Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sex and the City's back...Yay?

I remember when I fell in love with Sex and the City.

It was about five years ago. I was trying to get over a breakup and one of my best friends recommended the show like a prescription drug: Rent every season available on DVD, watch each and every one of them and you will feel better.
And amazingly I did feel better and became immediately hooked. I was constantly, feverishly searching for my next high with every DVD I rented. Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte were my new, cool NYC friends and I lost myself in their world of high fashion, cool jobs and men, men, MEN.

I didn’t have HBO at the time and I remember the torture I went through waiting on the last season to end so I could rent it on DVD. I made sure I avoided any hint of someone revealing the final episode.

And when that day came and I completed the final episode of the last Sex and the City show ever – I was done. It was finished. Yeah, there were questions, but that was all she wrote and I knew I had to accept it. I remember the rumors and buzz that a movie would come out soon after that, but then it faded away. And eventually, I let that fantasy go.

So imagine the excitement I felt when I heard the movie was actually coming out this year …Well, that’s just it – there was no excitement from me.

I’ve mustered up as much as I could to be ecstatic as everyone from my friends to Oprah are about this Sex and the City movie, but I keep coming up with nothing. It just seems about three years too late, irrelevant and basically nonsensical to me.

I’ve watched the preview commercials with the vivid colors and humorous quips, but it just feels predictable and tired to me. They almost look tired to me. Like they’re trying too hard. And that kind of makes me sad.

I know my opinion is in the minority, it may even seem almost blasphemous to hardcore SATC fans… And truthfully, if coerced enough, I’ll likely be in a movie theater line somewhere, at some point to see it. Furthermore, if it turns out I'm wrong I will gladly concede the point.

But from the commercials and stuff, it just looks like an extended, big-screen version of the latest episode from the show that once dwelled in the archives somewhere and has been brought back to life. And maybe that’s the whole point, but for me it just seems like the thrill is gone.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I don't need any more proof

If you think all the talk about rising food prices is a bunch a smoke, you're wrong.

At first, I didn't notice minor changes like the cost of my favorite pasta meals increasing by about 50 cents or how the price of milk kept rising and eventually costing more than a gallon of gas at one-point (FYI: milk is now a luxury for me).

But after my favorite hometown chicken place kept increasing its prices, rising food costs hit home.

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Southern Classic Chicken. I mean I absolutely love it. I've even dreamt about its greasy goodness before. And one of the things I loved most about the chicken shack was its low-low price.

I could get a two-piece combo meal--complete with white-meat chicken pieces, fries, a roll and a drink--preferably lemonade--for $3.75 when I first arrived in Shreveport in October 2006.

Later on, sometime in 2007, the cost for that meal got bumped up to $4.07. Then it changed to $4.40. This year, that price climbed to over $5.00.

I thought the lady at the drive-thru window was mistaken when she told me the price. I automatically handed her a $5-bill. I was expecting change. She told me I needed to add more change.

I looked at her funny. She noticed my confused stare and said, "the price went up."


I gave her the needed change and I was completely irritated.

What good is bragging to my mother about Southern Classic ("You can't beat them with a stick if you tried," I used to tell her. "The food is sooooooo good and its doesn't cost but $3.") if it costs just as much as any other fast-food joint?

This cost increase has deterred how much I go to Southern Classic (or S.C. as I sometimes abbreviate when inviting coworkers to join me there). I don't want to pay that much for chicken. And I don't wanna pay that much for milk or pasta meals either. Don't even get me started on gas prices (I've spent nearly $60 to fill up my Toyota Solara).

What's a girl to do?

I guess cough up the money when necessary and spend more wisely like everybody else.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Are you ready for curbside recycling?

Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover announced today that citywide curbside recycling will start in August. Residents should start receiving their blue bins in June.

Many of our readers may live in apartments, and officials with Pratt Industries, the company that is building a paper mill at the Port of Shreveport-Bossier and is handling recycling collection for the city, say complex managers can call them to get community bins.

What are your thoughts? Will you participate, and do you think others will? Is the timing good or a little late?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dresses, weight and grandmothers

I think I'm going to develop a weight complex.

I'm in my cousin's wedding next week. I was a last-minute addition to the ordeal, so I only recently got my dress. And it had to be altered because I couldn't fit a certain region of my body into the top portion of the strapless gown.

And do you know what the alteration ladies told me?

One said, "You've got til Saturday. Just skip a couple of meals and it will fit. Even if it's just water weight it'll be enough."

The other said, "There's no telling how many meals you've eaten since you ordered this dress. Luckily, you only need a little bit of room."


The entire time I was being fitted, my mind kept flashing back to my visit to Nashville last week.

I was putting on lotion and my grandmother walked in and noticed my beautiful legs. She stared at me and exclaimed, "My God, Ashley! You and those hips. Those legs are getting big. I don't know what we're going to do about them! It's lucky that you don't have a big, ole' fat stomach or I don't know what we would do."

My goodness.

I have gotten bigger over the past couple of years. But I'm not in college anymore. I guess this is what happens when you start a career and move away from home.

But I don't quite understand why folks keep talking about my weight and insist I'm "lucky."

I guess I should be glad I don't have a "big, ole' fat stomach."


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Let's talk about online dating

Now that the poll is closed, we wanted to continue the conversation about online dating. Ten of you have dated someone you met online, and nine haven't.

So let's hear more about it. How did it work out? Are you still dating this person, or was it a disaster? Did you ever feel unsafe once you met this stranger in person? Or did you just keep your dating life virtual?

Chime in about this online lovin'.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A disaster's a disaster, but this puts things into perspective

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Louisiana homeland security Director Mark Cooper. We talked about a lot of things: his time at Parkway High School, communication systems and disaster response. One of the interesting things he said was that a tornado in a rural parish can be just as devastating for a small town as Hurricane Katrina was to New Orleans.

I appreciate that perspective on many levels. I grew up in the country and am aware of how folks in places like Webster Parish can be overlooked when something (natural disaster or otherwise) happens.

But I can't help but think how much worse things could be, and how fortunate we are. With the cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in China, the number of those feared dead is in the tens of thousands. And to make things worse, the government in Myanmar is blocking much of the aid the United States and other countries are trying to send.

Any thoughts? Should we count our blessings or just keep things in perspective?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What would your mother say?

Today is the 100th anniversary of Mother's Day. Contrary to what you might think, card companies and restaurants didn't create it. A West Virginia woman named Anna Jarvis did.

And according to this Associated Press article, she wouldn't like the way many of us celebrate it today. Here is an interesting quotation writer April Vitello got from Laura Prieto, an associate professor of women's studies at Boston's Simmons College:

"Mother's Day was meant to be — and still is — a celebration of a nineteenth-century ideal of motherhood, when mothers were supposed to dedicate themselves completely to nurturing their children and making a cozy, safe home," Prieto said.

Apparently Jarvis, who never had children, even got arrested for protesting a New York Mother's Day celebration in 1948.

So what did you (or your loved ones) do for Mother's Day? And would Jarvis be mad?

Just for fun — as you ponder your answer — think about these factoids from the article:

  • Census Bureau's count of U.S. mothers: 83 million.
  • National Retail Federation's estimate for U.S. Mother's Day spending: $15 billion.
  • Year President Woodrow Wilson made the holiday a nationwide observance: 1914.
  • Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    Does Miley know best?

    I thought the hoopla over Vanity Fair pictures of Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) would die quickly, but it hasn't.

    For those that maybe haven’t heard, there's an article about the 15-year-old with pictures where she appears to pose naked with just a sheet draped around her (but in fact she’s not entirely naked which you can see in this behind the scenes slideshow) in the magazine's June issue.

    I’m not saying it’s not a big deal…it is. I guess my problem is who some think is at fault. Disney reportedly issued a statement accusing Vanity Fair and photographer Annie Leibovitz (known for her kind of racy photos) of taking advantage of a 15-year-old.

    Really? Did they? Or did they pitch an idea to this girl and her parents and handlers, all of which were on the set and are OK with the photos?

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…it starts at home. Yes, young Miley has a very different childhood than others, but does that make her parents any less responsible for her actions?

    Also, when are these Disney and Nickelodeon kids going to learn that the clean-cut image they portray for their day jobs has to continue into every waking moment of their lives? I mean it’s what they get paid the big bucks for, right? (And I mean big. Portfolio estimates Cyrus will be worth $1 billion in the next three years.)

    But I guess both sides could be argued.

    While I take issue with Cyrus’ parents, I'm not sure other parents should let their kids become so dependent on a fictional character or celebrity that one slip-up from that celeb could affect a child and their behavior. I don’t know if Cyrus should have had to apologize to other kids, and their parents, for doing something that she wanted to do.

    I'm not sure yet which side I agree with the most, but what do ya’ll think? Were all the discussions and finger-pointing necessary? And do you think the pictures are that bad?
    And just because I'm curious...which picture would you think catch people's attention? The one of Cyrus and her father Billy Ray Cyrus that looks more like man and woman than father and child...

    ...or the one that's causing the stir?

    photos from

    Sunday, May 04, 2008

    Cell phones and driving don't mix

    Recently, I was trying to find a parking space at Wal-Mart when a woman cut through the parking lot nearly causing an accident. I laid on my horn, but she didn't even look up.
    She was on her cell phone.
    I have a million of these stories. It happens at least once a week.
    I'm not suggesting that cell phones be totally banned from vehicles, but something needs to be done.
    It would be great if people would use common sense and not engage in long conversations while driving, but that may be asking too much.
    I admit that I use my cell phone while driving, but only quickly, usually less than 30 seconds. Nine times out of 10, it's to call my wife to tell her I'm on my way home. That other time is when people call me.
    Our state legislature has gotten involved, and there are several bills in the works that would affect the way people use cell phones while driving.
    I hate to say it, but I agree that a law is the only way to go. Enforcement will definitely be an issue, but that's an issue for every crime, whether it be speeding, stealing or murder.
    Once again, we have proved that we can not govern ourselves. We need someone to do it for us.

    Friday, May 02, 2008

    Inflation woes :0(

    So, I was pretty irritated today after I went down to the Coke machine to buy a 'pop' (yes, I still call it such even after four years of living in Louisiana). I was SHOCKED and annoyed when "1.15" popped up on the window instead of the machine moving to get me a soda for $1.10. I wonder if this is due to gas prices?

    I was already thinking about blogging about gas prices because it hit me hard the other day when I stopped to look at the price of gas. "Are we REALLY paying $3.47 for gas?" I said aloud. Now, I doubt I'll ever be asked to give my opinion about gas prices, seeing as how I drive a Corolla and probably wouldn't be targeted for interviews by newscrews. So I'm giving my opinion here.

    Even though I fill up less often and pay LESS for a tank of gas than others, I still think $3.47 (or whatever today's price happens to be) is OUTRAGEOUS. But I'll still keep pulling my debit card out when I need to fill up every two weeks or so. Hey, I don't complain much about gas because I know I really only fill up about once per pay period unless I'm traveling. But I DO remember when I traveled to Las Vegas on my way to Louisiana and thought $2.05 was a good bargain for gas in that city in February 2004. Once I made my way into the desert, the price dropped to $1.65 and I was intrigued by the change after just a few 100 miles on the highway. Oh, and at the time, I had a 22 gallon tank in an old 1993 Chevy Caprice Classic, so I THOUGHT I had it rough then!!!

    So, what do YOU think about these higher gas prices? Do you see inflation anywhere else around you? And, how about those oil companies? (Do you think, "Don't even get me started"? Please do!)

    Thursday, May 01, 2008

    Summer repeat

    Like most of Generation Y, I have a considerable amount of debt.

    Debt that sometimes makes me shudder or gives me goosebumps when I think about it. So instead of complaining about it (as I hear many of my fellow Gen Y-ers), I've been trying to find a second job--a place where I could work on the weekends to bring in some extra cash to help pay off my debt.

    But no one will hire me.

    Since I cover education news, summertime is best for me to take on extra work. There are less school board meetings and, of course, less school events to cover. I thought it'd be ideal for me to get a job this summer, but as I stared a thank-you-for-applying postcard from my absolute favorite big box store I realized it's never going to happen.


    And this isn't the first time it's happened. Last summer I applied to about half-dozen places but I came away with no job. I remember standing in a home decor store explaining to a manager that I have already graduated from college. For some reason, she kept asking if I was still in school. I told her I wasn't several times, but she didn't get it.

    Another place asked where I worked full-time. When I told this manager, her face lit up and she asked me lots of questions about what it was like being a reporter. Apparently, she'd been interested in journalism, but she never finished school, she said. After I answered all her questions, she told me she didn't think she could hire "someone like you."


    Someone like me? Is it because I'm a reporter? Or, is it because I already work 40-plus hours a week and I won't be available during those hours? Or, is it because I'm not a current college student or among the 87 percent of the state's population who doesn't have a college degree?

    I changed the way I respond to certain questions so potential employers won't think I'm snobbish or I won't take my second job seriously. I've even tried to omit my full-time job from applications so they won't get scared I'm going to write something bad about them.

    I've got one more application out. I hope it materializes into a position at the new high-end purse store opening in one of the malls.

    Meantime, I've got my rejection postcard on my fridge.