Friday, January 06, 2012

Thanks, Andrew Leon!

The first review of Santa, Godzilla & Jesus Walk Into A Bar... has been posted, by author Andrew Leon, whose own book, The House On The Corner, is loaded onto my Kindle and awaiting my free time.

Says Andrew:


If you've ever wondered what Douglas Adams would have been like if they'd locked him in a room for weeks at a time to get him to write... oh, wait, they did lock Adams in a room for weeks at a time to get him to write. Okay, if you've ever wondered what Adams might have produced if he'd been locked in a room for weeks at a time with only Twinkies and Jolt cola, you should read "Santa, Godzilla... ...It has that same frenetic energy that Adams has only weirder. Yeah, I know; how can you get weirder than Adams?

Does SGJWIB have flying couches or falling whales? No, but it does have carnivorous trees, and that's saying something. It's also saying something that it really is a Christmas story. Or Xmas, as Briane says it. Or, really, an origin of Xmas story. Except a sci-fi, futuristic story that somehow takes place in the past so that it is an origin. You know, "A long time ago in a galaxy..." No, wait. "A long time ago, right here on Earth..."

Somehow, Mr. Pagel manages to weave all of the essential elements of our Christmas traditions into a linear story. There are the trees, mistletoe, Wenceslas... I think he missed the wise men, but he gets a lot of it in there. No, it doesn't always makes sense, but, then, that's why it reminds me of Adams. I mean, if I could fly because I somehow got distracted from hitting the ground while falling, I would totally do that! And SGJWIB has those kinds of leaps.

Here's the thing, if you're not someone that likes Douglas Adams, first, "what's wrong with you?" and, second, you probably won't enjoy Briane's... almost book. However, if you do like Adams, as I do, you should definitely give SGJWIB a try. At a buck, you really can't lose.

The story is wild and crazy enough that there's not much you can say about it in a critical way. It's one of those things you like or you don't like. I happen to like. I'd give it an A except for one thing: the ending. It felt a little like Briane decided it was just time to end the story and, so, just did that. It's rather abrupt. However, he adds in a twist that makes it (mostly) okay. It's one of those kinds of things that Briane seems to like and leaves you wanting to say, "So... what actually happened here?" But he doesn't answer those questions, so you'll have to decide for yourself.

Anyway, it's a fun read, and I give it a B+ to an A-. I need to reread it before I can make a firmer decision than that, but I'm in the middle of something else at the moment and don't have the time. I said, if you like Adams, for a measly $0.99, you really can't go wrong.


Music to my ears! And I didn't even have to bribe him.

If you'd like to order "Santa, Godzilla, & Jesus Walk Into A Bar..." on your Kindle, click here.

If you want the paperback version, click here

And, remember, at some point in the future, everyone who posts a review of the story on Amazon gets a chance to win an autographed copy of the book!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Okay, so some exciting news here...I've got scantily clad cheerleaders and William Howard Taft, so read the whole post.

First off:

I won an award! Heather Arundel, who blogs at My Demon Spirits, awarded me the "Cheerleader of the Year" award:

For my efforts in drumming up competitors for her Christmas Story Contest. The winners are up on her blog, so when you get done staring at the picture of that cheerleader, you can go to her blog and stare at that picture of the cheerleader there.

Second up: let's not lose track of the important thing here, which is that my story,

"Santa, Godzilla & Jesus Walk Into A Bar..."

has been called "The Greatest Xmas Story Ever Written," and that's true, and you can buy it for just $0.99 on your Kindle, or get a high-quality paperback version of it for $7.78.

Thirdly: There's a new blogfest coming up and I'm going to take part in it solely for the purpose of proving Michael Offutt, Retired Stormtrooper, wrong.

The blogfest is "I'm Hearing Voices,"

And it's co-hosted by "Live To Write... Edit When Necessary," and "Reading, Writing, and Lovin' It!". Beginning February 6, you have to do three posts:

February 6th - Monday: Characters on the couch: Have one of your characters answer the following questions (to make this work to your benefit, choose a character who is the hardest for you to write :) Max 250 words (Not including the questions—only the answers).

What is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret?
What do people believe about you that is false?
What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why?
What would the same friend say is your one redeeming quality? Why?
What do you want most? What will you do to get it?

February 8th - Wednesday - Dialogue Introduction: Have two characters introduce each other using only dialogue—no backstory, no internalization, just dialogue between the two. Max 250 words.

February 10th - Friday - Emotion Flash Fiction: Emotion is the engine of a story. Pick an emotion and in a flash fiction piece of 250 words MAKE us feel it! We want to connect with your character. This will be a challenge in 250 words.

That's all, and there are great prizes but, as I said, my motivation is to show Michael Offutt, Riboflavin Compounds, that I can write with less than 250 words; I've already proven to him that leftover pizza and I can exist in the same universe, so this'll be a piece of cake.

AND, FINALLY, The Big News...

I'll save for another post. But it involves William Howard Taft, and the afterlife, so you'll want to check back soon. You can tell your wife that you're trying to find out what the big news is, when we all know that really, you'll be looking at this:

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

If they won't let people film them, it's gonna be hard convincing Disney to make me... I mean them... millionaires (Life With Unicorns)

On Sundays, Mr Bunches and Mr F and I go to the office, where I go through paperwork and otherwise try to seem important, while they do stuff like this:

Lest you think Mr Bunches' dancing is one-dimensional, it is not:

I've been thinking that I need to get more of Mr F doing stuff, but Mr F is more camera-shy than Mr Bunches, who is surprisingly camera shy already; yesterday I tried to get Mr Bunches to sing the Family Guy theme for me on video and he wouldn't. Last week, when I tried to videotape Mr F doing some free-form Cirque du Soleil-type stuff on his living room swing, he abruptly stopped and walked out of the room.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

I'm a Smart Cookie? (Thinking The Lions)

I happened to page down a little on Michael Offutt, Ritz Cracker Aficionado's blog, SLC Kismet, when I went there for my daily reading, which is a good thing because Michael Offutt, Sous Chef, praised me, and in doing so justified again my ultra-high opinion of myself:

That took me seventeen hours. And I don't know how I turned the background black, but it looks kind of cool, right? Like a Pink Floyd album cover.

Anyway, because I accidentally paged down to read old blog entries, I saw that Michael Offutt, Leftenant had nominated me for something called a "Smart Cookie" award:

Which by some social contract I don't understand because I'm not really fit to live in society obligates me to say and do things now, and so I will say and do those things.

The first thing I'm supposed to say and do is "Thank the award giver and link back to him within my post."


Glitter Text Graphics -

sparkle -

You can read more by Michael Offutt, Secret Offspring of Clara Peller, at his blog.

Then I'm supposed to "Share 4 little known facts on anything," which is a tough assignment because it's not like I go around gathering up little known information and then boring Sweetie with it at dinner.

I choose to share four little known facts about... snack foods! Sit in amazement as you learn that...

(17*): Potato Chips were created out of spite! Which is the best reason for doing everything. According to this website which seems totally legit because it has an all-red background,

In the summer of 1853, Native American George Crum was employed as a chef at an elegant resort in Saratoga Springs, New York. One dinner guest found Crum's French fries too thick for his liking and rejected the order. Crum decided to rile the guest by producing fries too thin and crisp to skewer with a fork. The plan backfired. The guest was ecstatic over the browned, paper-thin potatoes, and other diners began requesting Crum's potato chips.

That site also notes that George Crum sometimes went by the name "George Speck," which naturally brings us to:

(Brown): Pringles are made from slurry! Yum! IO9, which is one of the things I'm reading when I'm not watching television because I really don't watch all that much television**, reports that

Instead of shaving bits off of a potato and deep frying them, the company starts with a slurry of rice, wheat, corn, and potato flakes and presses them into shape. So these potato chips aren't really potato at all. The snack-dough is then rolled out like a sheet of ultra-thin cookie dough and cut into chip-cookies by a machine. The cut is complete enough that the chips are fully free of the extra dough, which is lifted away from the chips by a machine.
Imagine the time, effort, and money that went into creating a machine that would lift away the excess dough created by cutting out perfect Pringles every time. Then imagine if we'd put that time and money and effort into not having the 37th best educational system in the world. Then get depressed. Then go eat some Pringles, and cheer up! Yay for US!

You can watch Pringles get made on this video, which for some reason cannot be embedded into other sites because old people don't understand how the Internet works.

But the real point of all this is that

(3A.) Your kid could be making you rich just by being himself: In our house, Mr F and Mr Bunches rarely eat anything but snack foods, not because they're learning by example... okay, because of that exactly, but that's okay because they could earn $30-40 per hour from people who want to know what kids think about snack foods. So if you thought your kids had to have talent to put them to work, think again, and I will be leaving work early to sneak Mr Bunches and Mr F away from Sweetie, because a world of Getting Paid To Eat Foods awaits us, and that world is one I want to live in, which brings me to the final previously-unknown fact about snack foods:

(1st): Snack food makers are just making fun of you, now: I give you, the Slim Chip:

You may not know it to look at them, but those chips are weaponized irony in blueberry form. The maker's website says that "Slim Chips" are a

paradoxical product that plays with weapons like irony and nonsense thus leaving the interpretation to the bravest consumers.

I have never eaten a snack food that requires my interpretation, so finding out that I must now be aware of the meta-implications of a Dorito was quite a shock,but not as shocking as what a Slim Chip actually is. Again, from the people who sell these:

Slim Chips is an experiment around alternative types of snack food. The consumption of junk food is very often associated to habits and social rituals that help interrupt the flow of routinary daily activiLinkties more than to the hunger impulse. The basic ingredient here is edible paper, almost nutritionless. Don’t get fat, just eat nothing.
It's like eating tasty air, available in mint flavour, blueberry, cheddar or wasabi.

I believe that's a haiku. The Slim Chips people also have "growing jewelry," which I now want, and sell something called "Blod Berg," which appears to be a thyme-flavored soft drink. Perfect for washing down your paper snacks!

And now you know why I never get anything done at work.

I now have to name other Smart Cookies, which I will do as follows and for the following reasons:

Grumpy Bulldog, because he is superbusy right now and trying to kick road rage at the same time, so this ought to give him something to be mad about.

Heather Arundel, who blogs at My Demon Spirits, because I am not above sucking up to her to try to win her contest even though I blatantly broke the rules. Rules are for suckers. And societies, true, but mostly for suckers.

Anna And Her Sisters, who blog at "Every Day Is Awesome!" because every day really is awesome, especially if you read their blog.

Joy Mom, who blogs at Elvis Sightings, because she's thoughtful and mentions Elvis right in her blog title.

Tim Morrissey, who blogs at "Rifles At Dawn," because he makes his living writing and I therefore find it amusing to distract him from that the way my blogging distracts me from making a living.


Joshua Cejka, because he just started up a blog and needs stuff to put on it, and because maybe in return he'll delete that comment that posted before me and we can all pretend I really was the first-ever commenter on his blog.

In closing, let me just add that I love this picture and have made it my desktop on my work computer.

* I'm no longer giving into Western Civilization's too-restrictive list methods. I'll number lists anyway I want to, and you're not the boss of me, Western Civilization.

**Aren't people who say that really a bunch of jerks? I mean, except me, because I really don't watch all that much television. But everyone else who says that, yeah. They're jerks.

250=1: Story One.

What's this about? Click here.

Children's Magazines Are Full Of Lies.

For the 74th time, on his 37th beach vacation, Kincaid walked the shore just after the tide went out. Alone on the beach, sand sifting into his sandals wetly, he shuffled along knowing he would not find what he was looking for.

Somewhere, in the past, which in his thoughts was a country he’d never visit no matter how many travelogues of it he watched, a little boy lay on the floor, a magazine spread out before him showing a glossy photo of a sea urchin and a crab in a tiny pool of water, trapped in the rocks after the tide went out. It was a private ocean, and Kincaid, like that little boy from the other country would, eventually, too, had spent his life looking for one.

Later today, he’d take Olivia to ride on roller-coasters. They would stop for pizza at that restaurant. But for now, Kincaid simply walked by himself, the taste of corn flakes on his breath. When he saw rocky outcroppings he climbed on them, carefully, watching where he put his hands and his feet, each time to no avail.

“Why do you get up so early?” Claudia asked him once on vacation. He’d shrugged. “I like to not waste time on vacation,” he’d said.

“Next year, maybe, we’ll go to the mountains,” Kincaid told the surf. But he knew it wasn’t true. There are 217,490 miles of coastline in the world, and he was not getting younger.

250=1: The Complete List Of Stories and Explanation.

Page down for an explanation of this.

1. Children's Magazines Are Full Of Lies

2. Everyone In The World Is Copying Me In Advance.

3. What Happens When The Symbolism of McDonald's Cheeseburgers Is Questioned?

4. What Hannah Said When She Hugged Her Competitor

5. Higgs Boson's Adventures In Space: Episode 37:

6.  One Morning A Mother Gave Birth... 

7.  Han Shot First. No, He Didn't. Yes, He Did. Wait...

8.  These Dead Composers

9.  Introducing The Beatles?

10.  Q+U, A Love Story (Part One)

11.  Junior The Third.

12.  The Things We Don't Tell Are Most Important.

13.  Icarus' Lesser-Known Sister.

14, 15, 16, and 17:  Five Stories about Time Travel, all in one post:  "Time Travel Has Always Existed", "He's A Perfect Boyfriend, But..." , "Time Was...", "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Hunker Down Behind This Lead Windowshade," and "Thinking About Time Travel At The End (Or The Beginning?) of the Universe(s)". 

THERE ARE MORE OF THESE, but they now appear on my blog


which is where my stories appear now.  So click HERE to go read more 250=1 stories.

250=1 is a new challenge I've set for myself. (Note: although it's beginning to be posted in 2012, it's not a New Year's Resolution, as I never make New Year's Resolutions. Why postpone doing whatever it is you intend to do? No, I'm starting to post it now because I had too much other stuff to post last week between Christmas and New Year's, and so didn't get around to this.)

250=1 came about because I like writing long stories. The longer the better, as far as I'm concerned, because if I like a story I never want it to end. And so I decided to challenge myself, the way I once saw a giant, steep hill in Oakland, California and went jogging there just so I could try to jog up that hill, but in this case the challenge was to write short stories.

And not just any short story: A short story of exactly -- exactly -- 250 words.

Counting the title.

I'll be posting new ones from time to time, so check back often.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Today, Middle proves she reads my blog! (What the H?)

What The H? is a semiregular guest spot written by Middle Daughter, who retains that title even though the birth of the twins pushed her off the center spot. Here's one she emailed me before Christmas, but I'm lazy and didn't publish it until today. Think of it as reminiscing.


I love getting paid for this…haha!

So as many of you don’t know I am a cook at a hospital and this past weekend was Christmas and with that comes holiday cookies.

I love to bake and I don’t actually get to bake much at my job because I grill sauté and steam items. But I had the pleasure of baking and frosting over 200, yes 200, cut out cookies over the weekend for the patients as well as the employees and the families of the patients and employees.

For those of you who know how to make cookie frosting you can skip the next few thoughts while I give others how I made my very simple yet delicious frosting.

Frosting: -Powdered Sugar
-Almond Extract (Or Vanilla if you prefer)
-And to add a little creativity food coloring

With a little love and a little patients my cookies turned out like this…

This is obviously not ALL of the cookies but you get the idea.

I got paid for an hour to decorate cookies and they were even more delicious than they look. Decorate some cookies and make sure that you share with people you love. It will bring all of you closer.