Monday, July 27, 2009

Not "The Answer Girl"

I just watched "The Answer Man" this weekend, with Jeff Daniels and Lauren Graham. The story is (more or less) this: a man writes a book about his conversations with the Almighty, publishes it and becomes a worldwide phenomenon. He encounters many people, including two new friends, who really need answers to help them through difficult times, but he is reluctant in what he tells them. He avoids interviews, fans, etc. {SPOILER ALERT} In the end, he admits that he, in fact, did not have the conversations with God but rather wrote the questions he had for the Almighty and responses he would have liked to have received. In other words, he was human like the rest of us, without all the answers. (there's more to the story than that, and I do recommend you see the whole movie...)

Now, I can hardly compare this story with my life. However, lately, I've had a few good people ask for my advice on things like career changes, whether or not to get into a relationship, whether or not to get out of a relationship, and how to handle all things considered. I appreciate that these good people come to me and trust me to give a bit of insight. When it comes down to it, all I can do is examine the facts put before me, look at all sides as best as I can, and listen to my heart. But I don't have all the answers.

Also, in my experience, giving advice is a touchy subject - even when solicited. You ask me for feedback? Then, feedback you shall receive. But, it seems, often, that people don't always appreciate the advice unless it's something they want (or expect) to hear. I'll tell you this - you may be as close as blood to me, but I will always try to be impartial and fair and realistic. You want the moon and stars to come down to you because you think you deserve them? Fine. But, please don't expect me to tell you that you're the world's best astronaut.

At the very least, I have this request: if you ask me for advice, please listen. You don't have to follow it, but just listen. I've invested some of my time to give you honest feedback because I care about you. Maybe my advice totally sucks. Again - I don't have all the answers. But an open ear and a "thank you" are always appreciated...someday, I may need your advice.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Benefit Bike Run This Weekend!

Ok, just a little plug here for fundraiser happening THIS SUNDAY, JULY 19 for a very important cause...For all ya'll in the NJ/PA/NY area:

The Official Info
Liberty Towers (in Newton, NJ) will host its 5th annual Benefit Bike Run on Sunday, July 19th, rain or shine, starting and ending at VFW Post 5360, Newton to aid residents of Sussex County’s only senior public housing authority. AMA Sanctioned/Escorted Ride. Registration: 9-11am at VFW Post 5360, Mill Street, Newton, NJ. $20 rider,$10 pass. The escorted run will go through scenic Sussex and Warren counties. The day will end with a picnic, raffles, door prizes, music and vendors til 3 pm. For info: 973-383-5191 ext.23. NO BIKE? NO PROBLEM! Chicken BBQ for $10 each (pre-registered) and $12 at door.

The Real Deal
No bike (like me)? Don't even ride (like me?) Don't even own a leather jacket of any kind (like me?) Not to worry! It's a fun day regardless. I have to disclose that my sister is the Executive Director of Newton Housing Authority (among other things), so I got in at the ground floor when this event started 5 years ago. Since then I've seen the crowds quadruple from that first race. And it's really impressive to see hundreds and hundreds of bikes lined up, motors rumbling in those low tones that make your chest vibrate (in a good way)...then to see the bikes rolling, two by two for as far as the eye can see down a country just have to experience it.

And, "why would I want to do that" you may ask. Because I said you should, that's why. And because you'd be helping to improve the quality of life for a growing population of low-income senior citizens through the Newton Housing Authority. It's a win-win.

So...the weather's going to be great, the crowd will be excited, the food is going to be delicious, prizes are to be given out (I'll probably be working that table, so I'll see what I can do to help you in that department), and the bikes will be LOUD! Come on and join us!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Triteness of It

I just read this story on about how the word "absolutely" is overused these days. While the piece itself seems like it should be a feature in The Onion rather than a credible news outlet of CNN's stature, the article does kinda have a point.

I mean, when you stop and think how often you hear the word (or say it), you realize its frequency far exceeds its need. Totally. I myself try to switch off between "absolutely" and "definitely" just to mix things up a bit to prevent sounding like a broken record. I'm not even sure why I use those words rather than "yes," "for sure," or the ever-popular "indubitably." As the article says, "absolutely" sounds solid and confident. That is, until it doesn't, when it becomes a hackneyed soundbite that cannot carry the punch we think it will.

Although the article is referring to confident language in not-so-confident times, the principle really applies to other words. One word that irks me is "actually," not only because it's overused, but because alot of people tend to use it incorrectly. If something happened, it happened. You don't need to throw "actually" in the mix as every other word to make your point. Another one is "yeah." I say this like there's no tomorrow; I'm casual like that. A former coworker of mine hated using the word so much that she forced herself to not say it; she thought it sounded childish and, as it were, not confident. I supposed she could have used "absolutely."

There are a ton of other words that irritate the heck out of me for being overused. What words do you either say, or hear others say, way too much? (please keep this clean!)