Category Archives: Books

Be An Investor Next Year

I stumbled on an interesting site this morning.  Kickstarter founded by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler, is (per their website description)…

The largest funding platform for creative projects in the world.  Every month, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food publishing and other creative fields.

A new form of commerce and patronage.  This is not about investment or lending. Project creators keep 100% ownership and control over their work.  Instead they offer products and experiences that are unique to each project.

All or nothing funding.  On kiskstarter, a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands.  Why?  It protects everyone involved.  Creators aren’t expected to develop their porject without necessary funds, and it allows anyone to test concepts without risk.

Each and every project is the independent creation of someone like you.  Projects are big and small, serious and whimsical, traditional and experimental.  They’re inspiring, entertaining and unbelievably diverse.

So what does that mean for you?  Like honey?  Super.  You can kickstart The Bees Of Crockett

Earl Flewellen's Artisan Honey, anyone?

and they’ll send you some of their delicious honey.

Enjoy street photography?  Then kickstart the documentary, Finding Vivian Maier

Her work was discovered at an auction and once revealed to the world via John Maloof's blog, has become a viral sensation.

and get a copy of the DVD.

Always wanted to write that book?  Make that product?  Develop that software? Start that business?  Finally get your yoga teacher training?

No really.  I’m serious.

Neal Pollack , writer of the very funny, Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude got his 200 hour yoga teacher training funded on Kickstart.

Very funny book whether you're into yoga or not.

If you gave him a dollar, you got an email excerpt from his latest book and he promised satirical postings about his training.  If you pledged $200 you got signed copies of various books, handmade jewelry and collages from his artist, wife, Regina Allen, plus a private yoga class for you and 15 of your friends per completion of his training.

Of course now I’m wondering how I can kickstart something and what gifts I would give in exchange for getting my dream off the ground.  I could get my own public access talk show funded by giving free speech therapy to any donors that pledge, say, $500 AND have a lisp.  I could finally write the follow up to Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie, entitled, Confessions of a Diet Junkie, and promise folks free copies of my books.  And a food scale.   Or maybe, like Neal, I’ll get my 500 RYT training funded someday by a group of people that dig me, have a few bucks to spare, and just so happen to need accent reduction therapy or vocal training?

But enough about me and my pipe dreams.  Head on over to Kickstarter and see if there’s a project that resonates with you that you’d like to fund and get cracking.  Or better yet, dust off that great idea that you’ve been pushing toward the back of your brain and get moving!  You’ve got no excuses now.



Glenn Beck

I accept the fact, that I’ll never agree with Conservatives. I’m totally cool with being far from them on the belief system spectrum.  I get that there needs to be a Yang to my Yin.  But I will NEVER understand why anyone listens to this guy. Between his nonsensical chalk board rants and the rift between what he says and what he does, he just doesn’t seem credible.  Like when he rages against giving kids trophies when they don’t actually earn them…

GLENN: So here is my challenge to Pat and my challenge to every man, woman and child in this country: Stop it! Take the trophy and put the trophy some place where the sun doesn’t shine like a closet.

…only to accept an Honorary Doctorate from Liberty University – with tears in his eyes.  What a putz!  Shouldn’t he place that doctorate where the sun doesn’t shine?  Like his ass?

He just doesn’t make sense to me which is why I thought this trailer for his next book was a joke, as I came across it on Huffington Post’s Comedy Page, but upon further investigation, I found it on Beck’s own web site.

Dogs returning to their vomit?


Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “bat shit from glenn beck“, posted with vodpod

Origin of Stupidity

I’m going to let Christina do all the talking because she does it so well and I love the way she says “bullshit” with her Romanian accent.  Take it away Christina…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Origin of Stupidity“, posted with vodpod

Macleans Magazine

macleansI did an interview with Julia McKinnell of Canada’s Macleans Magazine last year and it went to print this past week.  I absolutely LOVED the article and the picture, although if children and youth services calls I wont be surprised.  They may not share my sense of humor about my early mothering skills.

You can check out the article here.  If you’re interested in the book you can click on the cover at the top right hand corner of this blog or click here.  And if you want to testify to my fabulous child rearing abilities by all means leave a comment – I just may need you to take the witness stand.

Sadly…This is no hoax.

Well yet another memoir has been outed as a lie. Actually two personalized accounts have been revealed to be fiction in the past week. Marion B. Jones’ Love And Consequences about her life on the mean streets of South Central Los Angeles, actually grew up as Margaret Seltzer in a privileged Sherman Oaks, California neighborhood. Her publisher, Riverhead Books has pulled the tome from the shelves.

MISHA: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years by Misha Defonseca had been translated into 18 different languages. The story about a 7-year-old alone in the woods, cared for by wolves after her parents are arrested by the Nazi’s was simply the imaginary coping mechanism of a young girl. As the book was being readied for US publication a genealogical researcher found discrepancies. Big discrepancies like the fact that her name is Monique de Wael, she never lived in the woods and isn’t Jewish. Hell, who knows if she ever even owned a dog.


So if anyone out there is making up a memoir keep in mind that there’s this nifty thing called the Internet that allows people from all over the globe to gather information about one another. Tip two: If you do make up a memoir and it starts to sell and the media gets wind of you and Oprah calls, fess up right then and there. You will be busted. You will embarrass yourself and lose all credibility.

Considering how many published memoirs are fakes, imagine how many blogs out there are complete and utter bullshit. There must be thousands. Housewives pretending to be hookers, bankers living vicariously as gang bangers and truckers posing as teenagers. I’m guessing that the combination of skewed memories that change shape over time along with anonymity encourages many bloggers to take liberties with the truth or create complete fictional worlds all together.

Because most folks don’t even put their name on their blog (I don’t) it is very difficult to ensure that bloggers are telling the truth. In light of this, I thought I come right out and state that sadly – every stupid thing I’ve ever done and blogged about – is the truth. I’m really this uncool. I’m really this out of touch. I’m really this pathetic.

Go ahead and laugh. I can take it. But when I get my book deal someday and I’m invited to sit alongside Oprah herself – I’ll be safe. No being thrown into the James Frying pan for this blogger, let me tell you.

I understand that memories are subjective. In light of that, I wish that two great writers would write a joint memoir about their shared experiences. It would be so interesting to read the daughter’s account of her shitty childhood moment and then the mother’s account of what led up to the shitty moment. Now THAT would be an interesting read.

Due to the seemingly endless amount of fake memoirs out there, I’d like to take a moment and plug a few of the real ones that I’ve enjoyed:

  1. Night by Ellie Wiesel
  2. The Glass Castle by Janette Walls
  3. Encyclopedia Of An Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  4. Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
  5. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  6. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
  7. Find Me by Rosie O’Donnel
  8. Embraced by the Light by Bettie J. Eadie

What are yours?

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

A few months ago I finally read, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, Jean-Dominque Bauby’s moving memoir, written after he was diagnosed and living with locked-in syndrome. Jean-Do as he was known to his friends, dictates the book over the course of 14 months via the blinking of his left eye. Letter by excruciating letter, he lets the outside world into his locked in existence and in the process shows that even the most able bodied individual, if not living life to the fullest, is locked in as well.

As I was researching for this blog post, I came across something interesting. At the time of Bauby’s stroke, he was under contract to his publisher for a modern retelling of The Count Of Monte Cristo, a book in which the character of Noirtier de Villefort suffers a stroke that leaves him completely paralyzed and aphonic. Ironically, de Villefort, like Bauby, communicates only through the use of his eyes. Bauby’s decision to honor this contractual obligation is what inspires him to write his memoir in the first place. It is estimated that over 200,000 eye blinks were required for Jean-Do to tell his tale to Claude, the woman dispatched to the hospital by Bauby’s publisher to capture his words.

The book was made into a movie but unfortunately, it hasn’t and probably wont make an appearance in my town, so I must wait for it’s arrival on Netflix. From the trailers that I’ve seen along with review that I’ve read, it appears to be a visually stunning masterpiece with a phenomenal soundtrack to match.

I think the New Year is a great time to see this film and ask yourself how you’re locked in and in what ways you can let your imagination set you free.


Harry Potter

I’ll be honest. I haven’t been keeping up with Harry’s books. Like highschool when I would read the Cliff Notes, I’ve been following the action via the movies. I know, I know. That’s SO WRONG, but it’s true. Because of this, I’m thinking of cheating and skipping right to book six, and reading that in preparation for book seven’s release on the 21st.

Speaking of book seven, I’m wondering how the ending will stay secret? Surely there are multitudes of people that want to blurt out to everyone if Harry lives or dies. By Sunday the 22nd I’m guessing it will posted all over the internet, imbedded in reviewer’s notes and discussed on national television. How will anyone be able to enjoy this book and in the future, the movie that will be made about it?

I must say I have LOVED the Harry Potter hype that’s been going on for the last 10 years. I’ve enjoyed the books that I’ve read, the movies I’ve seen, the whole inspirational story of a down and out single mom on the dole that types the manuscript out at night after writing it out longhand during day. I love going to Borders at midnight to buy the book. I love sitting in a packed theatre to watch the films as they come out. I love that even after 10 years there are still some hyper-religious folks out there worried about the “dangerous conjurings” of a fictional boy wizard yet he flies on. As the British would say, It’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!


Our family’s Harry Potter hype was at an all time high a few years ago when Frederick Community College offered a summer camp called A Week At Hogwarts. My daughter Paige had attended the year before, taking classes like Potions, Defense of The Dark Arts and Herbology while making crafts, discussing the book and hanging out with her friends. The following year my younger daughter Jarin celebrated her 7th birthday and was finally old enough to sign up as well. I was thrilled that she was finally getting into Harry (hoping that it would inspire her to read the books) and more importantly, thrilled that Jarin’s Hogwart’s camp coincided with Paige’s yoga camp which allowed me 5 blissfully free mornings to myself.

I was so thrilled to be free at last, free at last, that I didn’t pay close attention when I dropped Jarin off each day. I ran in, signed the sheet, pushed her into class and ran to the car. Sure some of the kids towered over her, but who am I to point fingers and gawk at the freakishly tall? Besides, there was no time to comtemplate my child’s placement on the growth chart – I had friends and a grande no-whip mocha waiting for me at Starbucks.

By Wednesday of that week I got a call from the head of the Kids on Campus program. A group of exchange students from Taiwan were in town and would spend an afternoon hanging out with the Hogwarts gang. Since everyone speaks the language of Harry Potter they figured it was a good way to bridge the language gap. Sadly, they did not feel that Jarin would fit in with this group, her being so young and all.

“Excuse me,” I interrupted. “What do you mean by young and all?”

Well with all the kids being teenagers and with Jarin being in grade school we don’t feel that she should hang out unattended with kids so much older than her.

All the kids are teenagers? Jarin’s the only student that’s in grade school?

Why yes, Mrs. Pruce. You signed up Jarin for the 12 and over class.

But she’s seven! How the hell did she get in that class?

Apparently I had signed her up for the wrong week. Clearly my subconscious need for a parental break had guided my hand on the form. My complete denial of the problem allowed me to ignore the fact that all of her classmates had acne, braces and facial hair. I apologized profusely to the director who assured me that Jarin was actually fitting into the class, having fun, only discussing Harry Potter and not scoring drugs or learning how to sniff glue and that she might as well finish the week.

I imediately ran up to Jarin’s room to check on her.

Jarin, your Harry Potter class. Are you getting along with the kids okay?


Are they treating you nice?


Do you realize that you’re THE YOUNGEST PERSON IN THE CLASS?

Shhhhhh, she replied. Don’t tell anyone. They think I’m a teenager. I fooled them all,” she said proudly.

Jarin, you have no front teeth and can’t pronounce your R’s. Give it up. Nobody thinks that you’re a teenager.

Even though it was 12 and up, most of the attendees were pre-teens, so in the end it wasn’t so bad. But here’s a picture of Jarin blending in seamlessly with the other students:


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