Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Hee hee...

Here's Scott interviewing presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on his campaign stop in Augusta, Ga. Again, I wasn't there, but I still keep tabs on my husband! My spies are everywhere. He can never rest! AAaaaaahahahahahaaaaa!

Is anyone surprised that they had it in a fire house?
At least if they'd had it at Hyde Park he could have
talked about cleaning up the Ground Zero area.
But, no. Let's go with the cliche.


Giuliani makes a serious face.
"Rudy smash crime! Rudy smash terror!
Rudy make touchdown for Notre Dame! Vote me!"


Here is Scott recording him again.
He's kind of creeping me out standing behind him and stuff.
If Giuliani turned around too fast, Scott might get a karate
chop to the forehead.


Hit and Run



Sunday, April 29, 2007

Talking Head

So I had to give a speech at the Student Media Awards at Augusta State tonight. Until about 3 p.m., I had no freaking idea what I was going to say. Somewhere about 4:30 p.m., I thought, "eh, who cares?" and started jotting down things that... well, they were kind of random. So here's my speech, give or take, although you don't get the benefit of my briiiilllllianntt(!!!) delivery.

Hello, I’m Stacey Hudson, arts writer for The Metro Spirit. I’m not the real speaker – that’s this guy over here, a great guy, a capital fellow, a real top-notch editor – so I’m not going to get into a lecture. I’m going to tell you briefly how I got into journalism.

I was in second grade when I won my first writing award. I had to give a speech to the Kiwanis Club about the award, for an essay entitled, “What Reading Means to Me.” I don’t know what I said – I was 8 for crying out loud – but I know that they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. “An astronaut!” I said. My mom always said I had my head in the clouds.

I was in second grade when I won my first writing award.

So I didn’t start this job early. But when I was in high school, and being told at the age of 15 that it was time to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I settled on saying that I wanted to be a writer because it didn’t require me to actually DO anything but drink hot tea and pontificate and wear silly fashion accessories. When my mother asked what I wanted to study in college, I said, “Philosophy.” I figured with my position as a cashier at Wendy’s that I already had the prerequisite job skills. “Are you sure we didn’t put fries in the bag? Can you prove the fries' nonexistence?” I didn’t last long there.

Before I went to college, I had freelance stints with Music Atlanta Magazine – they didn’t last long, either – and Creative Loafing for free CDs and concert tickets and cool points that no one recognized but me. And when I went to college, my mom asked what major I had chosen. “I registered in the journalism program,” I said. She groaned. “I’d rather you were in a 12-step program. What are you going to do with that?” I told her that I had a 12-step program to future success. “Where?” she asked me. “Right up here,” I tapped my head. I lied.

She was concerned about money, like all parents, because parents – like me, now - are the ones who have to make it. She didn’t want me to live on Ramen noodles and cat food for the rest of my life, and I’ve eaten my share of Ramen but never cat food. And the first step to making money in journalism is “Don’t suck.”

So congratulations to the award winners tonight. These plaques are validation that you do not suck. Not sucking is a very important first step in getting a good job and healing your parents’ ulcers and not eating cat food.

It helps to have a little bit of natural talent, although you can always just work really hard on your skills. But if I wanted to work really hard I’ve have taken more math classes. So you can cross “Not sucking” off your list now.

So then I dropped out of college and left behind a full scholarship and room and board. It’s not something I’d recommend, but I told my mother it was part of the requirements for a journalist. Because step two is to drink a lot and do plenty of stupid things. Doing stupid things gives you perspective on the world. Drinking a lot helps you to deal with the perspective you get on the world. Perspective is important if you’re going to bring texture and context to your writing – or photography, or sculpture. So basically, I recommend these mild forms of experimentation. Now is the time to make your big mistakes and spend the rest of your life trying to live them down! I have tattoos that serve that purpose very well.

The problem is that the alcohol made me forget steps four, five and six. So that brings us to:

Step seven! Give up drinking, swear off doing stupid crap, and buckle down and study. I went back to college – thanks, ASU! They gave me more scholarship money that I vowed not to waste this time.

Step eight: Realize that you are going to continue to do stupid things and there is nothing that anyone can do about it, but at least you weren’t drinking at the time. The stupid is all-natural.

Certified organic stupidity.

Step nine: Experience the joy of a professor tearing your heartfelt personal experience story to shreds. Learn that your life is not interesting. Save this knowledge for future speeches to college students who think you might know something.

But step ten is to learn that no one who works in journalism knows anything because truth doesn’t exist in our profession. We deal in facts, and the facts change as days pass and new events occur. If you’re looking for truth, go back to Wendy’s and major in philosophy. Business school graduates eat enough fries to give you really good job security.

In my previous college major, this
was the view I was most likely
to see from the corner office.


Step eleven: Panic. Consider public relations. It’s more lucrative, but less fun and almost as hated as the media.

Step twelve. If you get through all of this, and your first thought when envisioning yourself working is still typing frantically as the clock ticks ever closer to your deadline, or washing clay off of yourself at the end of the day, or editing the words of some rambling frantic writer who can’t seem to meet her deadline – sorry, Tom! – then none of the previous 12 steps were even necessary. Unless you listened to the anxious mothers of the world – hi! That be me! I have my daughter’s convent all picked out! – you were going to end up here anyway.

Eventually.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Is this me?



Okay, Rhian. You suckered me into this one, and I was certain that I'd be either a magpie or a three-toed sloth. But this quiz tells me I'm a mouse. Of course, my Meyers-Briggs tests always told me that I'm a librarian at heart, so maybe there's some correlation.

But feel free to click through the link, people, and answer four questions to make sure I see myself correctly.

Thanks, Rhi! Now I have to go cook some macaroni and cheese!

UPDATE: Hey, now I'm a Great Dane! Well, at least people don't run shrieking from me, which is a nice change from real life...

UPDATE REDUX: Now I'm a tiger?! What... I don't understand. And now people run screaming from me again.

UPDATE RETROIX: Okay. A monkey I get.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Convocation

"How long do you think graduation will last?" A.W. asks me.
"Two hours."
"Really? That's it?"
"Yep."
"What if it goes longer?"
"Get up and leave."
"I'm in it. Won't that be rude?"
"Tell them your house is on fire. What are they gonna do? Stop you?"
"This is true."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I love video

Thursday, April 26, 2007 By

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuV64ON-jv0

We are the champions!

A.C. and I go to cut our radio spot. Let's compare:

  • With J.W.: no script, five people, 45 minutes and countless takes.
  • Without J.W.: formatted script, two people, 5 minutes and 2 takes.

Except I sound like that Corky kid from "Life Goes On."

UPDATE! Family Feud!

An e-mail exchange about my crazy aunt:

J.W.: "Please can I engage her? I’ll pay you."
Me: "I’m sure an unmarried woman in her 60s would be happy to entertain your proposal. But have you checked with the gypsy matchmaker? She’ll have to do your star charts and decide an auspicious day for the marriage. And then you have give her mother 10 goats and a cow, or 10 goats and a mated pair of bighorn sheep."
J.W.: "Engage her in battle goddamnit. Please can I?"
Me: "If you don’t mind her launching ICBMs from her butt at you, go right ahead. I could give a crap. My parents could give less of a crap."
J.W.: "That is it then. I am going to kill her for you."

Aw. Sweet. It's always nice when your boss offers to commit heinous crimes for you.

Commercial Degradiation

We're recording a commercial today at 2 p.m., and J.W. waits until I'm walking out the door to an interview to ask me about the scripts. In fact, I'm already out the door and on the sidewalk when he...

"Wait, Stacey, come here!"
(sigh)
"Yeah?"
"You're recording that spot today, right?"
"What spot?" I lie with a serious look on my face.
"That Parent spot."
"What spot?"
"Oh, okay, thanks," he screws up his mouth like he just ate a lemon.
"I'm kidding. Yes, we are."
I start to walk out the door. I have three minutes to get to the artist's studio.
"Wait!"
(ah! I almost made it!)
"What?"
"Have you written the script?"
"Yes, Amy has it," I reply, backing out of the door. Can he not see I have somewhere to be?
"How does it sound?"
"We haven't recorded it yet. I'll let you know."
(Let's see... what are the signals... purse around shoulders, check. Notebook in hand, check. Keys out, check. Ass out the door, double check!)
"I mean how does the script sound?"
"I -"
"Is it good?"
"I - "
"Is it funny?"
"I - "
"Will people enjoy it?"
"Gah! J.W., just go read the script, already! Can't you see that I'm very busy and important!"
I run out the door before he can stop me again. I swear he times these conversations on purpose!

The Usual Suspects

E.B. was laughing about one guy in town who is not a journalist, but tries to give her lessons in journalism. It's always for stories that are self-serving for him or his relatives. Smart guy, so he can't possibly think he's fooling us.

"He was like, 'If you have a quote like this you have to back it up with a quote here'... and I said, 'You own a bookstore. You know how to read. That's not what the story is about.'" she said. "I swear, it's like Kaiser Sose. They think I'm a retard because I limp."

The Return

Man, I thought this was over. But it seems that my aunt was on my e-mail list twice. And she apparently does not want to win tickets to "Jesus Christ Superstar."

From: Smugly Self-Satisfied
To: Incompetent Niece

Stacey:
I'm still on your list. Please take care of getting me off these mass mailings. You must have me on several lists. I maintain approximately 50 such lists, and am very careful of the content.

Aunt Cathy

From: Geez, I'm sorry already!
To: Nurse Ratchett

It shouldn't happen again, unless I decide to add you to all of my contact lists. That might be fun for me. I'll let you know what I decide.

From: Excellent Candidate for Prozac
To: Hey, I Take My Prozac Every Morning
CC: My Parents, Who Are Going to Have to Start Taking Prozac Very Soon

Stacey:
This message is for your parents.

I want this handled and handled now. If I get any more of these unwanted e-mails, I will be speaking to Stacey's employer. Her excuses as to why this is happening are weak, at best.

This disrespectful message from your "responsible" daughter must alert you to the need to counsel her. There are rules about e-mail etiquette, and I would have hoped that a "Communications" major would have encountered them in her classes.

My only request from the first e-mail I sent was to be taken off of her mass mailings, and all I have gotten in return is sarcasm and infantile remarks, followed by a long e-mail from Sis about what a wonderful person Stacey is.

I have not responded to that. I am only responding now because I want this to end.

GET IT STOPPED. PERIOD.

Aunt Cathy

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

(The funny thing? My parents didn't even get that e-mail because they have her e-mail address blocked.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

From: (Sigh) Is She Serious? This is Stupid
To: Seething With Self-Righteousness
CC: Sorry, Mom and Dad!

I suppose my jokes simply don't get through to you. Perhaps if we had spoken face-to-face anytime in recent memory, you would understand my humor more, and perhaps I would understand yours.

I've informed my boss that you may be calling. He said feel free. I hope that the two of you have a wonderful conversation.

But here's the thing that bothers me: Your reaction just doesn't make any sense. It's just not proportional to the perceived slight. What is it about an e-mail that gets you so angry? Why bother my parents? Perhaps if you can explain this to me, I could take you more seriously.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Obviously she hasn't responded to that. I really didn't expect her to. But I kind of hope she does. It makes for excellent blog fodder.

Corey said, "I hope she calls Tom."
Amy said, "And he puts her on speakerphone."

But then she might hear me laughing in the background. And then I'm sure we will know her fury from Mississippi. She would probably resort to legal action. Or she might just launch an ICBM from her butt.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lo! A promotion!

Okay, fine. I'm an idiot.


I was just interviewing Ted Neeley, who plays the lead role in "Jesus Christ Superstar." The show is coming through the area on May 16 at the Bell Auditorium. He has three other projects in the works, including a national tour of "Rasputin," and was talking about being a representative of the character he plays.

"Does that put expectations on you in your personal life?" I asked.
"Absolutely, and it makes me a better person," he said.
"Do you ever do product endorsements? Because I can't think of a better pitchman for a product than Jesus."
(Huge laugh from the office mates, and, thankfully, from Mr. Neeley).
"No, but maybe I should," he laughed.



BROADWAY IN AUGUSTA 2006-2007
May 16, 2007, Bell Auditorium, 8 p.m.
“Jesus Christ Superstar”
Direct from New York!
Ticket prices: Single Group
Floor & 1st Balcony $50.00 $45.00
2nd Balcony $45.00 $40.50
3rd Balcony $40.00 $36.00

Another Fine Mess You've Gotten Us Into

Photos of the fallout from Austin Rhodes' big mouth. Thanks, Austin. Although I don't agree with his comments, or the publicity-seeking and boundary-testing that most likely inspired it, I am so far not impressed with the other side. They've called for boycotts on everything from Comcast Cable to rice and beans.

I call for a boycott on the phrase "E-mail up and running austin@wgac.com." I mean, that's e-mail. It's always up and running, unless your server is down.

Also, what's the point in boycotting Comcast when, in all likelihood, they've locked people into contracts for two years? You want people to shell out those ridiculous fees? Puh-leez.

Champ Walker orating (as best he can) outside of the Beasley
Broadcasting building that houses the WGAC studios.
He might be a handsome man, if he would learn to be quiet.

The protesters play it up for the media. I don't even know what
flag they're waving in the background, but it's probably from a
country that wouldn't allow them to peaceably assemble.

UPDATE: Oh, look. I'm an idiot.
Of course the U.S. would allow them to peaceably assemble.

The cheese stands alone.


My new title. Suck on that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Look!


This little smoochy-poo is the 5-month-old son of Aubrey and Will Bryant. Isn't he the cutest?! I want to cuddle him for hours!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Quickfuse


I hope these guys don't take themselves as seriously as a lot of these kinds of bands!

Ain't Right

I know I'm a good year behind, but I watched "Borat" this weekend. Um... was anyone else a little disturbed by parts of it, or was it just me? Except the scene where he sings the national anthem. "All other countries have inferior potassium" = Hilarious!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Loft Tour


Remember to take the loft tour, a benefit for Historic Augusta! Join us! Maybe I'll be your tour guide! You can stuff money in my G-string. I swear it will go to a good cause. Like my rent.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's just me...

So right now I was just entering yet another venue into the painfully mind-numbing exercise in torture that is my publication's calendar of events when I got to the part where it asks for the venue phone number. Does "Downtown North Augusta" need a telephone number? I so wanted to run out to my car, drive over the 13th Street bridge, find a payphone and get the number, just to post it in the list of venues and see if anyone calls it.

But I didn't.

You know it's a good thing that people take the responsibilities of the news media seriously, or we'd be having you all call Bush's Baked Beans instead of the White House. That dog would probably make more sense.

Decay


I know you can't see it, but the sign says - or, at one time said - Augusta Ornamental Ironworks. Not so ornamental now, is it? And where is the iron? All I see is a rubber tire.

Argh!


This is never a good light to see when you're stuck at one of downtown Augusta's notorious train crossings. I made it to the gas station, but I was cutting it pretty close. Thanks, CSX. It's really important to run empty flatbed cars through the middle of town during lunch rush. Must... get... AIR... to... Warrenville!

Good Thinking



Yes, Augusta: You must have an iron gate to protect your plywood. It is essential.

Virginia Tech Shooting

Ryan Clark, one of the victims of Monday’s shootings, is a native of the Augusta, GA area. The elementary school where Ryan Clark’s mother works is collecting donations to assist her with traveling to Virginia and making arrangements for her son’s body. If you would like to make a contribution, you can send your donation to the following address:

Ryan Clark Memorial Fund
c/o Georgia Bank and Trust
409 Fury’s Ferry Road
Martinez, GA 30907



Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Who's This Guy?


It's JOE WHITE in the year Nineteen Eighty Jean Claude van Damme!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Art Show

This is the Metro Spirit's wonderful former intern, Allegra Yealy, in her first art showing at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art. She did some beautiful photos of New Mexico in a silver gelatin print. We're hoping that she'll do some stuff for us from Athens next year, when she attends the University of Georgia.




This is a bust (har har) done by Natalie Logue, the sister of a friend of mine. It's a really beautiful piece with a crackled glaze on the outside and really smooth, graceful lines. It looks alternately strong and sturdy, and yet delicate and fragile. I don't know what she's going for with it, but I loved it like crazy.




This is another piece by Natalie. It evokes 1900 Paris, old advertisements for vermouth and absinthe, and Toulouse Latrec all at once. Lovely texture and color and I wanted to steal it off the wall. But I didn't. I did offer to buy it, but she wouldn't set a price. I hope she'll call me in a few days.


This show will run through the end of April at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art. There are some wonderful pieces in the show, some that are just fun, and some that - of course - scream "STUDENT ART!" But it's an interesting show. Look for the painting over the fireplace. I love it, too, but as I am not an artist, my photo of it looked like poop. Visit ghia.org.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Day of the Dead - Masters 2007



C.P. took this photo - for locals, probably the most descriptive Masters Week photo ever taken. It's like legions of polo-clad, shopping bag totin' zombies take over the city for a week.



Friday, April 13, 2007

In Full Swing


But not in spell check...





A close up...


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What rewards?

I don't know if anyone else does this, but I'm entered into all kinds of rewards systems. There's the VISA Rewards, the My Points system, the Zoom Panel surveys, the Buzz Agent membership. They're useful. They've bought gifts for loved ones, the crib for our daughter, various articles of clothing and gift cards and what-not. But they most insidious one is the mycokerewards program. Every time you open a cap, you have to go to the reward site and enter in a 9-digit number. it's been kind of frustrating, and I'm still NOWHERE CLOSE to getting anything, unless I want some digital furniture in a digital room that I create in a digital environment on the same website, a la The Sims.

Nope. I want some real stuff right here in my real environement, a la Real Freaking Life. (sigh) I may be at this another year before I can cash anything in.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

You Were Pretty Until You Opened Your Mouth

"Isn't he the most handsome man? I mean, I'm not gay or nothin' but..." He gestures to a co-worker.
I appraise him. "I guess I've just never been attracted to him because he talks."

Not a Food Review

A local artist is in the office talking to an employee I shall name "Neckbeard the Pirate."

"Man, I'm hung over," artist man says.
"I know. Your eyes are so red you're making me stoned. What did you do last night?"
"I just drank a lot of brown liquor."
"Brown liquor... man, I miss it. But it gives me the poos."

Saturday, April 07, 2007

No More Mr. Anonymous

I am moonlighting on masters week to make a few extra bucks for us and to also fund my tank project out at Pendleton King Park. At first, I thought, all the locals will be gone and since I am on radio, no one knows what I look like anyway, so it won't be a problem.

The only problem with pairing the two jobs is that well meaning listeners love to engage you in conversation about what Rush said, or what Austin said, or some news report they heard. That is never a problem unless you are in a busy serving job in a restaurant and have hungry mouths to feed. You can't sit back and chit chat about what is on the radio.

First table I get goes like this-

Me: Hi, my name is Scott blah blah, what can I get you to drink?
Customer to wife: Honey? Do you know who this is?
Wife: No.
Customer: He's Austin's younger brother!
Wife: Oh, you work at WGAC? Pleased to meet you.

OK, I am thinking they saw me out reporting something and recognized me, so no problem.

Second table goes like this-

Me: Hi, my name is Scott blah, blah, what can I get you to drink.
Customer: Is this some kind of joke?
Me: I'm sorry, I don't understand.
Customer: Oh, I get it. Are you guys doing some kind of celebrity waiter thing?

WHAT?
Okay, first of all, anyone who puts the word "celebrity" in front of the name of someone who needs to moonlight in a restaurant to pay for their family vacation is...well I digress.

I am nevertheless stunned. Why are all these people recognizing me? I am supposed to be the faceless voice that travels over the air. Then it dawns on me.

We have not had cable in years. We just don't watch that much tv. I have been sitting in on Austin's Comcast show for the past few months. I had completely forgot that the show airs like 86 times a week...and it is "on demand" for true die hards. Apparently lots and lots of people watch the damn show. Normally, I would be saying "COOL!" This weekend, I am saying "SHIT!!"

Oh, God, this weekend may turn out to be really interesting.

Scott

Friday, April 06, 2007

No.

A.C. is reading my last blog entry.
"You're really mad at me, aren't you?" she asks.
"No. No... a little."
She laughs.
"You're sending a heathen to talk to a church crowd," I whine.
"I know! Isn't that funny?!"

No.

Growly

I just agreed to speak to a church crowd of 250 about the media.
"You'll be fine," A.C. says. "And you get a free lunch."
"What?! Who's ordering lunch?" C.P. perks up from his hole in the corner. A.W. chuckles.
"No one. It's only 10 a.m., C.P."

Golfers Gone... Mild?

"So you didn't get arrested?" B.H. asks C.P.
"No. Things changed."
"What changed?"
"I fucked up... again and again and again."
"So you didn't play the..." hums circus song and I chime in: "doo-doo-doodahdoodahdoo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doodahdoodahdoo-doo-doo-doo..."
"It actually plays that song," B.H. says.
"What? Really?" I ask.
"I told you it played the circus song," she says.
"You said it played A circus song. You didn't say it played THAT circus song," I protest.
"Geez, how many circus songs do you know?" A.W. weighs in.
"Lots. I work here."

A Lesson in Customer Service

We have fielded more phone calls about the revamped calendar and movie listings than any else in the redesigned newspaper. It's fine - we don't mind. We understand that change is hard for people. They develop habits of information gathering, and they have to find a new approach. I've explained and assisted everyone about these issues as responsibly as possible. Apparently, I've been wasting my time.

Amy sits down chuckling.
"You should take a lesson in customer service from Bob," she says.
"Why?"
"He just fielded a phone call about the movie listings. This woman called in and said, 'I'm calling to request that you put the movie times back in the paper.' Bob said, 'Okay, no problem!'"
I am aghast. It never crossed my mind to lie.
"But she's going to call back next week when they're not in there!"
"Yeah, he says he's going to blame it on Ryan."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Great Disappointment

Don't you hate it when you get all excited about your lunch and it turns out sucky? Here is a list of things that sucked about our lunch:

1. "Salad" composed of one (1) slice of iceburg lettuce, and three cherry tomato halves.

2. "Sweet Potato Fries" included sweet potato strings that may once have been fried, but not for long and not in the recent past. R.D. said "They're like old person fries. All wrinkly and slimy." Um, okay. We bathe the old people in our family, Ryan.

3. "Moroccan Chutney Meatballs with CousCous" included meatballs that were not so much Moroccan as they were of dubious international origins. And the "chutney" was tomato chutney. That's not freaking chutney. That's salsa.

4. The couscous was plain. PLAIN! Why serve me plain pasta beads?!

5. Reminds me of a story: apparently, "couscous" means "vagina" (or, rather, the "p" word for it) in Persian or Farsi. A young Iranian student was horrified when I used the term one day until I described what it was I was talking about. Couscous is apparently not served in Iranian cuisine.

6. Anyway...

7. "Key Lime Parfait" was $6 for a dessert that was 90% cream, 10% key lime flavored pudding, and topped with graham cracker crumbs. Lllllaaaaaaaame!

8. The bread sticks were undercooked phyllo dough twists that had spices I could not determine. Might have been basil. Just couldn't tell.

So, to sum up, lunch was an overpriced load of crap. Thanks, [Joe is a Turd]!

Thinking Out Loud

C.P.: "I'm just going to start announcing everything I'm doing at that exact second."

Me: "Yay! And I'll blog along. It'll be like "A Day in the Life of Intrepid Reporter Corey Pein Who is, at This Very Minute, Typing an E-mail to His Mom, and Now He is Sending it - WILL SHE RECEIVE IT? We'll Let You Know When the Read Receipt Comes in..." and so on.

C.P.: "Good god!"

Monday, April 02, 2007

Travelocitous

I've never been to Europe - heck, I've never been out of the country. But traveling is a really big deal to me. I was born with a wanderlust that has never died, and when Emerson is older we'll be dragging her all over the place, I'm sure. We're starting small, with a weekend camping trip in the mountains in a few weeks. We'll work her up to more in the future.

While I love camping, what I really love is hotel sheets and room service. There's a reason I didn't want to leave the hospital after Emerson was born. Fresh sheets upon request, food delivered practically right to my mouth, and peace and quiet. But hotels, of course, have much better food. What I also love is getting my money's worth. So, a little tip for my readers - especially the international ones - is to keep an eye on Hotel Club News. Talk about insider information! It's almost as good a peek into the hotel industry as Waiter Rant is on the food and beverage industry.

Honesty, insider information, industry news, travel specials and time-sensitive deals, along with tips and secrets of getting the best service for your stay are the hallmarks of this blog. They even highlight interesting upcoming events so that when you get bitten by the travel bug but don't know where you want to go, you can choose by event instead of by destination. And isn't that better than the cruise-ship method of scheduling the hell out of every minute of your life? A little spontaneity really spices up life. That's why my 2-year-old and I had a sword fight this morning with the rods that open and close our blinds. What are those things called?

Anyway, she totally kicked my butt. My right pointer knuckle is bruised and swollen. Hard to lose to a 2-year-old. But I did.

But it's great to travel with them. Yes, they get grumpy. Yes, they get nervous from unfamiliar surroundings. But they also get more excitement out of every day than anyone over the age of 12 can even try to muster. She keeps me going until I collapse, utterly unaware that I am wearing myself out because I'm too busy having fun! And getting swollen knuckles. Ouch.

Emerson's favorite phrase is "Come on, Mama!" She's always on the go, and keeps me moving, too. We'll keep her moving to new places with exciting new experiences over the next few years. I'm glad there are resources like Hotel Club News to use. God bless the Internet. Those last-minute specials are really great!