Monday, September 30, 2013

Say what?

Every Tuesday and Thursday the Princess gets whisked to preschool by the Queen leaving me in a joyfully quiet house.  I can collect my thoughts and silently work to my heart's content with only the sounds of my keyboard click-clacking away.  Twice a week, from 8:10 to 3:50, I live in a bubble of self-absorption. And I love it.

Except for the days when the Queen cannot take the child and I have to drive. On those days, I gather together my papers, my computer and my headphones and trek the thirty minutes to drop her off at school.  To save gas and an hour I then head over to the local McDonald's to partake in a Number 3 meal (steak-ish McMuffin, Deep Fried Cardboard, and a large coffee), log into the free wi-fi, and plug in my headphones.  For seven hours I type away to the sounds of my iTunes account and the glares of annoyed fast food workers.

But last Thursday I forgot my headphones and I subjected myself to the chatter of all the groups that inhabited the booth behind me.  Lewis Black has a comedy bit about how unusual snippets of a conversation can eat your brain (see it here), and now I truly understand from where brain aneurysms come.  The amount of disorienting statements that burrowed themselves under my hippocampus has been staggering.  Five days later and I still mull over their meaning.  It's a miracle I'm still alive.

What did I hear?  I'll tell you, but be sure that you have excellent catastrophic event insurance.
  •  Why does my monster keep eating all my babies? 
    A better question: why do you have a baby-eating monster at all?  I thought they were illegal in most states--like ferrets.
  • Where's my coffee?  Don't these people know that I have to poop?
    I'm not sure why a cup of coffee is needed for bowel movements...I mean after you already have to poop.  Needless to say, I avoided the bathroom for the remainder of the day.
  • I'd go to Ren Fair, but I don't know where my coconut codpiece is.
    Please be sarcasm, please be sarcasm, dear God please be sarcasm.
  • I don't feel so good today.

    Does your back hurt?

    Why would you say that to me?
    Whatever you do, don't mention this dude's back.  It's bad news.
  • Fred would be much cooler if he didn't have those gigantic bats.
    That goes without saying.
I didn't get much done on Thursday, but on the upside I am meeting a nice doctor this week to go over treatment options.  I'm confident that by next month I will use my fork independently again. 

P.S. I did not embed the Lewis Black video not because I don't know how, but because it contains some language not fit for school.  Click on the link at your own peril, but the guy can throw around a pretty mean adverb.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Passing those Painful Milestones

he trouble with being a writer is the constant battle of the pen meeting the paper.  Of course, I don't use pen and paper.  It would be easier finding a Showbiz Pizza Token from 1986 in our house than locating a notebook or legal pad without Princess scribbles on every page, and a pen that would actually dispense ink on a consistent basis is the type of folklore that gets passed down from father to son.  I also can't switch to play Counterstrike when I'm stuck on a particular word with my good ol' Quill Gold Signature Ruled Pad. Anyways, writing equals hard. 
When I asked professional writers how they get over things like writers block, they simply state that I needed to quit all paying work, sit down, and write approximately 17,967,084,302 words per day.  It doesn't matter if I wrote illegibly, or coherently, or even copied the phone book (which would be 2,245,885,539 entries per day), word count mattered.  I call it the Monkey-With-Typewriter method of writing.  
However, I don't like intentionally writing crap.  Now, most of my stuff IS crap, but that's more happenstance.  When I spew out literary vomit just to get something on paper, I become agitated and depressed.  While some people will state that repetitiveness sparks creativity, my incoherence begets incompetence.  I did try this method of clocking in for a month straight, but became so frustrated that I gave it up for the sake of sanity.  Can I really be proud of my "work" when the only lucid piece I produced was a theme song for Breaking Bad?

Then one day I started thinking, which certainly gave me pause.  What would happen if I treated writing like I treated my video gaming?  Every modern game now comes with a pre-packaged set of milestones that rewards me when I happen to achieve it.  Mostly the rewards are meaningless Gamer Points, but when they pop up on the screen they do give me a boost of motivation.  Some even unlock special rewards that make the game more enjoyable.  Could I set a list of milestones that would help me "level up" my writing, thus inspire me to write quality stuff on a more consistent basis?

I'll spare you the list of my milestones for my quest to become published, but I will subject you to some on my current list for Losing the Internets.  Also included are the reward I get if I achieve the milestone:
  • Get a mention on Social media from someone I don't know: (Tripping the Nerd Fantastic)

    Find out other ways to promote blog.  Follow up on one method.  Cancel lifetime resolution to not make any more friends.
  • Get over 1,000 page views for blog in total:
    Set up non-intrusive ads so papa can get paid!
  • Get a comment from someone I don't know: (The Future of Waiting)
    If good -- write post on subject no one will care about.  If bad -- consider career in Tibetan Monkery.
  • Get 100 page views for a single post:
    Create dedicated Facebook page
  • Get asked to guest write another person's blog OR guest write on my blog:
    Create page of blogs I read on a regular basis
  • Write for 1 year or 100 posts:
    Create widget of the Queen's favorite ten posts
  • Get 10,000 page views on blog
    Reveal the location of the Jade Monkey.
And so on and so on.  This may not be the best way to write, but I'm not the best writer.  So enjoy the ramblings, and thank you for reading.  It looks like I'll be doing this for a while, because if nothing else, I'm a completer.

P.S. These same writers also told me it would help if I was a lawyer or ex-CIA operative and could write thrilling spy dramas.  I should never write children's picture books, because no one will publish them, and if I do make sure there are no talking animals in them.  Stories only work when your protagonist suffers, so try not to give them any happiness.  One even told me to develop a drinking and/or drug habit, but that seems expensive.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Future of Waiting

In the magical time of 1989, I dreamed of an utopian future where technology transformed every aspect of my life.  Flying time machine DeLoreans, dust-repellent paper, mind control video games, and toilet faxes would populate this world.  Everything would work instantly, from re-hydrating a pizza in 15 seconds, to receiving a facelift in under 30 minutes.  At the very least, I thought we would have instant drying clothes that form fit to your body with a touch of the button--very handy when falling into fountains off the hoverboard.

Now, I know that we come a long way since the Apple IIGS, but we're nowhere near the awesomeness predicted by the futuristic film Back to the Future Part II.  I blame a little on over-ambition.  For example, in order for Jaws 16 to come out in 2015, that means we would have to have had a new Jaws movie every two years.  That might have happened if we accomplished instantaneousness.  However, the computer companies would never let that happen.  It would corrode their power.

How do our computer overlords keep us enslaved?  One word: updates.

Here is my typical day involving technology:
  • Wake up and make coffee.  All is right in the world.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the puppy is licking itself happily.  Look away and get my laptop open to start work before the Princess wakes up to take my full, undivided attention.
  • "Windows will make important automatic updates.  Any attempts to stop us will result in the loss of your first born.  These updates are crucial.  We know that you used your laptop yesterday without a problem, but that was yesterday.  We live in a more dangerous time.  Just trust us." 
  • A countdown timer appears daring me to cut the red wire before my computer explodes and takes out the city.  Switch to the Xbox while I wait for the computer to "fix" itself.  If I can't work I might as well save the world from aliens.
  • "To use this device, an update is required.  If you refuse the update you will not be able to use the device.  You have the right to refuse, but then instead of a multi-media gaming machine, you will just have a $250 paper weight.  I don't care if you just want to play a four-year-old game.  You're in our world now." 
  • Select yes, put down controller, and back away from the machine slowly.  Decide to check email off the ol' iPhone.  At least I can check in on all that important spam.
  • "This application will only work with an update to your iOS system.  Unfortunately, you only have an iPhone 3GS.  That was released, like, three years ago.  Our iOS system cannot be updated on the 3GS.  Buy a newer phone, jerk.  After all, what's $299 between friends?"
  • Go back to bed and curl up in the fetal position.
Maybe its better that we aren't as up-to-date as Hill Valley, 2015.  Midway through a morning jog, you would jerk to a stop in the middle of the street while your self-lacing shoes had to perform a mandatory update, thus getting hit by a hover car whose steering has been disabled to perform the crucial navigation patch.  After all, this is the...

Crap, mandatory Java update.

PS: What, strange person reading this over my shoulder at the library, Back to the Future Part II wasn't an attempt to predict 2015 life?  Next you'll tell me that The Little Mermaid doesn't accurately portray undersea life.  And that, my nonfriend, is a world I don't want to live in!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Eternal Sunshine of the Fractured Mind

For some reason I have been living in a consistent cloud of randomness.  My brain has refused to focus enough for me to decide on an engaging and thoughtful topic in which to write about.  My head just feels like its stuffed filled with an odd assortment of snippets that don't have any correlation to each other, and each one is jockeying to become the most important part of my cognitive thought.  It's like I'm a two-year-old looking for <insert analogy here>.

I'm thinking if I write these thoughtoids down, then perhaps my mind will free itself so I can expound on my daughter's new-found skin sensitivities.  Or how I want to move to Indianapolis.  Or how my sister dressed me up like a girl and my elementary school principal thought I was a new student.  But for today, here comes my list of nothing.

  • I'm over the term "Man Cave" as a room filled with TVs and beer.  Where is the Woman Plateau or the Dog Fjord?  I just want equal time.
  • Can we stop referring to "flat-screen televisions"?  When was the last time you bought a tube television?  You can call me on your push-button phone to tell me your answer.
  • Dear Yahoo! News comment writer.  If this story about Miley Cyrus wasted your time, why did you click the link?  And read the article?  And write a comment?  And input the secret code to verify your humanness? I'm not sure your time is a valuable as you think.
  • If you haven't caught Garfield minus Garfield yet, you should.  Its a site "dedicated to removing Garfield from the comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle."  Its genius.
  • Last month in Meijer, the Princess told the Queen that "these are not the droids you're looking for."  I was so proud I almost cried.  Then the next day, she greeted her friend at school with an earsplitting "GENCON!"  Sometimes its good to be a geek
  •  Play Doh should come out with a Star Wars Jabba the Hut set where you can make a Han Solo frozen in carbonite.  They should also make a Harry Potter Pimp Goblet of Fire and a Breaking Bad home meth candy cooking set.  You can order these products and more on your push-button phone.
  • If every decision I make splits off into making another reality, then there is a dimension where I didn't just pick lint out of my belly button.  That, sir, is not a place I ever want to live.
  • After the Princess received a Disney fairy hair salon, a Doc McStuffins costume, 12 Disney princess figurines, a toddler Ariel doll, numerous Disney bags and a working model monorail set, I now realize that Disney serves as my Lord and Master.  All hail Mickey!
There, that's better.  Next post I can write about why why my friendly neighborhood postal worker hates us in a fully thought out essay.  Sometimes you just need to clean out the cobwebs so you can truly it hummus or hommus?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

This Post is Absolutely Fee!

For reading this post, you owe a $20.00 activation fee.

If you stop reading this blog for any reason, you will be charged a $150.00 early-termination fee.  And don't give me any sob story of your grandma having to use the computer to check WebMD for signs of having a stroke, my hands are tied.

Unfortunately, we will have to impose a $65.00 changing fee if you switch posts midway through your read, even if one post did not load correctly.

Of course, there is the processing fee of $18.00 for typing in this URL.

If you are reading this post on a mobile phone, then please remit the $5.00 convenience fee.

Reading this post while holding something in your hands (even a mouse) will result in a $25.00 baggage fee.

If you are reading with another person peering annoyingly over your shoulder, then its a $7.00 extra person fee.  If that extra person is a child under 2, then the fee is waived.  Babies are adorable and should be granted preferential treatment.

By the way, do not forget the $125.00 remote technology fee.  Failure to pay will result in your remotes spontaneously combusting at only the most inopportune of times.

All pets are welcome to read this blog (except birds.  I hate birds.  And certain kinds of alpacas), although there will be a $325.00 non-refundable deposit required for cleaning and stuff like that.

I feel generous today, so I'll pick up the shipping & handling, but I am going have to charge a $3.00 regulation-recovery fee.  I'm not sure what government regulation we need to recover from, but I'm thinking perhaps the Affordable Care Act.  Yeah, I hear that on the news.  Or perhaps interstate commerce laws.  You know, both may be a problem.  That's another $3.00.

All in all, you owe this blog between $164.00 - $746.00 depending on your personal choices.  You may pay by cash, check, and online via credit card (although please add 2.8% for credit card processing fees).  If you don't pay by the time I add another post, there will be a $35.00 late fee.

Also, if you can't pay, you will be charged for insufficient funds, because there's nothing better than charging those who have no money $50.00.

Thank you,
The Management

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Great Kazoo

If I ever meet Warren Herbert Frost, remind me to punch him square in the nose.  Except I think he died in the early 1900's, so meeting him is kinda out of the question.  I guess I can exhume his corpse, and then punch him in the nose, but that seems like a lot of work.  I would have to find out where he was buried, then find a shovel, and then probably get gas for the car before I leave...  Besides, if I were to bet on who would win in a nose punching match, I would put money on the dead guy.

Who is Warren Herbert Frost?  He's the bastard that invented the instrument of torture called the kazoo.  Some kazoologists may argue that George D. Smith stands as the true inventor of the kazoo, but those people are stupid.  George D. Smith only gave the instrument its illustrious submarine shape in 1902.  Warren Herbert Frost actually submitted a patent for "an instrument or toy" which bore the name kazoo in 1883.   It was patent number #270,543, just in case you want to look it up.  I did, and I'm a better man for it.

Patent for parent torture device by Warren Herbert Frost

I made the mistake of giving the Princess a kazoo that I got free at a children's conference.  "Hey a kazoo," I remember thinking.  "I had one of these as a kid, and I loved it.  I wonder what happened to it."  What happened is my parents stole the instrument and melted it in a big vat of hydrochloric acid, so it could never be used again.  I know this because I just ordered a vat of hydrochloric acid off of so I can destroy hers without any evidence left behind. (Don't worry, my hydrochloric acid comes with a child safety cap.)

If you haven't ever heard a child playing with a kazoo, then you were born deaf.  Children play kazoos so loudly that neighbors as far as four houses down will board up their windows thinking that a swarm of musically inclined killer bees have just attacked.  I made the mistake of sending the Princess outside to play her kazoo, and now I'm being fined by our housing association.  Our dog even left the house and checked into a Ramada Inn sixty miles away from us.  He won't come back until all kazoos have left the premises and we sign a legal, binding contract that we will not let any kind of membranophones in the house ever again.  I had to look up membranophone in Wikipedia before I agreed (an instrument which modifies its player's voice by way of a vibrating membrane), and then added an attachment that the dog cannot use words that I don't understand.

Fortunately, the kazoo may be loud, but at least it sounds horrible.  You have to hum into the device to get it to produce a buzzing sound, although realistically, you get the pleasure of hearing both the hum and the buzz.  To an accomplished kazoo player, the dual sounds can make you stab yourself in the ear with a number 2 pencil.  To a child playing the kazoo as loud as she can, the noise creates an instant migraine headache that only can be resolved by supplying said child with copious amount of M&M's and letting her watch all the Micky Mouse Clubhouse she can stand.  Thankfully, the Princess usually refrains from her kazoo playing until I'm on an important phone call.

I'm at my wits end.  I tried hiding the kazoo, but she found it.  I tried throwing it away, but as if by the magic of annoyance, the damn thing reappeared two days later.  We had hoped that when she fell directly on it, that it would be crushed beyond recognition.  But it was perfectly designed to resist blunt force trauma.  The Princess even slipped me a brochure about visiting the world famous Kazoo Factory and Museum in Beaufort, South Carolina.  I guess I'll just sit here and wait for the hydrochloric acid to arrive.