----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: February 2007

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Thank You, Anonymous Poster!

I would just like to give thanks to the anonymous poster who gave me advice about my migraines. I have been working with a neurologist to control my headaches, and I know she doesn't really want me taking narcotics, so the poster's suggestions for other medications to try were really helpful. It's not like I want to be a drugged-out zombie, either!

I have tried injectable Imitrex before, and it did work better than the pills. I just didn't like stabbing myself with a needle, but I guess I should get over it. I am also going to try and get some Compazine. I have Phenergan, which is also an anti-nausea drug, but that just makes me really, really sleepy. I don't know about the Prednisone, though...I took that as part of my chemotherapy regimen, and it was like, "Hello, mood swings!"

I also think I have to be less afraid to just take the Imitrex right away. I wait too long to take it because it's really expensive and I try to save it for the really bad migraines. Unfortunately, it doesn't work very well if I don't take it right away, and then I do end up with a bad headache and no relief.

Wow. You never know what good advice you might get as a result of a blog post!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Drugs--The Legal Kind

I have a headache. A migraine. It is pulsing and throbbing and generally searing my brain with shooting pains.

"So why are you at the computer?" you might ask. I shall tell you. It is because I have tried everything else, including copious amounts of drugs, and nothing has worked, so I might as well entertain myself.

The worst part of this headache is that it started nearly 24 hours ago. I took a Valium and a Vicodin and tried to sleep, but at 4:00, I woke up with the same pounding pain. I was able to go back to sleep, but then when I got up this morning, the headache was still there. So, I took a Naprosyn and an Imitrex, which I hoped would work, since each pill costs about $22, but still, nothing.

I went about my day as best I could. I had a Coke at lunch, because sometimes caffeine helps. Not this time. Then this afternoon, I rested and took another Vicodin. Still no relief. I had a glass of wine with dinner, thinking that maybe the alcohol and the Vicodin would fuse in my system and create some new and improved pain medication. (Well, that, or cause liver failure.) Neither has happened.

I don't know what else to do. I am going to lie down again, and maybe tomorrow, my headache will go away. But who knows? Once, I had a headache for a month and wound up in the emergency room, where they gave me a shot of morphine and a prescription for Percocet. "Good times!" you may be thinking. Actually, no. I took the Percocet for an additional three days before the headache finally went away.

I'm not a drug addict. I have prescriptions for everything, and I only use these pills when I really need them. But what do I do when nothing helps?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Moving Is Hell

Moving really takes a lot out of you. That's what I've been doing for the past week, it seems. Well, first it was packing boxes. Then it was carrying boxes downstairs. Then it was loading boxes into the truck. Then it was driving the 17-foot U-Haul 500 miles to our new apartment in Dana Point. Then it was unloading all the boxes. And then, it was unpacking all the boxes. (Yes, we have stuff besides boxes, too. Like furniture. But I wasn't responsible for that part. Just the boxes. So many boxes!)

Here are a few things I learned about moving this time around:

1. ALWAYS get the big truck. We thought that the 17-foot truck would be fine. Then we got everything that was at my parents' house all loaded in, and the truck was full, and we hadn't even gotten anything out of the storage unit yet. Oops. I grabbed a few boxes of our dishes and glasses out of the storage unit, but that's how we ended up down here with absolutely no silverware. And no bedframe. And no kitchen table.

2. Loading the truck will take much longer than you think. We had three workers plus Greg loading all the heavy stuff, along with me doing boxes, and it took four hours to get the truck loaded.

3. If possible, load the truck the day BEFORE you are going to drive 500 miles to your new home. Loading truck all day + driving truck all night = very cranky people.

4. An Aero bed is key. Once we got the truck loaded, we knew that we wouldn't get to Dana Point until about midnight. We also knew there was no way we'd be able to get the bed out then, since it was shoehorned in there. We borrowed a self-inflating Aero bed to sleep on the first night, and that saved us from sleeping on the cold, bare floor.

5. Moving is way more expensive than you ever think it will be. No matter how much stuff you bring with you, you will have to go out and buy more stuff. Always.

6. If you have a Mac with an Airport, and your upstairs neighbor has a wireless Internet connection, you can join his network for free! (Well, at least until Cox comes to set up your own account. I feel a little bit like a criminal right now.)

So, our apartment is looking good, although we are missing quite a few things, so we have to come back to NorCal and rent ANOTHER U-Haul truck to empty out our storage unit. Clearly, this proves #5 above. But in the end, it will all be worth it! (I hope.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Star Sighting!

Which star of a hit family television show (along with some dubious movies) was spotted at a well-known motor sports design firm on Tuesday? He was sporting a mohawk and driving a Maserati. Any guesses?

It was Frankie Muniz, of Malcolm in the Middle! According to my well-placed source at Troy Lee Designs, Muniz is on the small side (as are most actors, it seems. Well, not Will Smith. He's tall. But he was a rapper first.)

Rumor has it that acting will take a backseat while Muniz pursues a career in car racing. He was there to have a race helmet custom-painted by Troy Lee himself. Oh, the glamour!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Righting Writers' Wrongs

I must say that I am a damn good copy editor. Yes, I occasionally miss a typo or a misplaced comma, but for the most part, I catch and fix just about every error a writer can insert into his or her writing. That's why I was on retainer as the copy editor for a local group of trade magazines. They didn't have anyone on staff who could do what I did.

But a week ago, I got word that my services would no longer be required. The publisher is spinning it as "budget cuts," but having worked with this publisher previously, it's my opinion that all he cares about is selling ads in the magazines. If we could print gibberish and still sell ads, he would fire the entire editorial staff in a heartbeat, I bet.

Anyway, after I got word, I went in one more time to do one last round of copy editing. Now, keep in mind that the copy I read has already been edited for content by at least one person. I'm there to catch the stuff that person misses. Unfortunately, the publications are so understaffed that the main editor misses a lot. (Again, this is the publisher's fault. Why spend money on more editorial staffers if you can sell plenty of ads with only a skeleton staff? Who cares about editorial quality? Not this publisher!)

A few of the more egregious examples:

"We were very careful just in case the Green Building Council didn't except all of the credits." (Accept! Why do so many people have trouble with homonyms?)

"It took a lot of coordination and detail orientated people." (Orientated? Is that even a word?)

"We designed the building to comply with the American's with Disabilities Act." (So the act applies to a single American?)

"The Commission blocked the state's permit request, sighting concerns of depreciating property values." (Again with the homonym confusion! It should be "citing." And what's with the weird capitalization?)

"Probation officials in Delaware State are on a mission to lower recidivism rates." (Let's see, the story already has a dateline that notes the location as Delaware. But gee, thanks for clearing up that confusion for me. Otherwise, I might have thought that Delaware was, I don't know, a country!)

And here are a couple of other great sentences that I culled from other instances when I went in to copy edit at these publications:

"Cost estimates to build the new courthouse are estimated at $40 million." (Really? The estimates are estimated?)

"The company recently announced the introduction of its newest product." (Yay! I love dull, overly verbose sentences!)

So there you have it. Instead of striving for excellence, this group of trade magazines seems to be aggressively striving to be below average. Way to take pride in your work product, people!