April 27, 2016

Spring MMXVI

As always, first up is a brand spanking new post at I Are Writer!, which contains a nifty info dump on The Friendship Has Begun.

Warning: This post may be offensive to those who don't treat opposite sex as a fresh meat market. To those people, I would like to say, lighten up. This post is 100% pure whimsy and fantasy. No more and certainly no less.

Many, many years ago, I would usher in the warmer weather on my blog by waxing semi-poetically about the awesomesauce ladies who would bring a smile to the face and a bound to the step to those who were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of those delectable.

For past few years, life has for better or worse, dampened the whimsical nature as it applies to this particular type of post. Gone was the poetic waxing of both the younger and older generation. Instead, we kept the poetic descriptive whimsy off the blog and confined the musings to the realm of the quirky fiction. Purplely prose was indeed no more. Not bereft of life, but bereft of purpose.

But as the world slowly turns on its axis like a drunken sailor and greets each new day bleary-eyed and squarely hungover, so do we. Not bleary-eyed and hunger, but bran dead and jaded. Sometimes the brain deadness fades away and left in its place the type of alertness that one gets after waking up from a half hour nap.

Thus, in the same spirit of that type of alertness, we bring to you the ode celebrating the rebirth of the human spirit that happens every Spring, when ladies old and young prep for the upcoming year by tying the gentlemen, both young and old, into a braided pretzel. As they say, practice makes perfect.

What practice, you might ask yourself.

Perhaps you've come across a lady who decided to try something different with her hair. Previously straight, maybe she added just enough curl to make it gently bounce as she walked. Or vice versa, in that the moment it went straight, it became longer and yet slightly sensuous, capable of bringing any man above 18 to a complete stop.

Or, maybe that vibrant young lady is wearing a thoroughly tasteful and highly delectable floral or animal print dress. Light and airy, it tastefully shows off what God had graced her with, yet still has that naughty sense of mystery behind the fa├žade.

And you definitely can't forget the shoes. Ahhh....the shoes. Pumps, low heels, high heels or even stilettos, the shoe compliments the outfit.

Or jewelry. Earrings, be they studs, little hoops or big hoops; platinum, gold & silver; emerald, jade or garnet. Perhaps a funky pendant. So many choices and yet so little time to take it all in.

Spring time in New England. Or anywhere for that matter. Is always a good thing because it can bring out the very best in who and what you are.

The weather was absolutely fantastic the day {4/22/16} that I originally wrote this post. Birds were singing, a gentle breeze wafting across the yard, the sounds of the neighborhood floating down the streets. Felt really good to be alive, to be breathing and to be living in the suburbs..

(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.

April 20, 2016

Black Monday Is Definitely Not What I Wanted It To Be

As per the current norm, we have a fresh, yet tastefully dry, post up at I Are Writer! Be sure to stop by and check out the latest writing related scribblings.

Today, I thought I would give everyone a rather sobering glimpse at the world of the guv'ment employee.

For better (rarely) or worse (usually) the guv'ment employee is always the whipping boy/scapegoat/poster child for the economic ills of the day. We're often called greedy, lazy, overpaid, underworked, not in touch with the real world, etc. etc. etc. That is the perception that politicians want to give. The reality is much harsher, more focused and exceptionally sobering.

To whit  the fantasy: whenever there is a guv'ment made economic crisis, the guv'ment will (nearly) always perform a redirect towards a convenient scapegoat, brushing aside their pitiful greedy performance by saying it's the public sector unions fault.

The reality: Biting the hand that keeps you in office is never a good thing.

Sparing everyone the gruesome details from '09 & '11, unless you want a short and somewhat slanted synopsis, then check out the posts here, here, here and here. Diaper Dan Malloy, ye bully guv'nor of CT, decided to blame the state workers for the worsening budget crisis ($400 million and growing daily) and not the fact that raising taxes multiple times to ultimately drive GE into the arms of Massachusetts, and quite possibly Aetna too

April 11th is what I like to call Black Monday, in that roughly 156+ employees (including 106 at DCF) were pinked slipped in an opening salvo of the modern day Sherman's March To The Sea. This total may go up at DCF as certain nuances of labor contracts kick in. In a very sad twist of logic, our layoffs come at the exact same time that we're hiring new social workers. Stupid I know, but it goes something like this.

1} Last summer, Diaper Dan declared he was going to close the state's only juvenile facility for criminals under 18 by 2018.
2} DCF has been under a Federal court decree for the past 25+ years, and thus have to answer to the Feds and not Diaper Dan.
3} The people who were laid off were in an actual dead end job. Meaning there was/is nowhere for them to go if they got laid off. So contractually, they were F'd.
4} The main reason I and my immediate co-workers in my unit weren't affected is that our job is a dead end for fiscal clerical. You can't be bumped out or have someone bump in.

While all of this crap didn't affect me directly, it did affect me indirectly. I felt their pain, and unlike Bill Clinton, my feelings were genuine because I went through the exact same thing in 2003. My immediate goal is to help these people anyway that I possibly can. I want to treat them just a little better than I was treated.

My long term goal is to make sure I still have a job within the next couple of years. With the stated goal of closing this facility in either 2018 (Diaper Dan) or 2017 (General Assembly), I want to make sure that I'm not made redundant.

Decades ago, people really wanted to work for the guv'ment, because once you got in, you were in for life. Great pay and great benefits (among other things) were had by all. Now, people are getting a harsh  reality check and are taking a very long look at any offer they receive from the guv'ment, because quite frankly, at the least on the state level, there really is no advantage in working for the state.

Welcome to the modern day version of Life From Hell. May the deity of your choice have mercy on your stressed out soul.

(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.

April 13, 2016

I'd Like A Dinner With My Movie, Please!

Normally, I would post a link to my Tumblr blog so that you can read the freshest, most tastiest writing morsel that you can lay your hands on, right from the get go. Today, I will post a random picture, such as this, in order to give you a little pizzazz for your visit.
I Are Writer!
Yes, that is my darling 15 year old daughter Jenelle, taken a few years ago. Now oddly enough, this picture of Jenelle slightly dovetails with the topic of today's post, which is not about her recent decision to become a vegetarian (morality issues), but about food related movies.

Now, truth be told, I'm a sucker for movies based on a slice-of-life event, such as Akeelah & The Bee (Scripps Howard Annual Spelling Bee) or A Grandpa For Christmas (Grandfather becomes temporary guardian for his estranged granddaughter). In today's post, we cover movies based on restaurants, whether they be a day slice-of-life or longer term slice-of-life. These are the kind of movies that I enjoy watching over and over again. So in no particular order of importance, here are four of my faves (four was all that I could remember).

1} The Hundred Foot Journey: it took me about a half dozen sittings to watch this movie in its entirety, as I'm kind of weird when it comes to watching movies on cable. If I see a movie that piques my curousity while I'm surfing, I'll watch the last twenty minutes or so to see how it ends. If I like, I'll watch the movie all the way through. Anywho, this movie is about an Indian family who moves to France and opens up a restaurant exactly 100 feet across from another. I found it to be very enjoyable,  sentimental without being sappy, and considering how many people had their hand in the director's pie, it came off seamless and smooth.

2} Dinner Rush: same principle with this one. This one covers a night in the life of a typical hot/hip New York restaurant. Features a triple plot line of the owner, who's a bookie, mobsters who want to move it, a degenerate gambler sous chef and the hot head chef. Fantastic movie that gives everyone a glimpse of a restaurant that we could probably never experience in our lifetime.

3} No Reservations: this is a remake of the French version. The basic plot is a top chef becomes the guardian of her niece after her sister is involved in car accident. A very cool movie that revolves around the restaurant that she works in and how she had to change her lifestyle to accommodate her niece. Stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and features a very good turn by Abigail Breslin, who had a very good turn in the horror comedy Zombieland.

4} Bella: this one is a curious choice for me, since over the years, movies that are roughly 75% or more dialogue do not make my viewing cut. Why? I've seen some truly horrendous bombs over the years (John Mellencamp for example) that had nothing but dialogue. This one intrigued me enough that I watched almost the entire movie. Basically, it involves a waitress who is fired and the owner's brother, who is the chef, ultimately spends the day talking and getting to know her. I consider this to be a very good movie, almost like watching a novella come to life.

So my friends, are there any types of genre-bending movies that you like to watch? By genre-bending, I mean something like, for example, movies based on particular slice-of-life event.

Oh, and if you feel like commenting on Jenelle's change of eating habits, go for it. It took me a couple of days to get over the shock, but I'm pretty good now. And no, I really don't have anything against vegetarians. Or vegans for that matter. Which she's adamant about not becoming.

(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.

April 6, 2016

April Is The Magic Month Of Know Return

To get the usual routine matter out of the way, here is the latest at I Are Writer! (topic du jour is how to spend your book money smart).

With that out of the way, we turn our attention to the month of April, which is the topic of conversation amongst those who blog. Because unless you've been doing your very best impersonation of Clumsy from B.C. for this year, last Friday (4/1) was the official start of the 2016 A-Z Blog Challenge. In a tight peanut shell, it means for the next 26 days, bloggers will post 26 almost consecutive posts (sans Sunday) that will feature the Alphabet Song. Some will have themes, some will not.  Personally, I participated in 2014. Had a blast, skipped a year, then gave serious thought about participating this year.

No, really. Honest and for true. Alas, poor Yorrick I did not know Horatio, life got in the way of the modest plan I had, which was cherry picking my seriously large (425 and counting) c.d. collection. Oh the fun I would've had sharing it with everyone: the modest info dump, the spotlight, the research, the occasional review.

Alas, poor Horatio I did enjoy Hornblower, it was not meant to be. The time needed to prep for this modest undertaking would've taking me weeks, nay kind sirs and gentle madames, months to get everything together. From reorganizing three large c.d. racks to taking copious notes on just exactly what I had for music, for I had at least one representative from roughly a baker's dozen of genres, to deciding which of the twenty-three letters of the alphabet a c.d. should represent (sadly, no Q, X or Z).

Thus,for the month of April, this blog will not be participating in the 2016 A-Z blog challenge. Instead, we will spend the 13th, the 20th and the 27th, doing exactly what we've done for today: pepper a post with pop culture obscurities from my childhood, adolescence-hood, and adulthood (but not victimhood as I need to leave that to the "professionals" and you know who those are, now don't you?), in the sincere hope that for at least thirty seconds, you searched your memory banks to figure what in the world of Carmen Sandiego did I just sample?

For those who are curious, here are your two freebies: part of the post title contains a reference to the 70's group Kansas, and one sentence contains a partial reference to the show Bewitched.

(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.