Friday, May 29, 2009

This post brought to you under duress... (Sweetie's Hunk of the Week 18)

Sweetie's Hunk of the Week is "Bailey Chase."

You/Sweetie Know Him As: The guy who was having computer trouble on a re-run of Criminal Minds" Sweetie was watching last night, prompting her to say "I know who my Hunk of the Week is. It's Bailey Chase."

I know him as: The single most generic looking, generically-named guy Sweetie has ever named a hunk of the week. It's like he's a Ken doll or GI Joe character. Plus, that name? Bailey Chase? It's got to be a stage name, and a boring, forgettable one at that. You could reverse it and it'd be just as forgettable. Even now, I can't think of what he looks like -- and there's a picture of him right there! Plus, this morning, I woke up thinking "Who was it again? Champ Bailey? Chace Crawford? Bailey's Irish Whiskey?"

Thing That Makes You Go Hmmm About Him: On his website, you can request an autographed photo, provided your "request" is accompanied by "Fifteen bucks." Make checks payable to "Karri Philips." The site also takes pains to note that none of the money goes to Bailey Chase (Chase Bailey? Chailey Base?) personally. Plus, the site doesn't give any hint as to who "Karri Philips" is.

Also, check out the other characters "Bailey Chase" has played: "Lincoln Haver." "Becks Scott." "Graham Miller." "Christian Gorman." It's like there's a "Generic Name Generator" that activates around him. The only cool name of any character he's ever played? "Marty 'The Meat Machine' Mayron."

I would send him $15 if he promised to always refer to himself from here on out as "Bailey The Meat Machine Chase."

Reason I Tell Myself Sweetie Likes Him: I don't have a reason. I can barely remember he exists. And, again, his picture's right there! I assume Sweetie needed some blandness in her life, the way people are supposed to eat roughage. Or she was just bored.

Actual Reason Sweetie Likes Him: "He's a babe."

Point I'd Like To Make About Sweetie's Actual Reason For Liking Him: Um. Okay. I guess. Who are we talking about again?

P.S.: For all his blandosity, Bailey Chase inspires strong emotions in Sweetie. When I joked about getting his name ("Chasey Bail?") wrong, she said, and I quote: "If you mess this up, I swear to God I'll kick your ***"

Thor really did fly that way.

Have you ever flown? Not "flown" like "sat in a plane and wished the guy next to you wouldn't hog up both armrests, while trying to see out that little rectangle window," but "flown" like "face in the wind, arms outstretched, just you and the sky and the breeze and the thrill."

Of course you haven't "flown" that way. Nobody has, except Superman. And Thor, I suppose. Thor flew by throwing his hammer really, really hard, and then catching onto the handle. Did you know that?

I'm getting distracted. Maybe you can't "fly" like Superman or Thor, but you can get as close to it as we mortals come, by riding the Manta at SeaWorld.

The "Manta" is the newest ride at SeaWorld and it's the newest reason I want to head on down there: A roller coaster where you lay on your stomach and ride it that way, as though you were soaring through the sky -- or underwater, because part of the ride takes you past and around an aquarium where actual Mantas are kept, so you can have the experience of cruising through an undersea world before you roll and twist and turn your way through an exhilarating ride experience.

And SeaWorld is giving you a chance to show what you know about the Manta, while earning free photographs and the ability to jump the line. Click that Manta link above and you'll get a chance to "Participate and Win" the Manta quiz, a game in which you answer five questions and win free stuff like photos and ride-skipping passes.

I've already done my part and am waiting for my email confirming that I'm a master of Manta knowledge -- and that I'll get free stuff. Now you click on over and get ready to fly the Manta. Or something like that. I'm not in charge of slogans.


The Christian Bale Dance Remix was cool, though...(Mourning Gnus, 5/29/09)

What, no introduction? I just couldn't think of one today. So I'll go straight to the Gnus...

The Alternate Ending I Wanted? Christian Bale Taps His Heels Together, Closes His Eyes, And Chants "It's F-Ing Distracting!" As everybody in the world decides that yeah, "Terminator: Salvation" really sucked, the director and the star are saying it's not their fault, because they wanted, really wanted, to make a good movie -- but you stupid movie viewers wouldn't have liked it.

Director/Idiotically-Named Doofus "McG" says that he and Christian Bale wanted to do an ending where Christian Bale's character ("Batman - the Mask + Guns") would die and then have his skin placed over a machine body, and then would shoot all of the stars of the movie and, to quote "Mc-Dumb":

"Fade to black. End of movie. Skynet wins. F--- you!"

But the reason they couldn't do that? You, you dumb viewer. To quote, again, from "Mc-Loser":
"Can you imagine the oxygen going out of the theater?! What just happened! It would piss you off!"

Yes, because audiences are always mad when they see a good movie. Then again, from what I hear, plenty of people are angry after seeing the movie already, so it couldn't have been worse.

Things That Are No Longer News, Two: Let's add to that list of stories that just aren't news-y anymore. Already on it: people winning TV talent shows, a non-event which is now joined by boys being elected prom queen.

Sergio Garcia -- not the golfer -- was elected prom queen at his Los Angeles high school, culminating in a story that persistently continues to not be news or even interesting.

Why isn't this news? Because this guy did it first, and because this guy did it for homecoming a long time ago, and this guy was his college's Homecoming Queen, and because this guy was elected prom queen 72 years ago!

Sorry, Sergio. You're not news. Congratulations and all, but quit taking up my morning headlines.

Google Waffle Update: I've dropped off the first page? Not entirely -- but help me out and search for sticky waffle sandwiches and then click through to me. My self-esteem depends on it.

Website of the Day: I sometimes get the feeling that people are trying a little too hard to come up with clever secrets -- and more and more of the secrets are seeming fake the way that home videos began to look more and more staged after America's Funniest Home Videos had been on for a while-- but I still like to check out PostSecret now and then.


Do Pizza Samples Really Exist?

collects up The Best essays you've loved on The Best of Everything -- essays you can't get here anymore -- into one handsome volume, suitable for buying, reading, buying for someone else to read, buying for someone else to give to someone to read, buying because you bought one and then lent it to someone who was too cheap to buy her own and didn't give you yours back and you really want to have a copy in your library...

Click HERE to buy a copy for a price as low as $2.00. Two bucks! That's practically free!

They at least could have ridden on the sidewalk... (Real Time, Real-Er Time, 1)

Everyone knows that time isn't an absolute. There's real time -- measured by clocks-- and real-er time -- measured by us.

Today's Real-Er Time Measurement: The last hill before I get home after work.

On my commute home, the last leg of the journey is a half-mile uphill, at the top of which, I turn right and I'm home. Yesterday, I turned the corner onto that hill, and saw, on the two lanes heading up it, a colossal backup of traffic.

In the left lane was a giant truck moving slowly up the hill carrying some piece of construction equipment. In the right lane was a string of about 50 bikers, all in dopey helmets and spandex, riding slowly up the hill, in twos and threes, forcing all traffic into the left lane behind the Giant Construction Truck.

The Measurement of How Long It Took To Go Up The Hill:
Real Time: 3 minutes.
Real-Er Time: 2 1/2 weeks.

And, if you ask nicely, I might attend YOUR party, too.

I almost never go to company outings. Our firm has a great deal of outings and get-togethers, ranging from informal "Let's order pizza and sit and talk" days to informal "Let's go to that steak restaurant and drink a lot of beer" days to "Let's, for some reason, all take a party bus to a Brewers' game" day to golf outings and Christmas parties and then a day that we all had chili...

I could go on, but I'm getting bored. And that's the thing about these get-togethers and parties and outings: they're boring. They involve, first of all, the people I work with. Which means that what we have in common is... work. So when we're all together at the office, we mostly talk about work. And when we're all together at the restaurant nearby and trying to figure out which of the cheeses on the platter is edible and which is "decorative," we talk about... work.

Plus, the main activity at these things -- drinking -- doesn't do anything to dispel the boredom. While there's always the chance, I suppose, that someone will get hilariously drunk and strip off their pants and insult someone else, that's a slim hope to peg an entire evening on.

The only company party I've gone to in the past few years that I enjoyed was the Casino Christmas party our office manager put together. I went, because I almost always go to the Christmas party, but I went expecting to be bored through two hours of small talk and gross hors d'ouevres and then to go home early.

Instead, I was greeted by not just gross hors d'ouevres mostly of the mushroom-and-shrimp variety, but also a craps table, a roulette table, a blackjack table, and a poker table, all with professional dealers and chips and promising some fun.

Now, I'm not a gambler, not with real money. But this night was awesome: Our office manager had gotten these dealers to come here and they had real chips, which we gambled for, and then we could use the chips to "bid" on Christmas gifts -- so it cost me nothing but I got to learn how to play craps and roulette and have an excellent time. We stayed for nearly four hours -- or about 240 times the length of time I ordinarily want to stay.

It was so cool, I wished we'd just do that everytime: get a little slice of Vegas or Atlantic City at our own company party. I keep bugging the office manager to do just that: To call Dial a Dealer and set up another Casino night.

Dial A Dealer has professional, Vegas-quality dealers just waiting to come out and host your party or Casino night or poker night. They've got tons of ideas on their site for what kind of party to host, and it doesn't have to be company parties, either: They'll do a Murder Mystery Casino Night, so you could combine two great ideas into one, having your guests gamble and solve a mystery, all at once.

And, if you're an aspiring or professional dealer, they'll help you with a casino hire or promoting your own business. All you have to do is click one of those links and you'll be whisked to their site, where you can find professional dealers to host your party, or set yourself up as a professional dealer to host others' parties.

Either way -- attending or hosting a Casino party, it sure beats a night of chili and hoping that you'll get to see that couple from accounting make out.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Awesome Covers of Already Awesome Songs (3)

Ah, the British. Is there anything they can't do? Besides cook, not have a monarchy, and hold onto their colonies, that is?

Okay, so the Brits are maybe underachieving in those areas, but they've got the rest of the world outclassed in one field: awesome music. There's no way a British band could ever be outshone by another singer or band from some other, lesser-musically-inclined country - - and that's especially true if the song in question is one about England.

Ahem. I give you: Gabriela Kulka's version of "London Calling."

Wow. England got totally served. And by someone from Poland. Take that, stereotypes!

Sweetie might not be so alarmed if it was George Clooney coming through the window, but I still don't want him to do that.

I recently came to the conclusion that our house is a sitting duck of vulnerability for thieves who want to get my stuff. The only defense I have currently is that most of my stuff is useless to thieves -- unless there is a thriving black market for "old Calvin & Hobbes' books" and "knick knacks that two year olds threw at the cats."

But someday I hope to have stuff that's worthy of protecting, and when that day comes, I want to be able to protect it properly. I want the kind of security that would have foiled George Clooney in "Ocean's 11." I want the kind of wireless security system that will keep my stuff, my house, and my family safe.

And, um... I'd like it to be affordable, because I'll have spent a lot of money on the stuff that I'm protecting, so I don't want to spend a lot on the stuff to protect the stuff I'm protecting. (Got that?)

That's where GE Home Security comes in. They're protecting America by protecting its houses, and I can get a GE Home Security system protecting up to 10 entry points (the "silver package"), with FREE installation and low monthly fees -- fees that cover constant monitoring and instant alerts when something does go wrong. 10 entry points -- that's front door, back door, side door, and 7 windows -- which is all the windows that a thief (George Clooney) could reach.

So whether it's the kids next door breaking in to get my Calvin & Hobbes books, or George Clooney and Brad Pitt breaking in to get my... Calvin & Hobbes books... GE Home Security can protect me and my family and my stuff.

And, by calling 877-470-2751 to order, I'll get, free, two wireless keychain remotes, so that Sweetie and I can each arm the system remotely.


Why not use spiders to sell silk clothing, while you're at it? (Ad It Up, 2)


Is an ad that I both love and hate. This ad was all over TV for a while a couple of years ago, but I only saw it one time.

That one time that I saw it creeped me out -- I didn't like it, and it didn't make me want to buy fish sticks. To me, people buying fish sticks are doing so because they like fish but don't want to be reminded that it's a fish they're eating. If they wanted to know it was a fish, they'd get the whole fish like they do in restaurants. So I thought reminding people that fish are gross and weird was a terrible way of selling them fish sticks.

But that's not why the ad stuck in my head. It stuck in my head because The Boy and Middle found out that I thought the fish in the ad was creepy, and so they would mimic the fish at me, tilting their heads and moving their mouths wordlessly while going glassy-eyed, until I demanded that they stop.

So, if the goal of this ad was to get me to eat fish sticks, it failed. But if the goal of this ad was to haunt my nightmares, mission accomplished.

What's "Ad It Up?" Click here for more details.

Just Exactly What Life Looks Like...
next book I'm writing. A collection of short stories about cowboys and scientists and safaris and more cowboys and probably an art teacher and there's also one about a bunch of people sitting on a hill...

Look for it online in Summer/Fall 2009. And, for a limited time only, I'm offering a chance to be part of the bold new future of publishing: Sponsor my book! Click here to find out more about this.

Interested in other books I've written? Click here to see them all.

I am a style king!

Because it's between Memorial Day and Labor Day, I let myself dress casually at the office on days other than Friday. (Most of the year, it's ties & coats except for Fridays; in the summer I cut loose with some casual looks.)

This morning, it's a little chilly, though, and I was thumbing through the polo shirts that I've got in my closet -- since most of the time, "Casual" means "Polo Shirts" for men, and I didn't want to wear any of them because it's kind of cold (it's only 55 degrees) and because they're kind of boring.

But what's a guy supposed to do? The only thing I had other than my polo shirts was my "Green Lantern" t-shirt, and then some dress shirts that I supposed I could wear without a tie-- no tie being "casual."

I decided right then and there that I need some new casual clothes. Something cool, like the stuff from the Large Mens Clothing selection at Jacamo. They've got a great collection of summer shirts that aren't polo shirts (though they've got those, too) but aren't garish or underdressed or otherwise office-unacceptable. Stuff like this:The "Joe Brown Summer Living" Shirt. Casual, comfortable... kind of cool, but not too outlandish to wear around a bunch of lawyers, I think.

Hopefully, the stuff I bought today will ship soon so that I don't have to face the kinds of dilemmas I did this morning, and can go back to spending my morning listening to talk radio and mentally accusing the callers of exaggerating stuff.

Oh, and for today's outfit? I went with the Green Lantern t-shirt. But I dressed it up with cufflinks.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A bit of nostalgia.

Remember that scene in Tom Sawyer when he had to trick his friends into whitewashing Aunt Sally's fence because he didn't want to spend all day doing it?

You remember that scene if you're over, I'd say, 35. People over 35 read Tom Sawyer when they were kids and remember that scene, or maybe saw it in the movie with that kid who would (I think) go on to become friends with Sigmund the Sea Monster. People under 35 may not remember that scene because somewhere along the way, people stopped reading and started playing that Nintendo DS thing that has a pencil tapper and Beyonce likes it and also there's recipes for it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you're under 35, you don't know the Tom Sawyer fence-whitewashing story, and won't know it until it gets turned into a video game. (Halo 4: The Fence Whitewashing.)

But us older folks remember it, and understood it, too. If you've ever had to paint or treat a fence, you know exactly where Tom Sawyer was coming from in trying to get out of doing that thankless job.

Now, thanks to modern technology, not only do younger people no longer read, but they also no longer have to whitewash or treat fences the old-fashioned (i.e., hard) way. Instead, they could use the Ronseal Power Sprayer.

This handy little Fence Sprayer is the fastest way to treat a fence. It's cordless, so it can go as far as your fence goes, and never needs to be pumped. It's got a motor that keeps the pressure constant, so the treatment goes on evenly and nicely.

And it can be ordered online -- so you don't need to go driving around to find one. Just order it, and get your fence coated in half the time -- and without the need for any Tom Sawyer-y tricks.

The Rum Punch Review, "Chronicles of the Lensman, Vol. 1" (Part 4)

Part one of this review is here.

Part Two is here.

Part Three is here.

Confused about what a "Rum Punch Review" is? Click here.

I have a bone to pick with Sio, the reader who, on my blog "The Best of Everything," said that the power of the "lens" of E.E. Smith's Lensmen books was, and I quote:

limited only by the inherent level of development of the mind of the wearer -- the more developed the mind, the more they could do, eventually making mind control, clairvoyance, killing with a thought, mental invisibility, and even interdimensional travel, a power the Lens could confer.

(He said that here, nominating it as The Best Superhero Gadget.)

I am about 2/3 of the way through Volume 1 of the Lensmen Chronicles, and I have yet to see anything like mental invisibility, interdimensional travel or mind control or other such cool stuff. All they use this Lens for is talking -- they communicate through telepathy across great distances and compare notes, and, at one point in the most recent episode I read, telepathically communicate with something that's kind of like a barely-sentient Honeycomb rollling across a desert world.

I got to thinking about that over the weekend, about how Sio might have oversold the Lens a bit, and whether he had over sold the Lens a bit.

On one level, Sio clearly oversold the Lens and the Lens is a lot of hype without much actually going for it, kind of like the "Windshield Wonder." With both the Lens and the Windshield Wonder, you'll think two things. First, you'll think Wow, that's kind of neat, and then you'll think But is it really necessary, or even that helpful?

The Lens -- which, as you know if you've been reading these reviews -- is an uncopyable device given to humans (and then other races) to help establish a "Galactic Patrol" which in turn is to help fight against the forces of Eddore in an eons-long fight against evil. Which is all well and good, except... it doesn't do anything!

It just helps people talk. And so far as I can tell, even that's not doing anything helpful. So far in this portion of the book, the Lensmen have been going around first enlisting other Lensmen from other races. The First Lensman, Virgil Samms (who I picture as kind of looking like the Golden Age Superman only without the cape and with a spacesuit) has been traveling around and trying to find other races to help form the Galactic Patrol.

The Galactic Patrol, meanwhile, is mostly offstage, investigating piracy and thionite (a kind of drug) but not doing so with any vigor or excitement.

That's not to say that Virgil's adventures are boring. They're not, at all. He goes to a world where the species can't hear, apparently, and so there's no effort to reduce noise levels and he nearly goes nuts with the loud noises that pummel his senses, at the same time as he's being transported, helter-skelter, on a motorcycle-like thing in a ride that involves multiple collisions for some reason. It's an interesting sequence and well-written, but I kept thinking Why doesn't he use the Lens to protect him or his hearing? Green Lantern would've made some green earmuffs.

And, if the Lens is so good at communicating, why does Virgil Samms have to go to the planet in the first place? Why not just communicate with the race from far away?

Virgil, then, has this Lens that's supposedly all-powerful, but it's all-powerful-osity doesn't help him get to and from planets (he's got a spaceship for that) or get around on those planets (he gets a chauffeured motorcycle or walks in a spacesuit) and even has limitations on its communication abilities, as when he meets an alien that is engaged in some task that he can't even begun to fathom -- not even with the help of the Lens and the alien pantomiming something.

Compare that to what Conway Costigan did without the Lens, in the previous section of the book. Conway, sans Lens, was able to fight off an Eddorian and take over the Eddorian's space station, blowing it to smithereens, and then not once, not twice, but three times was able to escape from the Nevians, a more technologically advanced race. The last time, Conway Costigan, acting alone, killed hundreds, if not thousands, of Nevians en route to stealing their super-spaceship and battling a bunch of other spaceships.

Oh, and as for the Lens' super-communication capabilities? Conway taught himself to fly the Nevians' supership, and also taught himself some Nevian language so that he could communicate with them.

That's what kept running through my mind this weekend: What good is the Lens? (You can see where I am a lot of fun to be around, on the weekends. I'll be playing out in the yard with Mr F and Mr Bunches and these thoughts pop into my head and I've got nobody to talk to about them except two-year-olds, so Mr F and Mr Bunches are now experts on the Lens, too.)

That thought then led to this thought: What good are any superpowers in any books?

Stop and think about that for a second. Have you ever seen a superhero or wizard or other powerful character who, in the end, used his superpowers and didn't have a limitation on them that for some reason required that person to use his or her mental abilities instead of just pounding away?

Throughout literature, characters like Stile The Blue Adept, Gandalf, Superman, and others have always had limitations on their abilities, limitations that are put there for no apparent reason that I can see. Stile The Blue Adept was the most powerful magician in Piers Anthony's The Apprentice Adept series -- but his powers were limited because he invoked his magic by rhyming, and each rhyme could only be used once.

Gandalf wasn't that much of a wizard, either -- as far as I could tell, he used fireworks and could make his staff light up. I've read The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit a couple of times, and I saw the movies, and I cannot recall a single piece of magic Gandalf ever did beyond the ventriloquism thing with the trolls, and it's not magic if it can be done by that guy who used to talk to his hand and say " 'sawright."

Then there's Superman. At one point, before I stopped reading comic books/started dating, Superman's powers had grown to the point where he could move planets, freeze water, melt stuff with his eyes, and, for all I know, implement universal health care/defeat Skynet using just card tricks.

Super Card Tricks.

So why was it, then, that Superman never used those powers? In comic after comic, there'd be some reason he couldn't just pull your card out from behind your ear or fly the bomb up to the sun or someone. There was always a sequence of panels that went like this:

1. Giant Sea Urchins Wash Up In Metropolis and Begin Urchining* the population.
(*I do not know what it is that sea urchins actually do.)

2. Superman flies onto the scene and thinks "Well, I'll just melt these guys and/or show them some Super Sleight of Hand. Heat Vision on!**"
(**Don't you think that Superman must have thought to himself something like heat vision on when he wanted to turn it on? It only makes sense.)

3. Superman, about to melt the Giant Sea Urchins, sees that each of them is, for some reason, carrying an infant human child, and then notices that the infant human children being carried by the Sea Urchins are themselves each carrying Infant Giant Sea Urchins.***

4. Superman thinks "I can't use my superpowers against them! I'll have to find another way" and then he flies off to the ocean, dives down into the Marianas trench, finds the Giant Sea Urchins home city of Urchinopolis, where he searches frantically for the mothers/grandmothers of the Giant Sea Urchins...****
(****I realize I should have another footnote here but I've got nothing, really, to add.)

5. ... realizing along the way that while we see the Giant Sea Urchins as monsters, they see US as monsters, too...

6. Then finding the moms, etc., who call the Giant Sea Urchins and say "Dinner's ready!" and the Giant Sea Urchins return home, leaving Metropolis unscathed*****
(*****Did they at least put the babies down gently?*******)

7. Which you think sounds ridiculous but it was the exact plot of Action Comics 117.*
(*No, it wasn't.)

Things get so bad in superpowerworld that when Superman died fighting "Doomsday," he did so fighting a creature so powerful that Superman's own powers were like nothing against it... which is just a more complicated way of saying Superman's powers don't work.

Why create something that's superpowerful if you're not going to use it?

That bugged me more and more over the weekend, and so I finally added it to my List of Awesome Stories I'm Going To Write Someday. That list is:

1. A detective story in which the detective investigates a murder -- not knowing that he (or she) is the one who actually committed the murder! AND, as a bonus, it does not involve amnesia, multiple personalities, or time travel or any other gimmick. None of that. The detective murdered the person, and doesn't know it, and is investigating the murder. 2. A story in which a wizard or superhero or something like that is superpowerful and just goes ahead and uses those powers without limitations of any sort.

Because I'm sick of it. I'm tired of characters that have these superpowerful devices and they're not powerful at all or they don't use them or something, and it's all because of the Lens.

Here's another episode from the portion I've just read: Virgil Samms is, at one point, the target of an assassination attempt at a major social function. The function is attended by Virgil, and by his daughter Jill, and also tons of other Lensmen.

The plot is discovered, but not by the Lens. Instead, it's discovered by Jill, who doesn't have a Lens. She discovers it through "muscle reading" while dancing with one of the conspirators. Then, the plot is foiled... but not by the Lens. It's foiled by guys who shoot the assassin before he can shoot Virgil.

So why do they have Lenses? What good is the Lens?

I understand that communications are important. If they weren't important, then God would never have decided, after people began building the Tower to Heaven, to break the world up into people of different languages so that we couldn't try that again.

(Of course, that parable, which I'm sure literally happened, breaks down, too, because God would have likely foreseen that we would eventually learn to speak each others' languages, and could then simply try to build the Tower to Heaven again, couldn't we?)

( I don't often get the whole point of Biblical stories.)

(Like the Prodigal Son. I've never understood that one, either.)

But communications aren't that important, and in the Lensmen books, they're not even that helpful. With the Lens, the Lensmen have the ability to read minds and communicate instantly across vast distances... and they're still helpless, or almost helpless, to foil a piracy/drug smuggling ring, and they can't even figure out, with any certainty, who the ringleader of that gang might be without infiltrating it the old-fashioned way -- Virgil Samms goes undercover (without his Lens!) and gets promoted into the gang (and then drops back out again, I believe, although that wasn't clear.)

So I'm still enjoying the Lensmen Chronicles; it's still a great science-fiction pulp story that inspires me to continue my own science-fiction pulp stories. But it's got some holes in the plot here and there.

Just Exactly What Life Looks Like...
next book I'm writing. A collection of short stories about cowboys and scientists and safaris and more cowboys and probably an art teacher and there's also one about a bunch of people sitting on a hill...

Look for it online in Summer/Fall 2009. And, for a limited time only, I'm offering a chance to be part of the bold new future of publishing: Sponsor my book! Click here to find out more about this.

Interested in other books I've written? Click here to see them all.

Quote of the Day, 29.

"I thought you were more of a frozen pizza guy and less of a mop guy."
Grocery store attendant last night.

Our grocery store has "drive-up." You pay for your groceries and they then haul your cart to a door where you can drive up and load them in, saving me the trouble of pushing two carts while also maneuvering two little boys through a parking lot.

When I pulled up last night, the girl outside the door had two carts waiting. As I pulled up she said "This one yours?" and pointed to the wrong cart. "Nope," I said. "We've got that one." That's when she said she'd guessed me wrong, and laid today's quote of the day on me.

I took it as a compliment as I loaded up the groceries and drove away. Here's how I interpreted it: I'm a young-enough, cool enough looking guy that I'd be more interested in buying frozen pizzas -- necessary because of my young, hip lifestyle-- than a mop.

Then, about halfway home, I thought: What if she meant that I looked more like the kind of guy who can't cook and never cleans?

Then I had trouble falling asleep last night.

I have a lot of time to think while driving. I waste most of it.

Everytime I drive north of Madison, I pass the location for a paintball site. And each time I do, I think to myself Paintball looks fun, and then I think I should get some friends and the older kids together and then go play paintball, and then I think "Yeah, but I don't have the air rifles or paintballs or gear to do that," and then I get sad because there's just no way for me to get those things. It's not like they're going to just drop out of the sky, or suddenly appear on my computer screen begging to be ordered...

... unless, of course, I were to click on a link to go to, a website that sells such an amazing variety of airguns, pellet guns, BB guns, and, yes, paintball guns, that it's almost like they're falling out of the sky.

See, after driving by the paintball place yesterday, I began thinking all those things again, so then when I got home I actually looked around for a place to get that stuff, and got to, where I was welcomed by words that always warm my heart: discounts! New visitors to the site get 10% off of orders. And they've got paintball guns, ammo, and accessories like the masks and protective jerseys.

So now, when I drive by the paintball place, I can think: That looks fun. I can't wait until my order gets here and I can do play paintball. And then I can think: I wonder if those paintballs hurt when they hit?

Monday, May 25, 2009

I wonder who would win in a fight between him and Captain Kangaroo (Enemies List update!)

The newest addition is:

9. Patchy The Pirate: to paraphrase Huck Finn, you don't know 'bout Patchy The Pirate without you have seen Spongebob Squarepants. Patchy is the live-action guy who sometimes introduces episodes. Episodes like the Christmas Spongebob episode, which we have on DVD and which we have watched about 100 times now in the past month or two.

It began this way: most days, I'm the one that gets Mr F and Mr Bunches up and dressed in the morning while Sweetie gets their breakfast ready. And I like to have something on in the background, so I usually put in a DVD to watch while we do that... and don't judge me. It takes a long time sometimes to get them ready, what with the fighting and crabbing and escaping.

So one morning, I popped in a Spongebob DVD I'd picked out at random -- the Christmas DVD. (Which, for some reason, contains entirely non-Christmas related episodes, too...).

The Christmas Spongebob DVD begins with an extended sequence involving Patchy The Pirate and his marionette-parrot, and I have never liked Patchy and his parrot.

Mr Bunches, on the other hand, loved it. He didn't stop laughing, not when Patchy accidentally hit himself in the eye, not when Patchy read viewer mail, and not when Potty the Parrot blew up from eating too much cookie dough.

And Mr Bunches now demands to watch that DVD, over and over. Sometimes, it's the only thing that quiets him down. But he won't watch the cartoons, much. Just the Patchy the Pirate parts.

So, Patchy The Pirate, for worming your way into the good graces of Mr Bunches, you've moved beyond annoying character and onto the Enemies List.

The Entire List, So Far:

1. People who honk their horn.
2. Pepperoni pizza.
3. The 2008 Detroit Lions.
4. The guy who programmed my cell phone camera, etc. etc....
5. The guy whose house I'm stalking.
6. Water's natural tendency to expand when it freezes.
7. Anyone who ever turns left (except me.)
8. People who are just a little too serious about online "friendships."
9. Patchy The Pirate.

Punk Rock Pickle:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I had trouble making up my mind. (Sunday's poem, 18).

Cows In Art Class

by Charles Bukowski

good weather
is like
good women-
it doesn't always happen
and when it does
it doesn't
always last.
man is
more stable:
if he's bad
there's more chance
he'll stay that way,
or if he's good
he might hang
but a woman
is changed
the moon
the absence or
presence of sun
or good times.
a woman must be nursed
into subsistence
by love
where a man can become
by being hated.


Here's the poems I considered for today: Recessional, by Kipling, a couple by Dylan Thomas including Fern Hill, and then Hymn by Poe, before settling on Cows In Art Class, which I picked simply by title. Before I read it, I felt like maybe Bukowski and I would have something in common because he was writing about cows and I once wrote a song about cows, but my song was a lot happier and more upbeat than his poem.

I also disagree with his conclusions. But it's a great poem.

Also: I'm working on my own poem, which will appear here soon!