WHY THIS BLOG?

I AM PARCA'S CHOSEN:
Parca is the Roman Goddess of Childbirth and Destiny and after you get to know me, you will see why I believe she has, without doubt, made me her Poster Child. I deal with the odd serious issue but for the most part, my posts are just some cheeky fun, reviews of favorite shows, and true stories that will make you laugh out loud (or run screaming...I don't know you well enough to predict your behavior). You'll find satire with the odd parody tossed in....and most definitely a generous helping of hyperbole, with a dollop of facetiousness.

I am Canadian so expect a bit of politeness too. Sorry.

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1) MY eBOOKS CAN BE FOUND ON AMAZON HERE:
DENISE ON AMAZON
2) MY eBook Trailers are on YOUTUBE
3) My website:denisesevierfries.com
4) My Photo-Art Youtube Trailer is here too.

5) My old monthly column: The Lighter Side of Self Publishing
6) Outlander Series Facebook forum: the popular book/tv series group I am admin on, is The BEST and BIGGEST with over 80,000+ members! Come join us! *click on bold red words

Monday, February 14, 2011

HEADLINE HUNTER

We don’t have TV.

We have TV’s...but we don’t watch TV. Subtle but important difference. We got rid of all cable, satellite and local television 2 years ago in an attempt to see if we could survive without them.

We can.

Commercial infested television that grates your teeth after replaying the same LSD-inspired commercial ten times in an hour, and paying for 300 channels we didn’t want, need or use, finally drove us over the edge and we decided to experiment with quitting TV cold turkey. 

Easy Weezy Lemon Squeezy.

Between our 700+ books and 1500+ movies, we are not want for entertainment, but I still need a daily fix of CNN News, CBC News and The Daily Show, with a smattering of Hot in Cleveland. This, and a lot more, I easily find on-line. All COMMERCIAL FREE!

Another bonus to keeping in touch with the world on my computer is that I save a ton of cash denying Shaw and Bell from entering our living room. And I get a hell of a lot more info reading my ‘web-newspaper’ with my morning coffee than I ever did watching long, drawn out broadcasts on television. At the click of a key, I get a wide variety of news from around the world with my Froot Loops, customized to my interests. (Peter gets his news from Germany with his Schnitzel und Bratwurst)

One channel cannot possibly cover the diverse news coverage I get in one morning, and never as fast. For example, here is one morning of REAL headlines (honest!)... and believe me, Froot Loops was a most appropriate cereal that day:

Man has ‘mini’ tattooed on penis to win car
Andreas Muller, 39, decided to have the rather painful tattoo applied after a radio station ran a competition to win a £20,000 Mini Cooper. Radio listeners were then treated to Muller’s cries of agony while the unique piece of branding was created.



A villager in Malaysia has his wife to thank after she charged a tiger that had pounced on him in the forest. Han Besou, 55, who was several feet away, heard the screams of her husband and charged the tiger with a large soup spoon, bopping it on the head, a local paper reported. The animal fled.

A 44-year-old man smashed the emergency glass on a fire alarm at Kaiserslautern train station when after stepping off, he realized his beloved beer was still on-board and leaving without him. As well as the shame of realizing his stupidity, the unnamed man was also left with an injured hand where he smashed the glass. 

Ingesting Poo Be Good for You?
Recently, the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology published research suggesting that, in certain cases, patients suffering from the nasty ‘clostridium difficile’ bug may need fecal transplants or "transpoosions." Although antibiotics are now the first mode of attack, a growing number of doctors believe that, in some cases, injecting excrement either by enema or through a gastric tube inserted in the nose is more effective.

Witches to face prison for false predictions
Romanian witches and fortunetellers are cursing a new bill that threatens fines or even prison time if their predictions don't come true. Superstition is a serious matter in the land of Dracula, and officials have turned to witches to help the recession-hit country collect more money and crack down on tax evasion. Witches argue they shouldn't be blamed for the failure of their tools.

Russia's parasailing donkey dies
Anapka, the Russian donkey whose brays of terror while parasailing won her worldwide sympathy has died. She had been sent up into the sky over a southern Russian beach in a promotional stunt, and the YouTube video of her trip made headlines around the world.

Notorious 84-year-old Hungarian cat burglar 'Flying Gizi' caught again by police
The 84-year-old woman, known as "Flying Gizi," whose criminal record goes back to the 1950s, is again in custody for suspected theft, police said Tuesday. Gizella Bodnar, who has been convicted of over 20 crimes and has spent nearly 18 years in prison, got her nickname because she enjoyed taking domestic commercial flights after successful break-ins. She also published an autobiography in 2007 claiming that she became a kleptomaniac as the result of a youthful bout with meningitis.


Confession app blessed by Catholic bishop
An iPhone and iPad app that helps Roman Catholics seek forgiveness for their sins has been sanctioned by the Catholic Church. The app walks people through confession step by step and it reminds us when their last confessions were and keeps track of sins they have previously confessed. However, absolution or release from the sin can still only come from a priest.


Granny Fights Off 6 Robbers With Her Purse
Ann Timson, a 75-year-old woman, armed with only her handbag, ran across the street to attempt stopping a daylight robbery. Six robbers, armed with sledgehammers, were smashing a jewelry store window in Northampton, England when Ann started hitting them with her purse, breaking up the robbery and making them run away without any jewels. Only after they were running away, did bystanders come to help.
 
So you see, in one day, I garnered a wealth of knowledge that can only aid me in living a richer, better life. I learned...

1) The next time somebody tells you to “Go eat a shit sandwich!” they may only be concerned for your health.

2) Meningitis can fry the section of ones brain that holds ones moral values, and old women can grow balls that clang.

3) Your private, innermost personal gut-wrenching sins that are a soul-searching plea to God and His Eternal Mercy, can now be hacked.

4) Donkeys can fly, but shouldn’t. And advertisers can be real asses.

5) Germans like their beer. A lot.

6)  Instead of burning them at the stake, witches can now be sued. (Voodoo dolls with suits and briefcases are flying off the Wal-Mart shelves in Romania as are pins, needles and matchsticks.)

7)  Anyone tattooing the word mini on their penis must be either very secure in their masculinity or hung like a horse.

8) All one really needs while on safari is a large soup spoon for wild carnivores and perhaps a feather-duster for rampaging elephants.

But there was one main lesson I learned that day:  Flying Gizi got published; now I know what to do.

I can hardly wait till tomorrow...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

ALI AND JIAN: AN IDENTITY CRISIS (mine. not theirs)

There is nothing as pathetic as a struggling writer who has been tossed a crumb of recognition from a celebrity.

Point in case: me.

Yesterday, following the excellent Canada Reads 10th Anniversary ‘Essential Book of the Decade’ Contest on CBC Radio (http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadareads/), the listeners/viewers were asked to pose questions to any panel member where it might be chosen to be used live, on-air. I posted my question using my CBC username ‘souls5’ and popped out to take our 11 year old to school. I knew I could watch the rest of the show on-line later, after I’d rid myself of all hangers-on and riff raff.

Imagine my heart-skipping thrill when Jian Ghomeshi, brilliant CBC radio personality and host, chose MY question to be posed to newly minted winner Ali Velshi (equally brilliant CNN journalist and broadcaster), who championed the winning book The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis. The book I really wanted to win and LOVED. (I have talked to Terry on the phone, actually...LONG story, great guy!)

This was my Pulitzer Prize winning question:
Because The Best Laid Plans is an entertaining cross between 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington' and 'Seabiscuit', this apolitical 50 year old Canadian inadvertently learned more about the inner-workings of government than I learned from anywhere else. Do you agree that this should be required reading for all Gr. 12 students?

The Seabicuit line made them laugh. I knew it would, given half the chance. Ali laughed, Jian laughed and the studio audience laughed...and I even heard Lorne Cardinal chuckle. Comedy Gold for a lightweight author like me. These were the bigwigs being entertained by ME! On air and LIVE! Thousands of people in Canada and hundreds from around the world were listening to my words! All 52 of them. They were my captive audience, if only for a millisecond.

It was like being published, in a surreal, paperless, inkless kind of way.

How excited was I? Well, I replayed the sequence dealing with my question/answer (at the 25:00 minute mark on the Finale Q&A, should you be so inclined to view it on the clearer, original version) around 100 times...completely unable to go on with the show. I was mesmerized. Bewitched. Entranced. I was toking on a celebrity roach and higher than a kite. I video taped the segment and posted in my Face Book and tagged half of Canada. It is barely audible but did I care? Of course not. It was tangible! Sort of.

video


Replay, Replay. Replay.

I watched it small screen, full screen, with glasses on, glasses off, with my hubby, with my daughter, lights on, lights off, sitting close to the screen, standing a few feet back and with Harvey The Imaginary Rabbit (on loan from Jimmy Stewart) and I know every second of it by heart. Every movement made by every person and every sound. It took me a full 20 minutes to finally watch the rest of the show. But I came back to it again and again once it was over until I eventually got a headache and crawled into bed, only to have a fitful sleep plagued with giant winged-books being flown by bald-headed librarians all screaming for my autograph.

Repercussions? Well, my eyes are permanently crossed and my replay finger is blood-crusted, in a splint and needs surgery.

AND...consider this atrocity:  They all knew it was a ‘great on-line question’ (quote Jian!) coming from...who? souls5. My big moment, my 1.15 minutes of fame and they didn’t even know my real name. Didn’t even know I was female. Or human. Just souls5. Yep...make sure nobody knows who you are Denise. Hide your identity. Live in a cloak of secrecy and anonymity. THAT is the way to get noticed and published! Well done!

Did you notice when Jian said my username, there was an audible giggle from the audience? I think they assumed it was hastily crafted in reference to the 5 panelists (each with their favorite book) who had been vying for the win. They didn’t know the name honored my five children and was created years ago. *sigh*

Alas! So is the fleeting, flickering, fickle, flame of fame oft times dashed in infancy.

But I wasn’t dead in the water yet. In a manic attempt to stretch the high just a bit longer, I hurriedly went on Face Book and commented on Ali, Jian and Terry’s sites (and made sure to change my profile pic to one that was flattering, conspicuous and 20 years younger) and introduced myself. I wasn’t going down without a fight for at least a smidgen of true recognition. And you know what? Ali sent me a Face Book 'friend' request. Yea...that's right...uh huh. Just me a 20 thousand others. I can see you are impressed.

And that, my friends, is the all-time winner for the most pitiable foray into the world of celebrity and literature, one is ever likely to witness. If I ever start a rock band, I'll call it 'Seeking Validation'.

But don’t worry. If I ever get my book published, I think I’ll handle it just fine...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

THE ART OF FART

It was inevitable. One cannot have a BLOG and children and not cover the topic of flatulence...more commonly know as the fart.

Such a silly word really. And if you look it up on dictionary.com you can hear how to pronounce it properly!
Admittedly, I found it hilarious, in a very juvenile sort of way, to look up words like fart, shit, fuck and asshole (and even the C word!) and hear a woman’s voice say them out loud in such a dignified, librarian-ish tone. I am thoroughly ashamed of myself and only mention it so you can try it yourself and feel the same staggering shame. giggle

Not to beleaguer the point, but the word itself has been around for a long time and has been used by highly respected authors for centuries. For example, here is an excerpt from a well-known tome of English literature, The Canterbury Tales by famous British poet Geoffrey Chaucer (1340–1400). Taken from The Miller’s Tale:

This Nicholas anoon leet flee a fart
As greet as it hadde been a thonder-dent

Is that not brilliant? Nicholas let out a fart as great as a crack of thunder. Yes, it sounds better his way, but please, isn't it a hoot that they spoke about toots in such a fashion? Hoot and toot...maybe I should try poetry too? giggle2

In my family, as in most I would hazard to guess, farting was tolerated as a natural body function and ignored if possible between family members. For adults, it was chiefly a source of embarrassment, especially in mixed or new company. However, for children (and some eternally infantile grown-ups) farting is an endless source of entertainment.

I once had a boyfriend who used to lift his leg up like a dog about to water a hydrant, every time he farted. Charming as this was, I dumped him. I figured if he did this while dating, what would he do once married? Another boyfriend I had never allowed a LAP (Loud and Proud) one rip, but specialized in SAD (Silent and Deadly) ones that snuck up on you like an invisible hand and choked you until your eyes watered. Innocently, he would never say a word or make eye contact, like I would think a waft of putrescence blew in from some mysterious source and he was free and clear! He put the gust in the word disgusting. It was a short romance.

But the piece de resistance was a serious relationship I once had with a man who used to let go a violent, window-rattling mass of gas so big that his ass could have been marketed as a natural resource. Worse still, it only occurred immediately after sex. Needless to say, it was a inclination that suddenly started well into the relationship, not at the beginning of it. But perhaps I was being ungrateful. Maybe it was his way of paying me a compliment, like burping is considered a compliment to a Chef in some countries. The louder the burp, the bigger the compliment. If so, then all I can say is “DAMN I’m good in bed!”

When my children reached a certain age, they knew it was uncouth to fart indiscriminately around the house without consideration of others, but let’s just say that I was outnumbered and gave up making it a big issue. 

But when I re-married, and Peter moved into the house, things changed. A decent, gentlemanly-like man with class and style, he set out very few rules for the kids to follow under his roof, but there was one in particular he was adamant about: no passing gas within range of others and especially not at the table during meals. One could easily go to the bathroom or leave the room for this necessity and save everyone some unpleasantness. It was a matter of basic manners that Peter grew up with in Germany and with 8 children in his family, it was a politeness that was strictly and dutifully obeyed. I heartily agreed with this rule and we set out to teach the children proper etiquette.

It wasn’t long before the kids were put to the test. One night during supper, I looked across the table to see my son’s face look up with a start, like a deer caught in the headlights, and jumping up quickly, he began to run to the bathroom. But before he took two steps, he lost control and a blast of pent up gas exploded and rattled on like a machine-gun until he shut the bathroom door down the hallway. We killed ourselves laughing. Even Peter, who had his elbows on the table, head in hands, had to smile. Then we heard a meek ‘Sorry Papa!” from the bathroom and we broke out in fits of laughter. giggle3

This, of course, happened again a few days later with our other son and it became clear that only the young males in our clan needed time to hone the skills necessary to keep from befouling our air.

On one solemn occasion, however, the boy’s inability to master the Art of Fart paid off. And considering the circumstances, I didn’t even chastise them, save for a look of feigned disappointment. We were flying to Germany and with four young kids in tow (including our one year old), the 9 hour flight was an exhausting endeavor. Peter went through German Customs quickly with baby Katharina (who is a German citizen as well as Canadian) but we foreigners had to wait in an endless line. When we finally had our turn at Customs, we gathered around the partially enclosed booth that held the stern looking agent and began answering a bunch of questions about our intended visit. Maddeningly, he seemed bent on giving us the long, methodical, drawn-out version of entry protocol until one of the boys (who has never fessed up to this day) let loose a SAD fart and it slowly made its way up into the booth.

Needless to say, with a look of total revulsion, our passports were stamped and returned faster than you can say ‘sauerkraut und schnitzel’. giggle4

Our girls seemed to catch on to this rule quicker and even our youngest knew the lay of the land. Once, when she was about 5 years old, we went out with good friends, a Chinese couple, to an authentic Chinese restaurant where they said they would have to order for us. When the servers came to our table, Katharina asked in a loud, clear voice, “Excuse me...could you tell me where the Farting Room is?”. Luckily, they didn’t know any English (so I choose to believe) and just smiled quizzically. She’d never used this term before and we were just as dumbfounded as our friends, who thought it prudent to suddenly not understand English as well.

We made it clear that she need only ask for the bathroom in the future, but I confess that I was tempted to train her in Selective SAD Wind Breaking, so we could pass through Customs quickly on our next trip.

But then again, she might not be allowed on-board like all other restricted combustibles...