Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just. Shut. Up. (Part I)

Let’s face it. You take one look at the title above, and you figure the Catholic Writer Chick is probably hacked off about…something. Well, yes and no. :-) Fact is, something did fry my bacon this week, but that issue will be dealt with in another post. This, however, is simply a quick and dirty complaint. Or maybe…shall we say…a suggestion? Please… PleasepleasePLEASE… If you are putting together a blog, website, or other online station where I’m likely to land and stay awhile to read, please resist the urge to use the “playlist” feature to piggyback music onto the reading experience. PLEASE. I don’t mean to sound like a curmudgeon here. Heck, I’m a musician. You’d think I’d love to sample the music that other bloggers enjoy, and listen while I read...right? Well, actually, not so much. Here’s why. The first, and most obvious, reason is that my tastes in music and yours are probably not the same. In some cases, I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to the music I find on blogs. So the blog itself—the writing—is often compelling, witty, entertaining, or otherwise extremely enjoyable…but I can’t enjoy it because in my face is some rattly noise that sets my teeth on edge. This does not encourage me to stay and page through your blog; it encourages me to get away, and fast. To be blunt, creating a setting that makes people want to escape…is rather counterproductive to the idea of blogging in the first place. The second reason—one more specific to me—is that unlike many writer/readers, apparently, I am not wired to be able to write or read with music playing in the background, especially very active music. Even music I enjoy—actually, even more so, with music I enjoy—I simply cannot do those two things at once. I can edit with music in the background, as long as it’s fairly quiet and fairly subtle: think classical here, or the most subdued Celtic folk. But trying to create something? Or trying to read things I’ve never read before? Let’s put it this way. My hearing is extremely sensitive, to the point where if there’s music playing around me, no matter how quietly, my brain gravitates to it like a cat to canned tuna. I have bought not one, but two, “white noise” machines in the past several years, just for the purpose of blocking out external sounds while I’m trying to concentrate. They work, I relax, and the brain stays clear. But I can’t plug in my white noise machine when I’m surfing the Net…especially not when your music completely takes me by surprise. No doubt some of you are muttering, “Well, you dolt, just mute the stuff.” Easier said than done; in every blogging/playlist platform, the ways to do this can vary slightly. So making your readers hunt for which link is the “magic key” is, to say the least, inconveniencing them. Some of you add insult to injury in this matter as well: one particular blogger (who shall remain nameless) didn’t help matters by tossing off a remark about “those of you who are too stupid to figure out how to turn off the sound.” Lemme get this straight, then; not only am I subjected to your taste in music just by clicking on your link—but should I find it tricky to escape having this stuff shoved at me, then I’m stupid, too? Yeah, that makes me want to come back! The late, great Uncle Bobby at WGN Radio used to say, “It’s easier to stay out than to get out.” He was referring to trouble, of course—in all its varied forms. But in this case, that “proverb” seems to apply equally well. Want to avoid irritating your readers, inconveniencing them, or giving them an excuse not to read your blog? Simple. Keep it simple, keep it straightforward…and keep it quiet. Many, many, many of us will thank you for it. Thoughts? Janny

Monday, July 21, 2008

What’s for Dinner? The menu at Glenfarg over the past week:
  • Chuck Wagon Chow...if you don't know what this is, I'll post the recipe. :-)
  • What my dad used to call "Concoction" and what I call "College Student Spaghetti": the most unbelievably simple recipe on God's green earth. It's 1 medium onion, chopped and sauteed in butter until transparent; one 6-oz. can of tomato paste; and cooked, drained spaghetti. Combine, salt to taste, and watch it disappear! Perfect for Fridays in Lent. :-)
  • Pork steak simmered with garlic, chopped onion, fresh sage, and frozen french cut green beans. In the last three minutes, add 1 package of Oriental flavor Ramen noodles--break up the noodles, add a bit of water, and sprinkle the seasoning from the packet overall. Works with chicken just as well!
  • And, of course, the usual grilled delights: yesterday we had thin, lean beef steak, cheddar dogs, and turkey burgers with all the trimmings, plus potatoes, garlic, and broccoli roasted in foil on the coals. Can it get any better than that?

As for the rest of the weekend, it was spent the way weekends should be spent: mostly, working in the yard, interspersed with sessions of watching baseball in lovely air conditioning. This was, of course, after we puttered on Saturday chasing dust bunnies...

Hey, it's not a frantic life, but it's mine. :-)

Tonight? We putter in office, probably chasing some more dust; we work on writing tasks; and we watch THE CLOSER.

And then it'll be Tuesday!

Perking along,

Janny

When in Doubt, Reboot!

cat more cat pictures I will write more as soon as I clear the Cat Jam. Really. Janny

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Monday, July 07, 2008

What’s For Dinner? Leftover Stuffed Green Peppers...featuring ground turkey, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, and homemade bread crumb topping. Yum and a half! (This is, of course, pending what happens now that Daughter is back at home after being out and about for the 4th of July weekend. There may be punting if I get home and what was left over...isn't anymore!) For dessert: chocolate chip/chunk and pecan bar cookies. Double yum! If I'm really, really good, I'll eat fewer of them and more of the fresh fruit I bought... More to come in a bit! Janny

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Of All Stars, Pot Roast, and...To Be Continued

You Need to Do This! Well, okay, let’s put it this way: if you want to reward some truly outstanding baseball performances this year, go to the All-Star voting site, click in on the NL ballot, and vote for Cubs. Specifically, vote for Kosuke Fukodome, Geovany Soto, Alfonso Soriano, Mark deRosa, Ryan Theriot, and Derrek Lee “Fuk” deserves to start the All-Star Game if anyone does; Soto more than likely will, barring a complete breakdown in the voting; and I truly believe Derrek Lee deserves way more respect than he gets. Theriot and DeRosa would be really nice to have on the squad as well, and Soriano…goes without saying. But voting ends at midnight TONIGHT…so do it while you have the chance! (This diehard Cubs fan will thank you.) What’s For Dinner? Pot Roast, slow-cooker style. One beef roast (a couple of pounds), one-half of a medium sized sweet onion (rough chopped), a half-pound of mini carrots, a half-cup or so of mixed frozen pepper and onion mix, a can of chopped tomatoes, one stalk (about 5 leaves) of fresh sage, two bay leaves, kosher salt, lemon pepper, and about a quart or so of water to simmer it all in. It’s on LOW at the house now. Should be ready for my lucky husband’s lunch today as well as stay warm for dinner for me. Y’all come over! If I need to stretch it, I’ll bake a couple of potatoes to ladle it over. :-) And yes, I do have something else to write about today as well...to follow shortly! In the meantime, go do your baseball civic duty! Janny

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Writer Chick Cooks...

What’s for Dinner? Pasta! More than likely, aforementioned cheese ravioli with a little garlic-and-tomato sauce, a bunch of spinach (or two), and lots of parmesan cheese... (So how many guests should I plan on? ) More in a bit, Janny