The Big 5 – “Where” do you eat? – Week 2

green apples

an apple a day

It’s been years since we had to pack a lunch for ourselves or, for that matter, walk further than a hundred feet to find something to snack on midday seeing we are “lucky” enough to live and work out of the same premises. We do, however, keep an eye on what the Ghost and Miss Z throw in their backpacks to sustain themselves through their busy schedules. Their food of choice these days tends towards the portable, bite-sized, not too smelly and unobtrusive.

The rigours of back-to-back seminars means that some days our monsters have to actually eat in their classrooms. Just as walking down the street with a coffee or bottle of water in hand wasn’t a common occurrence thirty years ago, neither was noshing down on a fragrant smoked-meat in a “State of the Media” symposium. Times change. Many of the unwritten rules of public comportment that we took for granted are long gone and we either go with the flow or run the risk of becoming stale-dated like that mystery meat sandwich from the vending machine.

Meal-time, under the best of circumstances, is no small effort and the Big 5 Challenge is curious about “Where do you eat?” – in bed or on the sofa, in front of the tv or in a cafeteria, on the road or in the air, alone or in a crowd, way too fast or without a care …

We would love to know where you chow down.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this challenge can be found here: Need more info, want to browse past themes or get the badge for your blog? See HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Rant – Week 2

punk rock is a joke
it’s really just baroque

We just don’t have it in us today to go into any long tirades about this or that. The winter winds have whipped their way into our neighbourhood to let us know that it won’t be long before the ground is completely covered in the great white stuff, so we are taking today to do a little catch-up before getting the shovel out.

A little bit of creative surfing brought us to the video above and, being both a music lover and always up for a good yuk, it was deemed a perfect fit for today’s challenge.  Looks like we’ll be spending some of the upcoming duller winter days snorting and guffawing over RobPRocks Youtube playlist…

This fortnight’s topic has its silly side and like any good declaration gets its message across in a way that can’t be ignored.  “How does a rant make itself felt for you?” – loud and proud, scrawled or bawled, snide or snotty, on the wall, in the post or in the news, blogged or flogged – We would love to see your vision…

Enjoy.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Rant

red graffiti tell me something new

Back in the day we spent many an hour volunteering in our local high school.  Making our presence felt through pallets of bake-sale cupcakes not being enough, we were commandeered one weekend for the thankless, long overdue work of painting smelly lockers and the girl’s washroom an uninspiring shade of institutional grey. One would have thought that giving the cubicles a good coat of something cheery might deter the resident taggers but apparently that wasn’t a consideration.

Two weeks after we had gotten the last bits of battleship acrylic out of our hair we paid a visit to that same ladies’ room and weren’t in the least surprised to find that the clean surface we had laid down was a huge success. It was now a huge canvas beckoning sharpie-wielding pre-teens, angst-ridden Sec 3s and the last no-holds barred bitching of that year’s anxious graduates. It made for interesting reading.

Some things never change. Here was the litany of awful, growing up and growing out of dramas and disturbances, the loves and hates and harangues that went with finding a place in that microcosm of society so many called the prison of high school. It had found its voice on the wall of a stall and the message was clear – all anybody wanted was to be seen and heard.

Getting older doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, as our perception of situations becomes clouded by too many variables, we tend to overthink things or completely disregard what might be staring us in the face. Communication is, at best, fraught with assumptions, alternate meanings and hidden agendas. Sometimes, no matter how plain or carefully chosen our language is, its target just does not get the point. That’s when we want to scream at the top of our lungs from the rooftops.

“How does a rant make itself felt for you?” – loud and proud, scrawled or bawled, snide or snotty, on the wall, in the post or in the news, blogged or flogged – We would love to see your vision…

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Please, don’t just link to an old post… challenge yourself.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 14 days (there will be a reminder post at the 7 day mark) after which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge page
  5. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

The Big 5 – “What” do you do? – Week 2

mason jars

nuts

Sometimes we get so busy that we just don’t want to do it anymore.  There are days when we’ve beaten a concept to within an inch of its message and still can’t manage to get that resounding pop of satisfaction and those are the hours when we’d really rather be doing something else. Like rearranging closets, cleaning the garage or taking every dry good out of its awful plastic packaging and putting it into lovely, aesthetically pleasing and ecologically conscious mason jars. If we are going to waste time, it can at least be constructive.

Such manias are labour intensive for the most part. They can be the stuff of drudgery or filled with the crisp exhilaration of industriousness at its best. Our organizational skills have been honed over a lifetime; they are legend, a repository of much wisdom and have been, at every opportunity, imparted to our offspring much to their chagrin.

This fortnight the Big 5 Challenge pondered “What do you do?” – enigma or electrician, caregiver or taker, just starting out or enjoying the fruit of your labours, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief …

We would love to know what takes up most of your time.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this challenge can be found here: Need more info, want to browse past themes or get the badge for your blog? See HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Dirty – Week 2

dirty2 we all know who has been sitting in this chair…
not very inspiring

Once upon a time, when we were just two, things didn’t seem to get quite as filthy as they do now. Perhaps that is to be expected as we had much less stuff. Our wasted days were spent at work and misspent nights partying long and hard: cleaning consisted of emptying overflowing ashtrays and tossing a liquor store’s worth of drained bottles in the bin. A quick pass with the vacuum and a pillow fluff here and there and things were restored ship-shape. Rinse and repeat.

Then we were three: early to bed, early to rise non-smoking section, what exactly is that stain types where Richard Scarry replaced the Sunday New York Times. One fine day we were four: inured to the litany of laundry and Lego underfoot, a small whirlwind proved that chaos theory comes in the form of misplaced Barbie accessories and frilly barrettes.

Now that we are sometimes five and a half, the logistics of domestic maintenance requires the steely nerve of a drill sergeant and a complete corps of army engineers to effect any reasonable change. Sadly, yours truly is in command of neither but we have out of sheer stubbornness, learned how to say no so that others may learn how. 

The half in the complex equation above must be credited with a very large paw in creating a flotsam and jetsam of fur, twigs, and sticky bits that floats then clings to almost everything. We try and keep a clear line of sight above knee-level, for below there be monsters.

We cannot remember what a tidy house looks like. No matter how much we ask “What if the Queen comes to visit, what would she think?” – our pleas fall on deaf ears. Apparently no one irons anymore, nor do they dust. We suspect that they just move. “What does dirty look like to you?” – mud or mould, dingy or dim, greasy, creasy or caked on, rated X, fair or foul – We would love to see your vision…

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Fiction in 50: The Darker Side of…

the darker side of

It wasn’t enough that she had tried all manner of sweet: no amount of nice seemed to do the trick. Teeth clenched at every turn, the darker side of a genetic legacy ached to claw its way out. You might want to listen to that voice telling you to run…

The Bookshelf Gargoyle curates a Fiction in 50 mini-narrative challenge – this month’s prompt is The Darker Side of….! Come out of the shadows, see the light and get cracking on writing a piece of short, short fiction: send it in and then go have a peek at the other entries – GargoyleBruce writes wonderful reviews on all sorts of kid lit (big and small) with a cheeky tone guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Wander through the stacks, you are sure to find something you’ll like.

Click on the icon in the sidebar for previous entries…

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Dirty

dirty puppy2

snoofing is a full-time job

Seems like it was just a week ago that the weather was warm enough to zip around the back yard in a t-shirt yanking out by the roots those nasty burr things that get stuck in our dog’s tangled coat. Then the cool air crept in wilting what was left of the foliage, turning limp and pale what had once been crisp and green.  A few cloudy days and autumn weather finished off what was left but did prompt one brilliant purple flower to bloom two months after its due date. On a mission in the garden once again to clear what is left of our procrastination, our assistant ensures that we don’t miss a spot, probing his nose into the earth, paws flipping the weeds up with great abandon. White fur, brackish black soil: doggie heaven.

Our puppy has no reservations about lying down in the muck. He must have been a socialite in another life for he is keenly aware of its cool, soothing properties and knows that no matter how caked he gets, there is bound to be someone at the door with a soft towel to wipe his paws or – worst case scenario – a trip to the shower for a fast hose down. It’s all part of a day’s work.

“What does dirty look like to you?” – mud or mould, dingy or dim, greasy, creasy or caked on, rated X, fair or foul – We would love to see your vision…

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Please, don’t just link to an old post… challenge yourself.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 14 days (there will be a reminder post at the 7 day mark) after which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge page
  5. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

The Big 5 – “Who” do you resemble? – Week 2

Dog-snarlingit’s not always pretty

Funny how the complete draft of a post can be so clear right before one falls asleep and then the next morning we find ourselves trying to pick up the rather frayed thread to weave it all back together… Some things set us off easily perhaps more than they should and with that being said, it is a good thing that we have the sense to value sleep more than firing off email responses at 12:30 am. In the light of day they make much better copy and transform us from snarling hell-hound to obstinate rat-catcher with a mission.

It all started with a simple message – “No notifications yet“. Perhaps some of you have also seen it recently on your mobile WP apps, maybe we’re the only lucky soul. In any event, we had been otherwise occupied with real-life stuff over the last few weeks and didn’t pay it much mind, but then it started to be a ridiculous reminder that something evidently wasn’t right and so we emailed Tech support with a query. Before we launch into this lengthy tirade, let it be known that we have had some amazing help in the past from people at WP who actually did get it and this whole incident unfortunately fell at the tail end of a series of less than inspiring customer-service encounters. Run-ins that left us wanting to shred something to bits and shake it ’til it gave up.

One would have thought that having a WP.com blog meant getting a simple, direct answer from our loving host but that would have been too easy: in order to find some resolution we were requested to open a new account at WP.org (oh joy, another password to keep track of) and repost the same query all over again. Now, being one who can appreciate the finer points of “staying organized” (.com’s  answer) we went through the motions. A day later we were asked whether we were actually logged into the right account and that’s where we almost lost it. Logged in? To the mobile app on our home screen that stays open all the time so we don’t have to clumsily type our lengthy coordinates into the tiny log-in window while we are being jostled on the bus or playing co-pilot in the car. Logged in to the one account that we’ve been logged into since we downloaded the app onto our mobile devices who knows how long ago? We guess the answer to that would be, well ya…. “Try logging in and then out again” was the stellar follow-up: sounds like someone has been taking lessons from tech support at our internet provider – should we try kicking it also?

We do realize that a lot of questions sent to tech support are inane and it must be frustrating to be on the receiving end of such silliness all day long but it really rankles when we’re lumped into a group that hasn’t even developed opposable thumbs. We don’t ask for help unless we’ve googled the problem, looked through all the forums, help centers, articles, yadda yadda and basically exhausted all our own resources. God forbid tech support should and not just assume we’re logged into the wrong account – we would know if we were and that’s not even the problem anyways.
So we went back into the app, without having to log in, and lo and behold the notifications had miraculously appeared. Basically the same but somehow… Different.

At the risk of sounding like an old codger irrevocably set in our ways, we are absolutely not thrilled with the new, improved WP mobile notifications. Now we have little stars (ooh, just what I need – another gold star for my collection) and word bubbles that (take a few clicks to) change colour to prompt us that this is what the attached content is about because no one knows how to read anymore. Sadly, the cross-platform links have not quite gotten the kinks ironed out so if you have read, answered, approved or commented on any of the notifications on, god forbid, your big clunker of a monitor that you can’t carry around in your pocket, the mobile versions haven’t gotten the memo: you’ll just have to read it again to change the colour of that nifty star/bubble – because you just have that much time. We always thought the point of mobile was to make life easier, simpler, less time-consuming, to let us get from A to Z in as few steps as possible. Apparently not, and that’s just the start….

Click on your notification and what do we find? Gravatars and relevant info on who liked what, ok, that looks good; what we commented and the reply – uh oh, there’s a star prompting us like the ghost of Facebook to attach significance to “Thanks for the info…” – really? Now we have this added feature to further an already overburdened sense of guilt that we’re not engaging enough as it is?  Aaaacccckkkk….. What happened to being able to click on the link in a notification to actually see what we are being prompted to approve? Not there anymore. It means we have to go back to the monitor, sometime later, today or tomorrow, and wonder what or who we are forgetting and why we need to do this all over – again. Why is the spam flag now hidden under “more” and why should we have to go through extra steps to get to something that used to be right there under our noses? What does “edit comment” mean? Are we censoring our reader’s replies now on top of everything else? Isn’t that rude and a bit pompous? If we don’t like what people have to say about us or what we’ve posted can’t we just not approve them, ignore them and eventually they’ll disappear like in the good old passive-aggressive days of yore?  It all smacks of the mega-corporation malaise, the one where someone in the back room is trying to justify their paycheque by tweaking things that don’t need to be fixed and taking away features that were actually useful and worked properly in the first place. Upgrades don’t always mean better, lately they seem to mean guess what’s gone. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a whole lot we can do about it but foam at the mouth like some rabid dog. Not nice at all. And it’s really not a good look for us.

Do we really need all this aggravation or should we just roll over onto our backs like an unconcerned puppy waiting for a scritch and something better to come along? It’s been exhausting and so we will follow our dog’s lead and go and lie down until we’ve forgotten about it and it’s time for dinner…

This fortnight the Big 5 Challenge asked – “Who do you resemble?” – mom or pop, lion or lemur, celebrity or saint…

We would love to know who is on your list.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this challenge can be found here: Need more info, want to browse past themes or get the badge for your blog? See HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Culture – Week 2

brekkie

 generic airport brekkie fills a need

In another lifetime morning used to find us in some sort of airline mode. Bleary from having hot-foot it onto the red-eye or woken at some ungodly hour and barely coherent in the lounge, breakfast was never a sure thing. Now, most times, we have the luxury to pick and choose departure times and destination. Somewhat more in control of being able to plan things out in advance and convinced of the benefits of foresight, we have become keenly aware of how to eliminate those little disruptions that can have unpleasant after-effects.

Thirty years ago we could stomach cold soba while gazing at Mount Fuji from cruising altitude or dig into a dish of kippers at the Park Lane but now we can’t even do an 8AM donut in Chicago. Our kingdom for a bowl of granola….

It certainly can be said that the first (and don’t forget, kids, the most important) meal of the day depends on what one is used to and what we find palatable. Depending on the company kept and where in the world one finds oneself, it can vary wildly. From the hair of the dog that bit the night before to huevos rancheros, everything is relative: we’ll stick to what we know won’t come back to haunt us later in the day.

“What does your culture look like?” – costumes and customs, meals and milestones, a country or county, monument or monolith, a pantheon of people or singular person – We would love to see your vision…

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.