has any interest in hiring anyone besides sales people, and I'm tired of 2,000 people a day in my face. I want normal hours that don't change in the summer, a body of co-workers that doesn't fluxuate wildly with the seasons, a building that's in GOOD shape, and a place where I don't have to face a bunch of cranky, rude idiots and snobs for four to eight hours. : 0 p

Monday, April 12, 2004

Hey Hey, They're the Monkees!

More nostaligia via my online girlfriend Lauren. Lauren's crazy about those four wacky musicians from the late 60s and sent me 3 CDs of their greatest hits...including my two favorite Monkees songs, "Daydream Believer" and "Star Collector," for my birthday. The songs renewed my interest in the wild, silly sitcom I first saw as a seven-year-old on Nickelodeon.

My sisters and I used to look forward to seeing what new adventures sweet David, silly Mickey, gentle Peter, and smart Mike would get into every week. Mike was the group leader (or fancied himself as such) and head guitarist. Mickey was the comic drummer who did impressions. Dave was the British drummer/maracca-playing hottie who tended to attract every woman within a five mile radius. Peter was the compassionate but immature second guitarist. The episodes tended to revolve around the boys trying to make it big, escape some female chasing Dave (often in a foreign or unusual place), or being conned by someone stronger or smarter than them. For all the wildness and generally weird stuff (this was the 60s, after all), the guys were just four good-natured and rather naive fellas out to have a good time, play music, and show off their talents.

It didn't matter to my sisters and I that we all knew it wasn't the Monkees playing their instruments on the screen then. We knew they were funny and colorful and we liked the music, and that was all that mattered. We all had our favorite Monkee - mine was Mickey. I've always liked men who can make me laugh.

Even now, the show comes off something like an American "Monty Python goes Beatles by Way Of The Bowery Boys" - jump cuts, animation, spoofs of everything from westerns to fairy tales to Star Trek-esque sci-fi to swashbucklers and yes, some of TV's first music videos. I may buy the DVD sets of the full two season if and when I get around to buying a DVD player. Hell, I'd get them for the swashbuckling spoofs alone.

The episodes I recall best include the one where poor Dave landed in a sword fight over some girls' honor (not surprisingly, given how many tended to chase him), the one where Mickey is mistaken for a gangster, and where the guys did their own fairy tale, with Peter as the hero and Mike as the damsel-in-distress (don't ask, it was a you-had-to-be-there thing).

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

My Firsts and Lasts

Saw this at Linda's Blog and thought I'd give it a try....

First job: Probably babysitting my siblings. First job with an actual paycheck? McDonald's, one of the worst mistakes I ever made in my entire life. Ugh. I hate the lady who owns the North Cape May MickeyD's, and I still haven't figured out to this day why I was "let go" (i.e, fired).
First screen name: starwenn, which I still use (The star is from "Star Wars," my favorite movies series. The wenn is from my favorite TV show "Remember WENN.")
First self purchased CD: I don't remember. Mom bought my copies of the "Can-Can" original cast album and "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Um...the cast album for "My Fair Lady," or maybe the soundtrack for the first movie version of "Annie?"
Vinyl Album: By the time I was old enough to be buying my own music, vinyl was on the way out. And now, all the cassettes I have, some dating back to the mid-80s, are going out, too...
First piercing/tattoo: One in each ear when I was nine, and that's it. I can't handle pain enough to get anything anywhere else.
First true love: Have I ever been in love? Maybe Josh Kingston, although I don't know if he'd agree....
First enemy: Most of the boys in elementary school.

Last big car ride: To northern Virginia for my sister's college graduation in from American University in Washington, DC.
Last kiss: From someone other than a reletive? More than a year ago.
Last library book checked out: Bethlehem Road by Anne Perry. One of the best of the Inspector Pitt/Charlotte Pitt books I've read, very evocative and thoughtful.
Last movie seen: Disney's Sleeping Beauty, which is also a first for me - the first movie anyone bought me on video : 0 ).
Last beverage drank: Skim milk.
Last food consumed: Browned Butter cake.
Last phone call: To my family. I was bored and ended up over their house to get out of Wildwood.
Last CD played: Wicked Original Broadway Cast. Wonderful when concentrating on the two leading ladies, less successful when concentrating on the politics of Oz.
Last annoyance: Trying to get around the mess in Rio Grande people around here vaguely call "Road Construction." : 0 p
Last pop drank: Um....I don't drink soda that much...the root beer I had at my parents' house on Monday night?
Last ice cream eaten: Turkey Hill's Peanut Butter Cup, also at my parents' house. I don't often buy ice cream, either. It's so expensive, even in small amounts, and I hardly need it.
Last time scolded: Mom's worried about my weight, and I have been gaining again, but I can't help it. I get hungry, and I like baking.
Last shirt worn: Light green-yellow knit with three-quarter length sleeves for St. Patrick's Day. : 0 )

I AM: afraid I'll never really fall in love.
I WANT: a decent job that gives me 40 hours a week in the winter and where I don't have to handle 500 obnoxious people a day and can actually use what I learned in college.

I HAVE: lots of stuffed animals, which are my babies. : 0 )

I WISH: someone down here needed a writer or an editor or an organized person.
I HATE: writing rain checks.
I FEAR: being declared insane...losing my independance, my income, and my home...being made fun of...being hurt...fighting....
I HEAR: Chita Rivera and the original cast of "Chicago" belting "All That Jazz" ("Wicked' just finished).
I SEARCH: for a good movie to watch during dinner to cheer me up after a hard day of work.
I WONDER: If I'll ever find someone who'll move in with me or find a place with me who isn't going back to school, can afford to move, and is ready to leave their family.
I REGRET: keeping my mouth shut at some of the bigoted comments I've heard both customers and co-workers make at the Acme recently.
I LOVE: my family and friends.
I ALWAYS: do my grocery shopping on Fridays (which also happens to be when I get my paycheck).
I AM NOT: bold or witty.
I DANCE: in front of the mirror, imitating Fred Astaire or Eleanor Powell.
I SING: often, especially in the shower, when I do dishes, and at work.
I CRY: when I'm angry, upset, or very sad. I've cried a lot lately over my financial problems.

YES or NO:
YOU KEEP A DIARY: Yes. I just wrote in my offline journal the other day, and I have this blog.
YOU LIKE TO COOK: I live alone, so I either cook or eat out every day. I don't have the money to eat out every day, so I cook. : 0 )
YOU HAVE A SECRET YOU HAVE NOT SHARED WITH ANYONE: Many, but I'm not sharing them here. They wouldn't be secret if I did! ; 0 )

DO YOU...?
HAVE A CRUSH: Do my crushes on Ben Stiller and Ewan MacGregor count? ; 0 )
WANT TO GET MARRIED: Not at the moment. I broke up with my boyfriend of three years not long before Christmas 2002, and I'm not in the hurry to get another one. Most of the guys my age in Cape May County are idiots.

THINK YOU'RE A HEALTH FREAK: See my reply to the last food I consumed. ; 0 )
EYE COLOR: Gray, like Anne Shirley's
BIRTHPLACE: Broward County Hospital, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

COLOR: Fire Engine Red
DAY: Sunday
MONTH: September
SONG(S): more than I can mention here
SEASON: autumn
DRINK: Don't drink alcholic beverages. Orange juice.

CUDDLE OR MAKE OUT: Cuddle. It's safer.
CHOCOLATE MILK, OR HOT CHOCOLATE: Neither. Crystal Lite Iced Tea and Lipton Orange Tea.
MILK, DARK OR WHITE CHOCOLATE: All of the above, in great quantaties. ; 0 )

CRIED? Yeah, but it was a good cry. I laughed so hard at one of Matt at X-Entertainment'srecent blog entries, I cried. : 0 )
BOUGHT SOMETHING? A dish pan and birthday cards from Dollar Tree, a renewal for my non-driver's ID from Department of Motor Vehicles, and a Shamrock Shake from McDonald's (in Wildwood). I couldn't resist the latter. I hate beer of any color, so I had to celebrate with some kind of green food today! ; 0 )
SAID 'i love you'?: No
TALKED TO AN EX?: He hasn't written me in a while.
MISSED AN EX?: Sigh, yes.
WRITTEN IN A JOURNAL?: Just in this blog. I only write in both every once and a while.
HAD A SERIOUS TALK?: With whom? I live alone.
HUGGED SOMEONE? Yes. My stuffed animals count. ; 0 )

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Saturday Morning Fever

I have fond memories of Saturday mornings. I the morning person was always up first, sometimes before the channels were. I remember watching the test patterns on Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel before they went 24 hours. Yeah, that's how much of a couch potato I was when I was a kid - I watched test patterns. ; 0 )

When the channels did start, I'd watch "Mousercise" on The Disney Channel or "Lassie" on Nick before switching over to the networks for one of the joys that, unfortuantly, can no longer be relished - cheap early-morning kids' programming. Our shows were "Captain Noah" (a "Captain Kangaroo" variant) on ABC and "Starstuff," "The Candy Apple News Team," and "Dr. Fad" on CBS. (I totally don't remember what was on early on NBC or if Fox ever did any early morning shows.) "Candy Apple News" was the most charming - a kind of "WKRP In Cincinatti" for kids, with puppets and humans trying to keep a struggling radio station afloat. Ironically, since I still consider it to be the best of the lot, it was the first of these shows to vanish. The news team was gone by the mid-80s.

"Starstuff" was....well, let's just say it was unique. It was another puppet/human show, only they didn't interact in this one. It had something of a plot - a boy in Philadelphia contacted a girl in space using his huge computer. The puppets' segment was a very, very weird parody of "Flash Gordon"-style space operas that always began with this odd, thumping music and orangy-pink flashing blobs on the screen and had nothing whatever to do with the kids or the compuer. The rest of the show was given over to "Sesame Street"-style short educational segments and, yes, silent "Laurel and Hardy" shorts. The boy was a big fan of Laurel and Hardy and popped in a video of the boys whenever the dialogue ran short (which, as you can imagine, it frequently did). My love of old movies began with "Starstuff" and Laurel and Hardy.

"Starstuff" will forever be my definition of "so bad it's good." Except for Ollie and Stan, it was really terrible - the puppets were just odd, the computer was years out of date, the dialogue was stiffer than a board, and the kids couldn't act. Even so, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen, and it must have had its fans, because it outlasted "Candy Apple News Team." I believe I last saw it around 1988-1989.

"Dr. Fad" was the only one of the three I remember that didn't involve puppets. The good Dr. was a hilarious, energetic Japanese-American fellow who hosted a show on fads and inventions. The fads spotlighted ranged from the Twist (performed by Chubby Checker himself, or a really, REALLY good Chubby Checker imitator) to Gumby to Slinky to Barbie. There were segments where kids created their own inventions and silly skits about inventions that supposedly didn't make it. "Dr. Fad" started in the late 80s and was still running in 1992 when we had our cable turned off.

My sisters rarely joined me for the early morning stuff. I occasionally got Rose up for "Starstuff" and "Dr. Fad," but the girls and my parents usually slept until 8, when it was time for the main attractions. CBS was our most-watched station - Saturday morning allumni from Columbia Broadcasting include "TMNT," "Muppet Babies," "Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures," "Galaxy High School," "CBS Storybreak," "Teen Wolf," "Pee Wee's Playhouse," "Garfield and Friends," "Dungeons and Dragons," "Back To the Future," "Super Friends," "The Adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy," "The Wuzzles," "Pac Man," and a short-lived favorite of Rose's, "Wildfire."

NBC was our second most watched Saturday station with "The Smurfs," "Alvin and the Chipmunks," "The Snorks," "Kidd Video" (which also ran on CBS for a time), "The Amazing Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk," "Punky Brewster," and later "Captain N: The Game Master."

ABC ran a distant third with "The Real Ghostbusters," "A Pup Named Scooby Doo" (and many other Scooby Doo variants, including re-runs), "Beetlejuice" (a favorite of Anny's - she also loved the movie) and various incarnations of "The Bugs Bunny Show."

And then, we had Nick, who ran oddball foreign cartoons like "The Mysterious Cities of Gold" and "Arcadia of My Youth," syndicated cartoons like "Inspector Gadget," "Loony Tunes" in prime-time, and the three-some-hour "Pinwheel." There was also The Disney Channel, which specialized in it's delightful puppet kid revues "Welcome to Pooh Corner" and "Dumbo's Circus," along with one of the earliest "kids do wild stunts" game shows, "Contraption," and the live-action Canadian action programs "The Edison Twins" and "Danger Bay."

When Rose and I were really young, Mom and Dad let us sleep together on the couch bed in the living room on Friday nights, so we'd have the TV all to ourselves in the morning. We'd make a "tent" with the couch pillows while Mom made breakfast. Later, we'd let our folks sleep in and grab a bowl of cereal or toast. I don't remember there being that much arguing, odd as it may seem. I was usually the last one left before Mom would tell me to go out and play, or go in my room and play if the weather was bad, or let Dad have the TV if he was home.