Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Do you remember your dreams? I don't really. I wake up sometimes thinking, "Hey! That would make an awesome book!" By the time I get to a place where I can record it, it's gone. I don't even know if it's a good dream or a bad dream at this point.

I do have three recurring dreams that I remember. None of them are pleasant - I'd rather not remember these either. I've even figured out why I have two of them all though I'm still speculating on the cause of the third.

The first is is kind of bizarre - I dream I've lost all of my teeth. I usually have this dream after I've said something I really regret, whether I've spilled a secret or said something someone else was hurt by. I guess this is my mind's way of telling me to be more careful about what I say.

The second is that a tornado is coming. I can hear the wind blowing. I usually wake up and find that the mask for my sleeping machine has gotten knocked out of place and I'm really hearing the air rushing out.

The third dream is definitely a nightmare. For some reason, my transcripts from high school have been audited and it's been discovered that I didn't really have enough credits to graduate from high school so I have to retake my senior year. And it has to be at the school, not by correspondence. I haven't figured out what the significance of this is. I can tell you that it completely freaks me out, even more than losing all of my teeth. High school was not a particularly happy time for me; I really don't want to go back there if I can avoid it.

What about you? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares? What do you think causes them?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Friday Night Lights

Yay! Friday Night Lights returns to NBC for a fourth season on Friday, May 7. It's not just a show about football, it's about so much more than that - small town life, the everyday struggles of average people, family, race and class issues, etc., all set against the backdrop of high school football in Dillon, Texas. It also has one of the most realistic portrayals of marriage that I've ever seen on television.

You don't have to like football to like this show - I sure don't. And it's funny how these characters grow on you - in the pilot I couldn't stand Tim Riggins. He was drunk, obnoxious and a complete jerk. Now he's one of my favorites.

You can expect to laugh and cry in every episode. It's that well written and acted. The fact that Kyle Chandler (Coach Eric Taylor), Connie Britton (Tami "Mrs. Coach" Taylor) and Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen) haven't been nominated for more awards continually amazes me. Taylor Kitsch does a fantastic job as bad boy Tim Riggins as does Jesse Plemmons as Landry Clark and Adrianne Palicki as Tyra Colette.

If you haven't given Friday Night Lights a try, you should. You'll be glad you did. You've got time to catch up before the season premiere! Seasons 1-3 are available on dvd or streaming on netflix.

Monday, March 29, 2010


This is such a hot button topic right now that I've been seriously debating about whether or not it is a good idea to write about it.

I am not going to debate whether Mr. Obama's plan is right or wrong, good or bad. I am not going to claim that socialized medicine will or will not work in the U.S.

What I would like to say is this: It is completely ridiculous that basic medical care is not available at a reasonable rate to every American. Do we or do we not live in one of the richest, most powerful countries in the world?

About 11 years ago, I had a kidney stone. I didn't have insurance at the time - I'd just started a job and wasn't covered on their plan yet. (I was only making $6.50/hr, so it wasn't like I could afford a plan on my own.) I wasn't eligible to be on my parents' plan any longer because I wasn't in school any more. My parents took me to the emergency room, they x-rayed my abdomen to ensure that I did, in fact, have a kidney stone, the doctor wrote me a prescription for pain pills and for nausea and told me to go home and wait it out because I wasn't eligible for the standard treatment since I didn't have insurance. That's right. Wait out a freakin' kidney stone. So I spent the next several days drugged out of my mind while I waited for the stone to pass. It did and I went back to work.

In January of 2000, I was starting a new job with Bell South. I didn't make it through the first week - I kept falling asleep during training. I'd been noticing for a while that if I sat down, I fell asleep - and it was something I couldn't control. I tried coke, coffee, tea, no-doz, you name it. My parents were completely freaked out, it was very scary. I couldn't even drive.

Mom took me to a diagnostic clinic in Houston where they diagnosed me with sleep apnea and daytime drowsiness syndrome after I had an overnight sleep study. I was told that I have to sleep with a machine that keeps me breathing while I sleep. I also got a prescription for a drug called Provigil that runs $250/month if you don't have insurance. My parents paid cash for everything since I didn't have insurance. I don't know what the final price tag was, but it must have been steep. (An amusing sidebar - in the waiting room I kept falling asleep and then I'd wake myself up with a loud snore. I'd apologize, "I'm So Sorry!" to everyone in the waiting room and fall right back to sleep.) If my parents hadn't been willing to pay, would I still be sleeping in a chair and unemployed/unemployable?

What I took away from these experiences was the notion that there is something deeply flawed with the healthcare system in America. And you know what the crazy thing is? Even if you have insurance, you may still be denied the best treatment if it isn't covered by your plan.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Love/Hate Relationship with TV

I love television - it's like you get to peek into a variety of individual, creative worlds. The best television makes you laugh, cry, think, dream. I often get caught up in my favorite shows and obsess endlessly over them until the next episode is on.

I hate television - I get completely caught up in a new story and wham! It's cancelled. Argh! Unfortunately, my favorite shows often get cancelled before their time because of low ratings: Wonderfalls, Veronica Mars, Deadwood, Life, Dollhouse, to name a few. (There are actually many more on this list.) Even my favorites that stay on air are constantly on the bubble of being cancelled (Chuck, Friday Night Lights, etc.). Supernatural has stayed on the air so long only because it's on the CW.

Then there are the other shows that I watch that are entertaining in the moment but not something I obsess over - 24, House, Castle, Royal Pains, Leverage. I enjoy these shows but if I miss a week I don't have to run immediately to Hulu to make it up. For the most part, though, these shows are successful and don't really rely on my viewership.

Lately I've been enjoying the Renaissance of the sitcom: Modern Family, Community, Cougar Town, are all shows I look forward to. It's a nice change up from the 100 versions of Law & Order or CSI or the latest medical drama.

DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON "REALITY" TV. I refuse to participate in the dumbing down of America and the destruction of an entire industry, all in the pursuit of saving money.

What about you? Have any shows you obsess over? Mourn any shows cancelled too soon? Any shows you despise?

The Future

I like working at the paper. The family that owns the paper treats us very well. People don't look down their noses at me when they find out where I work - and sometimes they have in the past with different employers. (I find it amusing that people automatically assume I'm a reporter when they find out where I work.) My editor is really good about passing along praise which makes it so much easier to deal with the minor aggravations present in any work place.

BUT. The big but. It's a newspaper. And like almost every other newspaper in North America, it is struggling. Fifty people were laid off last spring; earlier this week, we had another, much smaller, lay-off. I've survived both rounds but will I survive the inevitable next round? Do I stick it out? Do I find another job? At the moment, I'm hanging in there.

What would you do in this situation? In this economy, a job is a job - and I'm grateful for mine. However, the future is so uncertain. Should I act preemptively and find another? Or should I keep my fingers crossed that there is a future for me with a company that is fighting for its very survival?

Friday, March 26, 2010


I have an unexplainable fondness for zombie movies. It's peculiar really - what is the appeal behind flesh-eating, re-animated corpses? Zombies are not attractive and they have a tendency to try and eat you.

Last night's episode of Supernatural dealt with zombies. It was an interesting treatment - the zombies were completely lucid and returned to their old lives for a while. (The "I'm a taxpayer!" line completely cracked me up.) It was only after several days that they went nuts and started trying to eat people.

I hear there's even a Nazi zombie movie out now called Dead Snow. I haven't watched it yet, but it is on my netflix list.

Shaun of the Dead is my favorite zombie movie - such a funny, self-aware parody. How about you? got a favorite zombie or horror movie?

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Welcome to the random ruminations of the voice that answers your call. That's right, I've spent most of my adult life answering phone calls for a living - order taking, message taking, directing calls, assisting customers, trouble shooting, setting up long distance. You name it, I've done it. (Except for phone sex - one does have to draw the line somewhere.) And you know what, I hate talking on the phone. A shame then, that it does happen to be a talent of mine.

For a while I worked for a company that took orders for radio infomercials for "natural remedies." You would not believe what people would call in and buy: Wild Oregano Kits, magnetic mattress pads, multi-vitamins, all after hearing someone talk about it on the radio for half an hour. And they'd pay - the average ticket was right at $90. It's been 10 years and I can still recite portions of the scripting. What, you ask, is wild oregano good for? It's supposed to cure everything from sinus infections to toe nail fungus. EW. And double EW when people try to describe their ailments.

Later I worked as the relief switchboard operator at Terrebonne General in Houma. I was working the graveyard shift when the psych ward called to have me alert security that one of the patients had escaped. Upon asking for a description, I was provided with "He's short, dark haired and wearing a Harley Davidson t-shirt." You must understand - that describes at least half of the men in Terrebonne Parish at any given time. Upon further prompting for a description, the ward clerk replies, "Well, he is naked from the waist down." I couldn't decide if I need to laugh or cry. Doesn't it make sense that that is how you would start your description?

For the past three years, I've been writing obituaries at the local paper. A large part of my daily duties include answering the phone and assisting the public in placing an obituary. I try to make allowances for people - I know that it is a really hard time in their life - but good grief! They drive me up the wall. Let me offer you some tips on placing an obituary: 1) Double and triple check your information - make sure it is all correct BEFORE submission. 2) Have everyone who might want to have some input read it before you send it in. Someone will want to make an addition or a change. 3) It COSTS to place an obituary. Do not be shocked when a price is quoted to you. 4) The obituary clerk cannot make decisions about who to include for you. 5) Choose a decent picture. If you don't have one, it is better for the obit to run sans picture than with a crappy one.

Enough about all of that. For now, anyway. Future installments will cover my thoughts about all kinds of things - pop culture, television, politics, movies, work, etc. I may even wax nostalgic about other call center happenings. ;)