Friday, December 14, 2012

Mr F, Chair Pioneer.

Anything is a chair.

If you just have the creativity to see it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Just, what, 12 days? Hold on while I count.

So the fun (?) of 12/12/12 is over, but there's still something like 8 days before the world comes to an end, and 12 days 'til Christmas, which means either 8 or 12 more days of FREE BOOKS by commenting on a Traveling Blogathon of Doom post!  Here's where all the travelings are:

Today on the Blogathon:

Santa, Viking:  over on pop I let you in on and review Andrew Leon's Christmas On The Corner, the first of many Short Stories You Really Ought To Read.

 Yesterday on the Blogathon:

TONY LAPLUME , author of Monorama and other books, posted.

BOOK WINNERS SO FAR from my posts:

Lara Schiffbauer (who posts FUNNY PHOTO FRIDAY so you should bookmark her blog)  helped Kimberly Gartland win a copy of my book UP SO DOWN.

When "Bumpy" takes his sister's fiance out for a night on the town, a mysterious drowning crashes through their lives like a wrecking ball into an already-crumbling wall. Sarah mourns her lost lover by halfheartedly joining a group dedicated to proving there is a serial killer on the loose and jealously guarding her dying mother, while "Bumpy" moves to Las Vegas to take up a new career, only to accidentally stumble into his old one.

Through the course of a year that unfolds haphazardly and out-of-sequence, Bumpy and Sarah try to figure out how much of the past they ought to hold on to, and how much of the future is worth looking into

 CLICK HERE TO BUY IT FOR JUST $0.99.  It makes the perfect Xmas gift (for someone who likes this book.)

And Andrew Leon has selected The Scariest Things, You CAN'T Imagine as the book he won just for commenting!

A shape-shifting demon torments children while their parents stand by. A widower haunted by the ghost of his wife tries to understand her requests. A baby stolen from his mother by gargoyles returns, full of hatred for the life he's led. A family of children raised by grave-robbing corpse stealers tries to discover a way out. An elderly man possesses the power of life and death in his retirement. These stories present images and people who will haunt your thoughts for a long time after you read them. 

Liz ! Vanna! TONY! PT! You each still get to claim one of my books, free, as well.  Email/comment me to let me know which one you each want.  HERE IS THE COMPLETE LIST OF ALL MY EBOOKS. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

He calls it... XMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I like exclamation points.)

 It's that time of the year again: the time when I shamelessly promote THE GREATEST XMAS STORY EVER WRITTEN:  The story of how Xmas came to be, the tale of a lonely UFO maker, the sexiest cop ever, a demented madman, and a giant lizard.  It's...

and Jesus
Walk Into A Bar…"

Ever Told.

(By me.)

Part One:
The Beginning, which is what
all part ones are..
No orphans were harmed in the making of this story.

And only one orphan was harmed in the telling of it.

On the street in front of Nick, who makes UFOs for a living – it’s a long story, and there’s no time to explain it right now because we’re only moments away from something really important happening -- was a tiny brass trumpet.

It was dirty.

It was covered in soot and laying in a puddle of slush next to a crumpled pack of cigarettes, and looked as though it had a lipstick smear on it, on the wrong end, and maybe some teeth marks, too.

So naturally, Nick picked it up and was just seconds away from blowing into it when the door to the bar he’d just been told to leave opened up behind him and he heard the voice of the man who’d told him to leave, saying:

“Okay, okay. So here’s this one: Santa, Godzilla, and Jesus walk into a bar…

and Nick paused with the dirty lipstick-smeared horn up to his mouth and listened because with a set up like that who wouldn’t, and then that important thing you were told was going to happen but you already forgot about it happened:

A body slammed to the ground in front of Nick, falling into, as it happens, the exact same puddle that Nick had just pulled the trumpet out of. How’s that for irony? We’re only just getting started, too.

Sirens immediately started up all around Nick, and from both ends of the street – he was in the middle of the block – came cop cars racing towards him, almost as if they’d been waiting for just this.

(They had been.)

Nick squatted down and looked at the body in front of him. It was a large man, laying on his stomach. His face was turned to the side, his eyes closed. Somehow, the fedora the man wore, which Nick hadn’t noticed until that moment, had stayed on when the man had fallen to the puddle from wherever it was he’d fallen from.

All the buildings on the street being three stories or shorter, Nick didn’t bother looking up above him. The man had fallen straight down from the sky, Nick knew, because it had happened right in front of his eyes.

“We’ll take care of this, sir,” said the surprisingly sexy cop who was suddenly standing in front of him. Nick blinked up at her, and saw her eyes narrow in a fetchingly cute way.

“Where’d you get that horn?” she said.

Nick looked down at his hand, still poised near his mouth.

“It’s a trumpet,” he said.

The cop reached for her waist, and Nick made his second regrettable decision that day, the first being “admitting to the bartender that he had no money before he ordered.”

He ran.

The third regrettable decision he made a second later when he looked back and saw the sexy lady cop lifting up the dead bum’s jacket, and noticed the dead bum had wings.

Part Two:
He calls it 'Xmas.'

Nick is a fast guy
. You have to be, in the UFO business. It's all about hustle, in that game. So he was surprised when Sexy Cop caught up to him, more surprised when Sexy Cop asked him his name, ("Nick," he said, already breathing heavily from having run two blocks), more surprised still when she reached over and tried to grab the trumpet from his hand -- but not so surprised that he couldn't flick it away from her and hold it up over his head, causing her to leap up for it while she was running, and causing him to trip over her and causing the both of them to fall into a heap.

The surprises weren't over yet: The other cops started shooting at the two of them.

"You idiots! Quit shooting!" yelled Sexy Cop. "You're going to kill me!"

But they didn't quit shooting, of course, which was lucky for Nick because not only was he lying in a heap with Sexy Cop, but she also had to press herself closer to him on the ground.

Things were looking up for Nick.

Aside from the being shot at, that is.

"You weren't supposed to see any of this," Sexy Cop told him. Then she leaned her head up over the curb. "STOP SHOOTING! I'VE GOT HIM!!" A pause, then "I used two exclamation points on that last sentence for emphasis!"

Nick fell instantly in love. About which, you should know this: Nick's college thesis was entitled "People Should Declaim The Punctuation In Their Sentences: Building a Better Society Through Language."

It was because Nick majored in "Punctuation" that he ended up in the extremely impractical field of UFOs, and also because of that, as you've gathered, that he fell in love with Sexy Cop, who was easy on the eyes, after all.

The cops kept shooting, which was worrisome for Nick, but more so for Sexy Cop, who ducked back down and said:

"You shouldn't have looked back."

"Why'd you try to grab the trumpet?" Nick asked.

"Where is it?" Sexy Cop asked him.

"What's your name?" Nick asked her back. Inwardly, Nick thought this would make an excellent story to tell people when someone asked how they met. He wondered if it would be weird if he proposed to her right now. Maybe, he told himself. Give it time.


No time left! Nick thought. "Marry me," Nick said to Sexy Cop.

"What?!" she said.

"You used a question mark and an exclamation point on that, didn't you?" Nick asked approvingly.


There was a pause in the shooting.

"Are you all after me?" Nick asked Sexy Cop, then inwardly cursed himself for ruining the moment.

"We weren't, until you messed things up by existing and, in particular, existing right there right then," Sexy Cop told him.


"Rats," said Sexy Cop.

"What?" asked Nick.

"They've got us surrounded," she said.

"No, they just said they didn't have us surrounded."

"It's a trap. I know them. Heck, I am them." She laid on Nick's chest a moment, then sat up and yelled "IT'S ALL RIGHT! I'VE..." but she had to stop when a volley of bullets rang out again and nearly killed her. She ducked back down.

"IF YOU'RE WITH HIM, YOU'RE AGAINST US!" said the loudspeaker voice.

"I'M NOT WITH HIM!" Sexy Cop yelled, still laying on top of Nick, who appreciated it. "I CHASED HIM! REMEMBER?"

After a short pause, the voice said: "IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE SNUGGLING!"

"Are we snuggling?" asked Nick.

"No," Sexy Cop said.

Nick, who had started to put one arm around Sexy Cop, changed the move to make it look like he was going to scratch his head. Sexy Cop looked up at his hand. "The trumpet!" she said.

Nick pulled his hand back down as she scrabbled for it, and the two of them began wrestling around in the snow, Sexy Cop repeatedly trying to pin down his hand while Nick tried to keep Sexy Cop wrestling with him but not giving up the trumpet.

"Why do you want it," he breathed, in what he hoped was an alluring way.

"Why do you want it?" Sexy Cop grunted back as she got hold of his wrist and twisted it around his back, flipping Nick over onto his stomach and cuffing him all in one move that Nick found both very professional and, let's be honest, a little hot. "You don't even know what it is?"

Then, she sat back on him and said "Where is it?"

Nick laughed. "I've got a few tricks up my sleeve," but he regretted the line when Sexy Cop began reaching into his coat sleeve. She chose the wrong one but she'd get to the right one in a moment, he knew, and he wondered if she'd still be interested in him, you know, as a person, after she had the trumpet.

Before she could switch to the left coat sleeve, though, a bunch of cops ran up shouting, with one yelling:


while another said


and so they started shooting again, which would have been extremely uncomfortable for both Nick and Sexy Cop had the part of the sidewalk they were lying on not suddenly opened up, dropping them both into a large space below the sidewalk, the fall separating them and taking long enough that Nick had time to rotate in the air and see that the hole they'd fallen through was being swarmed by tiny little creatures with pointy ears and dainty fingers and hideous grins.

They were little mockeries of men, wearing tiny coats and little pointy hats and climbing up the walls to go out and do battle with the cops, who were shooting at them. The little men, with horrible horrible smiles, were picking up anything they could find near them and using it to attack the police, at first just doing things like picking up a clump of snow and throwing it, but, as Nick watched, they began making more complex things. He saw three of them take a pile of twigs and a snowball and jam them together until it looked like a sort of animal, and then one of the little men hit the snowball and it came alive and started attacking the cops, somehow growing a mouth with snow teeth and eyes that glinted like black ice.

(If you are thinking to yourself "Wow, Nick and Sexy Cop have been falling for a long time because that doesn't seem like the kind of thing that happens quickly," then congratulations, because you've learned your lesson: remember how you forgot about that exciting thing you were told was going to happen, earlier, only you forgot as soon as you were told, practically? Well, now, you're learning to pay attention as you read. Good for you!)

Nick, and Sexy Cop beside him, were falling for a long time. Long enough that they got used to it, falling down what appeared to be a large shaft. Nick figured they must have hit terminal velocity some time before, because it didn't seem like they were picking up speed. He wasn't crazy about falling, but he was even more not crazy about landing, and when he started worrying about falling, he worried about landing even more, so he decided to put those two ideas out of his head and focus on more pleasant topics.

"What's your name?" Nick asked Sexy Cop. He hadn't given up on the proposal, but figured now was not the time to press it.

"I can't believe those things are loose, and coming after us," Sexy Cop said, not answering Nick's question (or so Nick figured, because that would be a ridiculous name for a heroine, and Nick had decided Sexy Cop was the heroine of this little episode. It's fate! He told himself.)

"What are those things?" Nick asked.

Sexy Cop looked at him now. "I can't tell you," she said. "It's classified."

"I have actually got a pretty high security clearance," Nick informed her. That's right: Lay on the charm, he congratulated himself. He wondered if he should add that he kind of knew how to play the guitar.

Sexy Cop looked down. "We've been falling for a long time," she said.

"I'd try not to think about it," Nick advised.

"How can you not think about it?"

"Let's get to know each other."

"Are you insane? This fall is going to kill us."

"That's the kind of thing I'd try not to think about. So... your name?" Nick asked.

Before Sexy Cop could answer, the lights in the shaft came on, almost blinding Nick. He blinked several times and saw that they were, indeed, in a shaft. There were arrows pointing up, and arrows pointing down, and blinking lights and steady lights and lights that seemed to be steady but then they'd blink once, and, Nick saw, there was now a bottom to the shaft, not so far below.

He could no longer put this out of his mind. He tried to devise a plan for when they hit, but all he could come up with was "don't hit," and he couldn't think how to put that in effect.

He heard voices drifting up the tunnel. Two men were talking. One of them, in fact was laughing, and that one then stopped and Nick heard:

"Okay, okay. I've got one. Listen. It's good. Santa, Godzilla, and Jesus walk into a bar..." and just as the man said that the other man looked up and yelled:

"WHAT'S THAT?" and the first man swore and leaned down and pressed some buttons on his computer frantically and a giant net swung out and caught Nick and Sexy Cop -- with Sexy Cop tumbling into Nick and making him feel like this relationship had a chance, after all.

They hung there in the net, looking around at what was, Nick realized, some sort of giant cavern. It was hot: he could already feel the heat and was sweating. There were two men looking at him, and off in the distance, in a larger part of the cavern, something immediately caught Nick's eye -- probably because it was spotlit in greens and reds and was giving off steam and was blinking and flashing and seemed to be heaving.

"What... is... that..." Nick breathed, unable to take his eyes off of it.

"That's classified," Sexy Cop said, her mouth up against his ear. It was mostly because of how the net had caught them, Nick knew, but he still appreciated it.

"I... call it XMAS!" said a voice behind them.

LIKE WHAT YOU READ? You can get the book on your ereader for just ninety-nine cents.  And if you Tweet about it, I'll send you a free copy!  (Post Tweets with @whyihatepeople in them so I know you did it.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mr Bunches' likes these, too -- and also only likes one color.

I didn't write this but wanted to share it.  On The Consumerist today there's a great story about a kid with autism whose parents went through some hard times.  I hope they don't mind my reprinting it:


Spangler Candy Company Delights Autistic Child, Comforts Struggling Family

At this time of year, Spangler may be best known for their candy canes, but they’re also the company behind cheap, tiny, flavorful Dum Dums lollipops. Normally, these candies come in a large bag of assorted flavors, which the discerning candy-eater will then paw through to find the cream soda-flavored ones. What you may not know is that at the company’s web site, you can find tubs of single flavors. When Rebecca learned this, she ordered up a few for her son, who is autistic and has obsessive-compulsive disorder. A single container of his favorite flavor? Perfect for him. Rebecca wrote to the company to tell them how happy this product made her son. Then they wrote back.
To Whom It Concerns:
I wanted to write an email to show you my gratitude for your products and your service. We have had a difficult time lately. My husband lost his job. My son. Abe, is 10 years old and has Autism. I knew that I would be having major surgery and that it would upset his routine and cause him distress. So I looked around for a small gift for him, just to make him smile, and I stumbled across your site. As you can imagine a child with Autism likes to separate and compartmentalize their world. When I saw that you had your dum dum pops available in separate containers I knew it would be the perfect gift. I ordered him two tubs of the cotton candy flavor, which is his favorite, although he loves them ALL! They arrived today which was great because things got really scary for him. Two days ago I went to the hospital for major surgery on my shoulder, which meant that I couldn’t be home with him for a very extended period of time which makes him nervous.
Then yesterday (day after surgery) I developed an Anaphyalctic Reaction to something they gave me in the hospital and spent another day in the ER on treatments. I nearly died. Today was my first day back at home with my son and thankfully his little gift arrived. I wish that I could have sent you a photo or video of the moment, capture his pure excitement and surprise. He was dancing, something he NEVER does! He of course wants me to order every flavor in the separate tubs, but that will take a while for me do in our present circumstances. I just wanted you to know that you gave my son and myself a great gift. I won’t forget the smile on his little face for a long time to come. Thank you so much for making our day and for making my precious boy have a moment of joy in a time of confusion. I appreciate you and wanted to share our little story. Thank you again!
Not long afterward, she received this message back:
Dear Rebecca:
Thank you for your e-mail and although we are so sorry for the struggles your family has gone through lately, we are pleased to know that Dum Dums helped to put a smile on Abe’s face! What a delightful sight that must have been, and we can only imagine how much that meant to you.
We are grateful to you for sharing your family’s story and if you don’t’ mind, we will share it with all of our employees and associates here at Spangler Candy Company to help remind them that what we do here every day really does make a difference, especially to Abe!
In the mail we will be sending Abe a Spangler t-shirt as well as some single flavors of Dum Dums. We hope that this package will bring another smile to Abe’s face and that he will continue to enjoy Dum Dums for a long, long time!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from all of us here at Spangler Candy Company.
Here’s a video of Rebecca’s son opening his box of delicious loot from Spangler.


This is great.  Mr Bunches likes Dum-Dums, too.  He only likes one flavor, and each bag only contains about three suckers of those flavors, so what we have to do is buy two or three or four bags, and then we take the leftovers and give them to people in our office, or the daycare workers that watch the boys while we're at the Health Club, or their teachers.  Or whoever.

People whose kids have special needs learn these secrets, fast.  Recently, Middle Daughter took it upon herself to contact Old Dutch, the company that makes the cheese puffs that Mr F loves so much, to see if we could bulk-order them, as Sweetie often has to go to three or four different stores to get enough bags for the week.  The company provided an address for a wholesaler that will ship them to us.

So I can relate to what this Mom was going through.  And now I think we need to get Mr F an "Old Dutch" T-shirt.