Friday, September 30, 2011

Going Postal?

I'm walking along, mailbag on my shoulder, hands full of the mail I'm sorting as I walk. I'm moving right along, keeping  a good pace without running or anything. If you are an observer down the street from me, you see just a mailman, everything A-okay, all is as it should be.

Without warning of any kind, just as I stroll between the hedges that bracket the entry to someone's walkway, I appear to go into some kind of fit, or spasm. My feet keep walking, but my head pulls back, and my torso twists and contorts like I'm trying to leave my head behind. My lower half starts to turn as well, until I'm backing across the lawn at an angle. By this time I have shouted a curse word or two, and I have squinched up my face and started to spit. Big, stage spitting, again and again, "Pah! Pah! Blech! Pah!"
You, the observer, probably have a moment's apprehension at seeing a mailman acting like this; all those stories of us 'going postal' and taking out half of the local workforce with automatic weapons, like Schwarzenegger, or Stallone, but in a horrible blue rayon blend. That apprehension is not helped by what you seen next.
I pull off my sunglasses and begin to wipe and brush at my face. Violently and with feeling. I'm still spitting Pah! Pah! Pah! From the distance you're at it probably looks like I am just hitting myself in the face.
Eventually I stop this, but even as I walk away I am still brushing at my eyes and pawing at one ear.

I know that you, the observer, are thinking What the hell was that? 
And what the hell was that?

Did you just witness a temporary loss of the thin veneer I use to keep John Q. Public from knowing I am completely insane, have a water-tower all picked out and am just waiting for the 7-day waiting period to run out so I can pick up my brand new high-powered rifle?

Did my finely-tuned psychiatric medication simply go out of whack for a bit, causing a spastic loss of motor control, and you were lucky to be far enough away from me to not even notice that I soiled my shorts explosively during that brief loss?

Did you just witness me having a terrible acid flashback, defending myself vigorously against attacking neon-colored sexually aroused pixies that only I could see?

None of the above.
I walked through a spider's web.
...and my mouth was open since I was still singing "YMCA" to myself.

Talk to you later!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Digging That Funky Sound

So yesterday I was sitting at the dining room table at Handsome's house, putting the finishing touches on that day's blog. (If you haven't seen it, this entry may make more sense to you if you read that one first - it's the one titled 'Mindworm') I had decided to out in a link to a Village People video on YouTube. I performed the search, found the right video, and copied the URL. That was all I had to do, really, I could have left or even closed the page and returned to the blog to embed the link, finishing the blog.
The song, however, was starting.
It was still stuck in my head, so with a shameful fascination I maximized the window and just let the video roll.
It was about 1/3 of the way along when Handsome appeared by my side, fresh from the shower.
"What'cha doin', Dad?"
"Watching the video of this band."
He stood next to me and watched with me, as the Village People danced up the sidewalk singing "YMCA" with a gusto never seen before, and not seen since. They pumped fists, they swung hips, they kicked and jumped. They were also, unfortunately, dressed as the Village People.
After about a minute of this I became aware of Handsome looking at me sideways.
"This is awful! I mean, I'm embarrassed to be here seeing this and nobody even knows!"
"It's just a band," I explained. "They're just a band with a gimmick. They dress like everyday people, you know, like guys who work for a living, while they perform."
I thought it sounded good, but Handsome's finger stabbed at the screen.
"An indian? What about the indian?"

"Uh ... " I gave it some thought, trying to come up with a good explanation for the Village People.

I failed.

"Okay, that's it, I'm embarrassed to be seen with you," he said, waving a hand at me as he hurried away.
"What," I shouted, "it's not like anybody knows we watched it."

Until now. (Cue the Evil Laughter!) Muhahahahaaaaa ...

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I posted once before at the ease with which songs an get stuck in my head (Please see my entry titled “Earworm” if you are confused). I have written about friends who know how easy it is and take advantage of this weakness of mine for their own amusement. Well, yesterday I discovered just how easy it is to get a song stuck in my head.
I was delivering my postal route, and at about the halfway point I noticed a one panel comic on the back cover of one of the magazines I was carrying. The caption beneath it read “The Vintage People”. The artwork showed a group that was clearly intended to be the musical group “The Village People”, but they had gotten pretty old. At the edges of the panel you could make out members of the band with their arms held up in poses familiar to anyone who has ever seen them performing their song “YMCA”, but the panel centered on the Biker. He was standing, grizzled and aged, with his arms spread wide but with the hands down toward the floor, rather than aimed at the ceiling. He looks concerned and anxious, and he has the only speaking part in the comic

I can't get my hands high enough to make the 'Y'!”

I'll admit it: I laughed. I thought it was clever, a play in their age (the song itself is over 30 years old), their name and one of their most recognizable (and mocked) songs. I admired the comic and walked on, smiling. Smiling, that is, until I recognized the song I was singing under my breath.

It's fun to stay at the Y … M … C - A! It's fun to stay at the Y … M … C - Aaaay …”
“Ohmigod!” I came to a halt on the sidewalk, shaking my head in disgust with myself.

I hadn't heard the song.
I hadn't seen a lyric.
I hadn't seen the name of the song, or even the actual name of the band.
And still, that song was all I could hear in my head.

I tried to ignore it and walk on. I plugged in my earphone and hit “Play” on my current audiobook (“Strangers on a Train”, by Patricia Highsmith. I highly recommend it!) in an effort to distract myself and maybe occupy that part of my mind that now held an indian, cop, construction worker, military man and biker dude all keeping time and singing.
Minutes later I realized that though I was listening to the story, I was quietly whistling the song!

Hopeless. I'm hopeless.

Talk to you later!

... Y ... M ... C - A, it's fun to -

Monday, September 26, 2011

There's No "I" In Team - Part II

Yesterday I started on the topic of Men and Women and their differences in bathroom etiquette. I had only gotten as far as the bathroom door in the hypothetical restaurant, and I had to quit. It was going to just too long for one day, and I ran into a problem: I don't know what women are like in their public bathroom habits. All I can say is that they are amazingly organized in their trips. They leave as a group, and they return as a group. No woman left behind!
Men are so disorganized and out of it you can't be sure if a guy will make it back to your table even if he goes alone! I can probably sum up the male bathroom experience in one word: Paranoia.
  • Say you're standing at the urinal doing what comes naturally, and a guy comes and takes the urinal right next to you.
    • Can you look? I mean, it's only natural curiosity, wanting to see how you measure up, right? But there's a problem with that. What if he catches you?
      • he could be belligerent, and that could mean trouble for you. You were kind of invading his privacy there, and it sends the wrong message. Who could blame him for being, please pardon the pun, pissed?
      • then there is the opposite problem, which , in some cases, could be worse. What if he doesn't mind that you looked? What if he looks pleased that you are looking, and gives you an encouraging look in return? If you're interested, that's one thing, but try talking your way out of that situation if you're not interested!
    • Now, let's go the other route: Say you catch the guy next to you looking at you!
      • Say he sees that you caught him. Will there be embarrassment on his part? On your part? Should you be embarrassed about your 'part'?
        • You could get all belligerent, but that might seem defensive. Will he think you're embarrassed about your 'part'? Oh fer cryin' out loud!
        • What if he sees that you caught him, but he doesn't look embarrassed. What if he looks interested? I mean, that's fine if you're also interested, but what if you're not? Is there a good way out of that situation?
        • What if he sees that you caught him, and doesn't look embarrassed, but also doesn't look interested in the slightest! Just takes a gander and dismisses you. Someone might look at that, if they really try, like some sort of rejection. A guy might think Hey, what, I'm not worth looking at? You can sometimes tell these poor bastards, since they finish up and shake off vigorously, in a strange, misguided attempt to draw a second look. This gets embarrassing if it goes on for too long.
          Not that I know, of course. But I've heard. From a friend. Yup. A friend.
               ...uh ... moving on...

Now, all that is when there is more than one guy in the bathroom at the same time, and you can see why we greatly prefer to go it alone. The stress involved is just immense! We're not even entirely with it if we luck out, and have a golden moment of complete privacy in the bathroom. We're still a mess. And to prove this, I give you the urinal.
    We're men. We've all heard the jokes about guys being able to write their names in the snow. C'mon, please! If we had any kind of aim, or control, we'd walk into the men's room and step up to a hole. Just a hole, that's all we should need. That's it.
    Have you seen the urinals they have out there? The smallest of them looks like a small sink, and they usually rival a full toilet in size, getting even bigger when you add in the porcelain backsplash.
    Backsplash? What do they think we have, a fire hose? From a hole to a toilet with a back-splash?
    And it goes even further in some public rest rooms. There are urinals out there (trust me on this one, ladies, if you've never seen one) that run from the floor all the way up to chest height on the average man. Four feet high! They look like someone took a small bath tub, ripped it up off the floor and stood it on end, leaning against the wall. They weigh more than some of the men using them!
    And after all this, you want to know what tells me that some men just walk into the bathroom and lose it?

    With all this going for them, sink-sized with backsplashes and upended tubs to pee in...
    ...some guys still miss!

    Look, after seeing how organized (practically professional!) women are about their bathroom trips, all I can say is that we, as a species, need to keep the bathrooms separate. None of this 'unisex' bathroom crap! Guys, if women got a handle on what really goes on in there, what we go through each time, I'm pretty sure the human race would be extinct in about two generations. For Christ's sake, I'm disgusted with myself just thinking about it. 
       ...Well, not me of course ... I meant my friend ... yeah, my friend ...
              ...uh... moving on...

    Talk to you later!

    There's No "I" In Team - Part I

    A friend this morning told me she was going in for "Evacuation Team" training. Now, I know that's training for a safety team, making sure the building is cleared efficiently in the case of emergency. But you know that wasn't the first thing that phrase brought to my mind. I heard "Evacuation Team", and I immediately imagined 6-8 women out to eat at a restaurant all getting up to go to the bathroom at the same time. Like it's an Olympic event. They're going to be graded on teamwork and how synchronized their motions are with a panel of judges sitting by the ladies room door ready to hold up score cards.

    That got me thinking about the bathroom, and men and women in general. We are so different, even in this respect. I can really only tell you things as seen from a man's perspective, but I'll try to be fair.

    • Women are social - Way more social than men.
      • I mean, this is obvious. They synchronize and move as a pack, effectively smashing men out of the way as they move en mas toward the bathroom door. They guard the door for each other if necessary, watch purses and pocketbooks, and the whole thing is completed with a minimum of fuss, there and back again, like it was all planned out beforehand. And they ran drills. It's almost military in its precision, but can also be as graceful as a choreographed dance number.

      • Men couldn't do this. We would be so busy trying to decide what order to go in, who was with whom, when we should go, who was the undisputed field leader of this little excursion, and then everything would break down as we dragged out maps and diagrams to argue over the route we should take. Once we had settled on a route, nothing would cause us to deviate from that route.
        • A server putting down a tray in the aisle? 
          • No.
        • A church group has pushed two or three tables together and everyone is around the table holding hands while the HPIC (Head Priest In Charge) says grace? 
          • Tough, we're going through.
        • Someone back at the Table got a map or a diagram upside down, and accidentally plotted out a course that will take us through the kitchen? 
          • We're Men dammit! Put down that spatula and get out of the way, Cookie, we go through the kitchen to get to the bathroom at home and we'll damn well do it here!
    And all this is just on the way to the bathroom! Once we get there it's a whole other mess. I'll try to tackle that little pickle tomorrow.

    Talk to you later!

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Entering the Fray

    Thank you to all who took part in my Poll about Underdog.
    Unfortunately for me, there were only 6 votes in total, and 4 of them were for "Rob needs a hobby to keep him from thinking of this stuff", so that one was the winner. Underdog remains a champion of the people, and I have to get a hobby.
    Unfortunately for you, this is my hobby. It was a trick question. Ah-(as they say)- Ha!
    Now, on to today's nonsense!

    * * * * *

    In my post "There's No Obligation" I told you all what happened when I started to fill out an online inquiry about refinancing the house. Started. Not finished, not hit the "Submit" button, not anything. Simply started to fill out the form, got a little squeamish at the hinky  kinds of questions they started to ask, and backed out of the document deleting as I went.
    (for a definition of "hinky", please see my entry "Man, That Word Sounds Hinky". Oh my God, I'm cross-referencing!)
    When I did that, I wound up being inundated with phone calls and emails, all people wanting to help me refinance my house. It was fairly surprising and awful.

    This evening I did what may turn out to be a bad, bad thing.
    I filled out an online application about selling a timeshare this evening.
    I filled out the application for information. The entire thing.
    I answered as many questions as I could,
    I gave them my email address and phone number.
    I hit "Submit".
    Oh, I was nervous.
    You might say I was scared, and I couldn't call you a liar.
    I was shaking, and I had to keep wiping the fear sweat out of my eyes, but I did it!

    So now I sit, staring at the phone, just waiting for it to ring.
    And ring...
    And ring...

    I feel almost confident, however. I dressed for success, for talking business on the phone.
    and again...

    Think it'll help?

    Yeah. I think so too.

    Talk to you later!

    P.S.- You may have noticed that there is a new little dingus at the top of the page, the "Blog of the Week". This is a blog that a friend of mine told me about, and I do find it hysterical. Simply click on the picture there and you'll go right to "Hyperbole and a Half". I haven't finished reading it all, but be  sure to check out"The God of Cake". It's a riot!

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    1st Review! ... Sort Of

    Siskel & Ebert 
    Today I recieved my first review for my story "Playmate Wanted".
    Sort of.

    As soon as Dark Moon Books let me know that Issue #5 (the issue my story appears in) was available on Amazon, I let everyone know. Everyone that I could think of. I posted a blog about it, yelled on FaceBook about it, and sent out an email to friends and family. I received some congratulatory emails in return, including one from a friend of mine out in California, whom I'll call PC.

    (Using that name is funny in and of itself, since PC, though he understands Political Correctness, and follows all the PC rules all day, it's fairly obvious that he occasionally thinks that sometimes 'PC is B.S.', and he'd prefer to say it like it is. For the record, I agree.)

    PC dropped me an email telling me that it was cool that I was being published, and he had already ordered his from Amazon. I sent him a response that I had told everyone I could think of, and now was all paranoid that my friends and family would get it, read it, and come to the conclusion that it sucked. He responded with "Well I think I might get it tomorrow, we shall see.  I'll be sure to give you feedback.  Not just "sucks". 

    Keep in mind, in my small circle of friends we are pretty blunt. When my friend, FP, was asked about the Howard Stern Movie "Private Parts", he said it was better than he'd expected. His official position, the little blurb or sound bite that you would see a reviewer give on the back of a book or DVD, was "Howard Stern's Private Parts: It didn't suck!"

    This is pretty much what I was hoping for from PC. He got it yesterday, and read it last night and this morning.  I received my feedback from him this afternoon. It was more detailed than I thought it would be, comparing part of it to a movie we have both seen and commenting positively on the ending I chose. I was pretty happy, but I was looking at the email, looking for that one blurb, that one 'sound bite' that I could choose to put on the back of a book. I chose the last line in the email, as it seemed to encapsulate the entire message.
    Are you ready?

    "Yup, I say keep doing it. I will now add it to my collection of
     books that I don't donate to the local library."
                                          ~ PC

                          Huzzah! High praise indeed, if you know the source!

    Talk to you later!

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    The Nap

    I'm sitting in the library towards the end of my lunch. I just wrote a quick story, and you almost wound up with it in here as an example of my fiction instead of a usual blog entry. I wrote a quick little 500 word story, and now I'm tired. Kind of sleepy.
    I need a nap.
    Oh, sure, I can hear some of the younger readers out there laughing up their sleeves at me. The old man needs a nap, they're saying. Quick, get him his Teddy and Blankie, they're saying.
    Let's look at the nap, then, shall we?
    What is it that gets you through the hard days of eating, playing, and pooing in your shorts when you're just a toddler?
    The nap.
    What is it that lets you stay up late enough to see the end of the new episode of I-Carly, or Victorious, or even the amazing crossover made-for-tv movie 'I-Party with Victorious' when you're just a youngster?
    The nap.
    What gets you through the day when you're in high-school, hiding in the back of the class and hoping the teacher will forget you're even in Algebra this year?
    The nap.
    When one of your college professors has a horribly droning voice, a magnificent amount of long flowing nasal hair, and is only reading straight from the textbook anyway, what is it that takes you away from the horror of 'Required Attendance'?
    You guessed it. The nap.
    The Spanish have the Siesta. The Germans have the Mittagspause. The Chinese call it the Wujiao, and we call it the Power nap. The Power Nap, like it comes out of a comic book.
    It's traditional. What do you think your own father is going to be doing this Thanksgiving after shoveling in as much turkey as a man can keep down, sticking his fingers into the waistline of his trousers, and throwing himself down on either a couch or a recliner, ostensibly to 'watch the game'?
    That's right. He'll be taking a nap.
    So I say to all those younger than me, to all those who were giggling or smirking at the thought of me lying down for a little snooze, who thought the idea of a grown man taking a nap was funny, to all those people I say: 

    Blow it out your @$$!!  I'm taking a friggin' nap!

    Now, where's my Blankie?

    Talk to you later!

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Man, That Word Sounds Hinky!

    I was talking about something this morning, and I described it to the person I was talking to as 'hinky'. I always remember the first time I heard that word. It was during the movie "The Fugitive":

    Marshal Biggs: This is hinky, this guy's a college graduate, he went to medical school, he's not gonna come through all the security, go to the county lockup, to find someone his one people say does not exist. Hinky.
    Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: Well, what does that mean Biggs, 'hinky'?
    Marshal Biggs: I don't know. Strange.
    Marshal Henry: Weird.
    Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: Well, why don't you say strange or weird? I mean hinky, that has no meaning.
    Marshal Biggs: Well, we say hinky.
    Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: I don't want you guys using words around me that have no meaning. I'm taking the stairs and walking.
    Marshal Biggs: [sotto voice] How about 'bullshit?' How about 'bullshit', Sam? 

    So I started thinking about words like 'hinky', words that lots of people may have never heard of and I decided to throw a few in here for your enjoyment. Some of them I've heard, some I made up. 

    I'm not telling which is which.

    • Himple
      • A painful and embarrassing pimple in a place that only a man can get one. On a thing where a woman could not get a pimple. I'm not drawing any diagrams here, folks. My mother reads this thing!
    • Grinching
      • When something happens, someone does something, and it makes your heart swell; in effect, making it 'grow three sizes that day'. 
        • Example - "I opened the door and Johnny was standing there holding the biggest, most beautiful bunch of roses I had ever seen. He held them out to me, but I was so flummoxed I just stood there grinching."

    • Ffulb
      • The opposite of a bluff. When you bluff, you fake someone out by appearing stronger than you really are. With a Ffulb you do it by appearing weaker. My earliest example of this was from my mother. I was about 9 or 10, and there was a guy who was really trying to sell her a Christmas tree. She didn't want the tree, but this guy wasn't taking 'no' for an answer. My mother suddenly sounded flustered, unsure of herself, and not really very bright. "Oh, I really don't know. My husband usually makes all these decisions..." Mr. Pushy kind of nodded to himself and put the tree aside, realizing he was only talking to 'the little woman' of the household. We were free to walk back to the car, and I was free to look at this woman next to me and wonder who she was and what she had done with my real mother. She had just Ffulbed her way out of it.
    • Lateface
      • A derivation of 'Game-face'. Say you are late for an engagement of some kind. A gathering, a get-together, an appointment, it doesn't really matter. As you are driving over, you set your face into a thunderous frown, ready to be seen by anyone watching for you out of a window or keeping an eye on the parking lot. This expression is intended to aid you in selling the story about the traffic jam, or the idiot driver who made you late so no one will suspect the truth; that you simply overslept or forgot. If you have a really angry expression it can occasionally forestall any inquiry at all! When your frown is set, and you are ready to be seen as you enter that parking lot, you my friend are wearing your Lateface.
    • Whupeepy
      • A combination of 'whups!' and 'creepy'. The feeling you get when you look up from the horror story you have been reading, or the scary movie you just watched, and notice that while the sun was high and bright when you started reading or watching, it somehow managed to go down while your mind was occupied with the frightening story. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now not so much as you realize that you are alone in the house/apartment/condo and, except for the pool of light thrown by your reading lamp or the television screen, the place is completely dark and shadowy, and you're not even sure -
                                                   -What was that sound?

    There. Five new terms for you to add to your personal lexicon. 
    Did I make some of them up?
    But that doesn't mean they're not floopy terms!

    Talk to you later!

    Oh, before I go, there's my standard reminder about the poll up there on the right, and another thing: 
    The Coffin Hop.
    Next month, during Halloween week, several authors who have dabbled in the Horror genre will be opening up their blogs and websites with games, contests, and Halloween tales to chill your blood. All participating sites will be available through links at the Master site, which you will be able to get to through that web badge at the top of this page.
     I haven't decided yet if I will be a participating site. This isn't a blog dedicated to my writing per se, and definitely not to my fiction or Horror, but I may try to take a week and have some fun with the Hop.
    If you like scary things (and who, during the month of October doesn't like scary things?) please, check it out. The badge up there will be an available gateway to the Hop through Halloween 2011.
    Help a body out, won't you?

    Okay, it's a bit later, and I'm back. It seems I misread the info on the Coffin Hop, and they don't want us to push the promotion until October 15th. I pulled the badge from the top of the page, so you can stop looking for it for now. But starting on the 15th of October, the badge will be back, the gateway will be open, and you will have the chance to see the work of quite a few excellent authors who at least dabble, and sometimes more than dabble, in the genre of Horror. 


    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    A Little Issue Of Focus

     I was sitting there at the soccer field, waiting for Handsome's practice to be over. His mother dropped him off here, but I was bringing him home. I stopped by the house on the way to the field to run in and use the bathroom. As I was leaving, running back out to the Jeep to go watch his practice, I noticed a flat package on the dining room table, right where I set up my laptop when I go there for a visit.
    It's the two copies of Dark Moon Digest #5 that I ordered from Amazon.
    The issue I'm in.
    I snagged the package off the table and headed out to the field. I opened the box before practice really got under way, and checked it out. I checked the Table of Contents, and there I am on page 35. I flip to page 35, and there's my story, “Playmate Wanted”.
    There was a whistle, as practice began.
    I was supposed to be watching Handsome while he practiced. He likes to look over and see one of us watching him. I looked up and he was running with the ball. I looked back down at the issue in my hands.
    Eh, I've got time to watch him.
    I start reading “Playmate Wanted”.
    This is pretty good, I thought. I noticed things, details I had forgotten.

    I glanced up. They were all in a huddle in the middle of the field. I looked back down and started reading again.
    I read it twice. It's just that good!
    It's probably not, really, but it's mine. Woot woot!
    I was just putting it away, packing the two copies back in the shipping package together. Handsome strolled up, pants grass stained, face flushed and hair glistening with beaded sweat.
    “Did you see that, Dad?”
    “I sure did, Handsome,” I lied.
    His face was serious.
    “What did I do?”
    “Uh... you were the one with the ball?”

    I am in so much trouble!

    Talk to you later!

    P.S. - don't forget to check out my entry titled "Underdog - Superhero or Trend-Setting Speed Freak", and take part in my poll! Results posted Saturday!

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Mean Little Dogs

    What is it with mean little dogs? I mean the aggressive, seriously want-to-get-at-you and tear it up little dogs? I see dogs all the time, and I know there are all kinds of dogs, and aggressive dogs come in all sizes. But what's up with the little ones?

    There are some dogs that are aggressive because they have been trained to be that way. You can tell those ones, the ones that have been trained to protect a property. They're usually good-sized dogs who are very aware of the property line, and they have the attitude that "Hey, Dude, this is the line of Death. You cross it, you die." I understand that, and I respect it. They are usually either penned up or tied in such a way that you can avoid them if you are careful. They are not a worry, not really.

    Some dogs, usually medium to large sized dogs again, are aggressive through fear. These are the ones that people often have tied in their yard, but the leash runs from the collar to the hook beside the door. These dogs bark at you, but never charge. They just bark in a while lot if bluster, basically saying "Hey, Dude, this is the line of Death. You cross it, you die. Seriously, I mean it man, don't push me! I can't be held responsible if you push me man, so just stay over there. I'm gonna back up now, and you just stay over there! I'm warning you!"
    These dogs aren't going to bite you unless they're cornered and panic. For instance, if they back onto their porch because that's where the other end of the leash is tied,and you come up to ring the bell or deliver the mail. Then they feel crowded and cornered and bite you out of fear, then run away barking "See? I warned you, Pal! Now you wait right there while I run for help! For you, I mean, help for you!"

    Then there are the crazies. These come in all sizes as well, and with the larger ones you can tell where they live just by looking at the house. There are toddler-gates set up across all the windows on the ground floor to keep the insane animal in the house from coming right through the glass at you for having the gall to walk on their street!

     The smaller dogs usually wind up in this category. I have a couple of them on my route, actually. Little dogs, tiny dogs, like someone threw a collar on a rat and sold it to a nearsighted old lady as a lapdog. These dogs try to get out of the house at me, through the door and windows. They try to get off their ropes at me in the yard, or get under the fence if they know I'm on the other side; I can see their little muzzles and fore paws as they dig and scratch and snap at the fence, trying anything they can think of to get through and at me.
    Even when they are being taken for a walk, not even near their houses, they see me and go right to the end of the leash, barking and snarling and clawing at the ground trying to drag their owners closer to me so they can just sink in a fang or two. They won't stop, heel, stay. or shut up, no matter what their owners say or do. Even when their exasperated humans scoop them up and try to comfort and quiet them, they continue to claw and scratch and snap their way toward me. Sometimes they hurt their humans in the process, and the humans always glare at me like I'm doing something wrong.

    "You're looking right at me," I want to say. "Have I done anything? Have I even made eye-contact with your pooch? Can you please tell me anything I just did to make your dog act like someone took 10 lbs worth of aggression and anger and stuffed it into that 2 lb little bag of hair, and then set its ass on fire? No? Me either. Can you say 'pet therapy'?"

    I think I do know what it is that makes those little dogs so aggressive, crazy aggressive like that. More aggressive that their larger counterparts. It's not their fault. It's not their human's faults.
    It's those short little legs.
    I think those short little legs mean that their junk, their genitalia, is constantly scraping and bouncing on the ground. I shudder to think about it, but have you noticed that it's never the little dogs that people carry that are aggressive? Never the pug that refuses to walk more than 5 steps and their humans just pick them up rather than argue? Never the little 'accessory dogs' that ride around in rich ladies purses all day? It's the little tiny dogs that get 'let out', and 'taken for walks' and are never carried around. All day long their 'junk' is smacking off the pavement, the lawn, the stairs ... my God, the stairs!
    It's no wonder these little dogs get so over-the-top aggressive. If my junk was taking a beating all day I think I might have a bit of an attitude myself!

    Talk to you later!

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Smashing Videos!

    Have you ever seen those 'skate videos' on YouTube? They have them on "America's Funniest Home Videos" as well. You have some kid with a video camera recording a a kid, or kids, trying and practicing stunts on skate boards.
    And failing spectacularly!
    They have them now for scooters, bicycles and in-line skates as well. You can usually tell when a group of people is watching one of these videos by their reactions. They all take in a sharp breath at the same time, then there is a moment of silence from them as they hold it. Pow, the breaths all come out explosively, signifying that the kid in the video has broken his leg, or landed flat on his back. Or worse, his face. In the videos, the kid is asking his friends to stop skating and help him find all his teeth, while in the real world the people are all saying things like "Did you see that?" I can't believe that, when he landed on the... and the pole hit him right in the... did you see that?"
    No. I did not see that.
    I can watch slasher flicks, war movies, and car crash videos. I love action movies, fight scenes and brutal death scenes. But I can't watch those kids wrecking themselves on their skateboards.
    Faces of Death?
         Seen it.
    Friday the 13th?
    I Spit on Your Grave, Tokyo Gore Police, Saw...
    I mean, sure there are parts that make me flinch, or say "wow, I wouldn't wanna be that guy!", but I can at least watch the damn things! But not those kids maiming themselves in stunts. For some reason I hate those vids; can't watch 'em, and avoid 'em like the plague.

    Until now.

    If you are like me, and you can't bring yourself to watch these videos that other people can't seem to tear themselves away from, I can help. I can tell you the secret that will allow you to stand there in that crowd and gain the acceptance, even the respect, of co-workers and friends who may now look down on you as 'weak' since you can't watch. I discovered the secret just this weekend.

    Are you ready?

    Choose the person out there in the world that you can not stand. The person you hate. The person that you wouldn't mind seeing come down with some painful disease, hopefully in an embarrassing way. The person who could be in a terrible car accident, and when you heard about it in the morning and the one telling you the story said "yeah, and [such-and-such] was all messed up and taken away in an ambulance!", your first question would be "Yes, but was anybody hurt?". For some people out there it could be an ex-lover or spouse. For some of you out there we can skip the 'ex'... Could be your mother-in-law, or your boss, or a co-worker, or maybe, I don't know, your mother-in-law.
    For me it's a guy I'll call M.M. When one of these videos is on I just picture every kid who goes flying through the air, or flying down the stairs, or takes a hand-rail between the testicles so hard they'll never meet again, and I picture them as good old M.M. I can stand there and watch blood spill, teeth splash across the pavement like water and what amounts to the birth of terrific facial scars. I can watch kids become forcibly double-jointed, even triple jointed, even have joints added where there previously were none, and I don't have to turn away or cover my eyes.

    Try it, it works. Those people who previously thought of you as 'weak' will look at you with a new respect.
    ...and maybe they'll give you a little extra space around the monitor. At least until they get used to you laughing so hard.

    Talk to you later!

    P.S. - don't forget to check out my entry titled "Underdog - Superhero or Trend-Setting Speed Freak", and take part in my poll! Results posted Saturday!

    Sunday, September 18, 2011


    So this morning I had an email waiting for me from Dark Moon Books, a branch of Stony Meadow Publishing. The top half of the newsletter was an advertisement that looked a lot like this:

    Dark Moon Books
    Simply. Scary.

    Issue #5 of Dark Moon Digest now available!
    The dark days of winter are howling outside the windows and the winds are like frosty fingers scratching at thin wooden doors. Yes, the season of the witch is upon us and the moon grows blood red. So, curl up before a nice roaring fire and feed upon the darkness with new tales from Issue #5 of Dark Moon Digest. With Marc Olivent's "Slaughterhouse" graphic serial wrapping up and Kevin McClintock's "Tenants" coming to a climatic end, our 1st anniversary issue is a real page turner. But keep that flame in the hearth glowing bright. You'll need it as evil toys, haunted amusement park rides, worms, rats and insects invade your mind. Not to mention evil in the form of humans. Or what we thought were humans. What was that? Did the lights just flicker? Probably all in your mind. Right...?

    Issue #5 is now available at Amazon and other fine online bookstores.

    Issues 1 through 4 are also still available.

    Okay, it looked exactly like that. I cut and pasted it here (with Dark Moon's permission) to share it with you. Do you see that part about "evil in the form of humans. Or what we thought were humans."? That, my friends and readers, that refers to my very first published short story, "Playmate Wanted".
    Can you say 'excited'?
    Can you say 'ecstatic'?
    Can you say 'doing a little wiggly happy dance in my chair like an excited puppy?
    (Except without the peeing, of course. Well ... maybe just a tiny bit.)

    So, as I was doing all this wiggling and giggling, Handsome came into the room behind me.  I pointed to the ad I had in the email.
    "You see that? That right there is the magazine that's publishing me. Look, look there, I even made a mention in the ad! Sort of."

    Handsome just glanced at the screen and gave me just a little perspective in all this.

    "That's great, Dad. Can I have a brownie?"

    And he walked out of the room.

    Ah, there's my place! I see it now, thank you for pointing it out to me. I'll just get back in it now.

    Talk to you later!

    P.S. - don't forget to check out my entry titled "Underdog - Superhero or Trend-Setting Speed Freak", and take part in my poll! Results posted next Saturday!

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Underdog - Superhero or Trend-Setting Speed Freak?

    So I was thinking about Underdog. Not the recent live-action movie, but the old cartoon from when I was little. I was picturing this sad looking little guy in his droopy suit, and all I could think was Man, this was a superhero back then? A talking dog in long-johns that are about nine sizes too big?

    And the talking dog thing wasn't even that special in the old cartoon. Lots of dogs in that world talked and worked and were regular people. Underdog even had a weird issue: he always spoke in rhyme. A speech impediment? Some form of mental disorder? I mean, really? Really?

    And another thing that seemed a little... let's say 'less than heroic' to me. There were lots of episodes where Underdog would work and work and eventually become exhausted. His solution? A secret compartment in his ring where he kept an 'Underdog super energy pill'.  He'd dry-swallow the pill and wham he was hit with a huge burst of energy, allowing him to go on and save the day.
    Can you say 'amphetamine addict'? Come on, say it with me: 'Amphetamine addict'. I think it was no wonder Simon Barsinister and Riff-Raff and the others kept escaping from prison. While the sirens were going off and searchlights were playing back and forth over the barb-wired walls, Shoeshine Boy was off on some street corner scoring a new supply! It was no wonder he had weird speech patterns. He got to the point where he was popping pills right in front of Sweet Polly Purebread, so he must have been pretty wrecked a lot of the time, doing it publicly like that.
    As a matter of fact, I recall at least one time when Polly was the one to pop the pill. What is Underdog, some kind of pusher? If they caught him, and could have held him, he would have been top dog on the inside!

    That got me thinking as well. Those droopy clothes of his, they look familiar. Not like something I saw 40 years ago, but like something I've seen more recently ... and then it hit me. All those kids I see walking around with their pants hanging half-way down their backsides!  It's supposed to be a fashion that started in the prison system... what if they are all paying homage to this powerful speed-freak amphetamine dealer? Are all these kids Underdog wannabes? Hmm...

    So you decide for yourself. Was Underdog a superhero with a poor sense of style and a minuscule budget for uniforms? Or was he a trend-setting speed freak with criminal connections and a speech impediment?

    Please, throw your answer into the poll to the right. Participation gets you nothing but satisfaction, but hey, I'll enjoy seeing it!

    Talk to you later!

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    There's No Obligation...

    I was logging into my blog the other day when I saw an ad on my Yahoo homepage.
         "Many people are refinancing their homes! Wouldn't you like to take advantage of a refinancing to make your mortgage payments lower?"

    Honestly, I'd probably do anything up to, but not including, clubbing a harp seal to make my payments go down. And if it came right down to it that seal would be better off never turning his back on me.

         "Answer just a few questions and we can give you an estimate! See how much you could save! No obligation, it's a free estimate! What have you got to lose?"

    That's a good point, I thought. What do I have to lose? There's no obligation, and it's free.

    Okay, so I admit, I was curious. And never having actually been a cat owner my mind did not immediately jump to that old saying about curiosity and it's detrimental effects on the feline population. I started filling in answers.

    • Amount left on your mortgage? (We will not share this information.)
      • Got it...
    • Current interest rate? (We will not share this information.)
      • Okay...
    • Location of house? (City, State, etc.)  (We will not share this information.)
      • Not a problem...
    • Your name?  (We will not share this information.)
      • Well... okay, I suppose that couldn't hurt ... besides, Google Chrome had auto-filled this in for me already.
    • Your E-mail address? (We will not share this information.)
      • Well, they say they're not going to share it, and I guess I have to give them something...
    • Your phone number?  (We will not share this information.)
      • Well, it's my cell phone... this seems to be going a little far just for some program to throw me a number, but Chrome already auto-filled that too ... I guess I'll leave it ... they said they  won't share it...
    • Your Social Security Number?  (We will not share this information.)
      • Okay, that's it. This is way too much just for a program to run some numbers and spit out an answer. 
    I backed out, and killed the query. I went on to my blog and did the stuff I had gone there to do and went on to work. While I am inside the post office itself the building usually blocks my cell reception, so my morning was alright. Then I went outside to load my route into my truck.
    The phone on my hip began to vibrate.
    I had two missed calls with voice mails and three text messages on a phone that usually has very few of either. Thinking that there had been some emergency with my son or his mom, I dialed into my voice mail immediately.
    "Hi, Rob? This is Karen down at Fidelity Mutual. I was calling in response to this internet request I got for information about the refinancing of your home. If you could give me a call back at -"
    There was a beep as I deleted the message. Next message:
    "Hi, Rob, this is Mark at Mortgage Mutual, and I was -BEEP"
    I checked the texts I had waiting. All from mortgage companies.
    Those sons of @#$%es shared my information! I understand now that that was the plan all along, and what I took to be some little automatic stunt program was actually to get all these people to call me to work out estimates with me.
    I don't have time.
    I don't have the inclination.
    I don't have the patience.

    So now I just don't answer my phone and just pick up the voice mails occasionally, stabbing the 'delete' button like a maniac. All I hear are suave voices and the deleting beep.

    "Hi Rob, this is Elisa over at Western Mutual - BEEP"
    "Hello, sir, this is Tom at Quicken - BEEP"
    "Good afternoon, Rob, we understand that you recently scored very high on our 'How much information can we yank out of this idiot simply by asking him questions in the internet' test, and I was hoping to talk to you about -BEEP"

    So. I'm going to change the outgoing message on my phone. If any of you, my friends, call what you know to be my phone number, you may hear a strangely accented voice (it's a really poor imitation of the South African villain from Lethal Weapon II) saying "Hello, you have reached the telephone of Cestus Wataloobi. I can not answer the phone right now as I am currently out job hunting. Please leave a message after the beep, especially if you are a prospective employer. I accept the job, whatever it is. I'm so broke I can not even afford to eat cat food and am reduced to eating hamster pellets. Leave a message, won't you? BEEP"

    Don't worry. It's me.

    Or is it? Hmmm.....

    Talk to you later!

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Well Hydrated?

    I didn't write the blog today at lunch, as I was not in the library. I was waiting for a call from my doctor about my appointment this afternoon, so I had my ringer turned on and the volume up (my phone is usually set to vibrate) and I had to be in a place where I could take a call. I wound up skipping lunch to get out of work a little earlier and having to call the doctor's office myself rather than waiting for the call-back. I went to the appointment, they did the blood draw, and I was out of there. I had made sure to hydrate before they tried to take my blood, and when I left the doc's I realized I was in dire need of a bathroom. Since I have to pass my parent's house on the way to visit Handsome, I stopped in there to use the facilities.
    I let myself in and strolled into the downstairs bathroom. I was standing in front of the toilet, just doing my thing, when the phone on my hip rang. Loudly.
    Remember how I said I usually keep it on vibrate only?
    I shouted a four-letter word that is, coincidentally, usually associated with bathrooms. I know at least one of my feet left the floor; it may have been both, I'm not sure. Time went all funny, like in the Matrix movies, and I had an excellent, almost slow-motion view of, uh, I'll say 'fluid dynamics'.
    I came within a hair of urinating all over the bathroom wall.
    I said a couple more choice curse words as the phone continued to ring. When I was all done I zipped, flushed, and stepped out in to the kitchen, snatching the phone from my belt on the way. I stabbed a button and plastered the mobile to my head.
    Good, that was good. I didn't sound like someone who makes the children in 'remedial toilet training' look like flipping geniuses.
    "Hello? Is this Rob?"
    "Yes." So far, so good.
    "Do you have a minute, sir? I'd like to talk to you about refinancing your house!"
    I pulled the phone away from my ear and looked at it quizzically. I could hear the dude on the other end still yammering away, sounding a bit like a steroidal chipmunk. I put the phone very close to my mouth and spoke quite clearly.
    I hung up.

    Talk to you later!

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Yup. I Went There.

    Over there -> on the side of my blog, there is a game of Hangman. It's a game I recall playing in school when I was in the second grade, so that would make me about 6 or so. I know my son has played it with me for hours, and it's a good tool for learning spelling, reading, and getting children interested in words.

    Have you ever really considered what this game is saying? I mean, there are words, and spaces, and a cute little guy, and it's part guessing game part deductive reasoning, and it's lots of fun sometimes, and you can see how it's the precursor to the huge television hit 'Wheel of Fortune', but have you ever really looked at the game? I mean, look at it from a little kid's point of view. Five or six. Just starting school.

    The teacher draws a funny shape on the board, and then draws a series of likes next to it. "These lines represent the letters in a word," she says. "You have to guess which letters go there and try to fill in the word. If not ... " She points at the funny shape she's drawn.
    "What's that?"
    The question comes from Jimmy, a nice, sensitive little boy with one heck of a cowlick sitting in the front row.
    "That, Jimmy, is a gallows. Can anyone tell me what a gallows is, what it is used for?"
    Her gaze sweeps over the class. She looks somehow stern as she waits, and some of the children begin to shuffle their feet and fidgit. They feel a little anxious at her tone, but no one raises their hand. No one has a guess.
    "Anyone? No? Well then I'll tell you. A gallows is a contraption used when they hang a person my the neck until they are dead."
    She smiles.
    "Isn't 'contraption' a funny word? I think so." Jimmy is raising his hand.
    "Dead? Like, um... dead?"
    She continues to smile, probably still thinking about the word 'contraption' as she answers "Yes, Jimmy. Dead."
    From the side of the room and about half-way back, another hand goes up. Norma Robbins, a hefty girl in a pink sweater that she's started already to outgrow, waits for the teacher to nod her assent.
    "Um ... what does a gallows have to do with school?"
    The teacher's smile broadens, and she swiftly draws another figure on the board, putting it right next to the gallows, the chalk scritching and scratching as she works. This one is a cute, stick-like figure, with a big balloon head and a smiley face.
    "We are going to play a game today. The game is called 'Hangman'. I will write a series of lines on the board, much like these, here." She points toward the lines. "That tells you how many words there are in the word. Now, all you have to do is guess which letters are in the word, and when you guess right I'll add them in above the line. Eventually someone will be able to guess the whole word, and you will win the game. Yes, Rob?"
    The blonde boy in the back of the class lowers his trembling hand and uses the back of it to wipe away the tears that are filling his eyes.
    "W-w-what happens if we d-don't guess right?"
    "Well, if you guess incorrectly, that's where Harold comes in."
    She taps the chalk on the figure next to the gallows.
    "This is Harold. Cute, isn't he?"
    There are murmurs of agreement from the class.
    "Every time you get an answer wrong, I'll draw a part of Harold on the gallows. First his head, then his body, then his arms and so on. So you all better guess the correct letters and figure out the word, before ... "
    "Before what?" says Jimmy, tears running down his cheeks unchecked.
    "Well," says the teacher, "before I get all of Harold up here. Once he's all up here on the gallows the game's over, and cute little Harold will hang by the neck until he is dead. So I guess Harold's life is really in your hands."
    She picks up the eraser and wipes Harold off the board.
    "Okay, who wants to go first?"
    She turns back to the class and looks out over her students again, and then pauses, a puzzled expression on her face.
    "Why are you all crying?"

    Honestly, this is an evil game that puts way too much pressure on the child to succeed. And what kind of hostage-taker mentality came up with this game? 'Guess correctly or I'll hang this little friendly looking dude. Go on, guess!'
    It's like something out of the movie "Saw"! I can see it now. "Rope: Just when you thought it was safe to go back t the 1st grade..."

    Yeah, can you tell I've been writing Horror stories for the better part of a year? I started this blog so I'd have somewhere to write lighter, funny stuff, but this just snuck in the back door as I was looking at my blog page.
    Sorry. I went with dark humor today.
    Maybe tomorrow it'll be about rainbows!

    Talk to you later!

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    It Begins Again :-(

    Today I came to believe that my anhidrosis is back. (please see "No Sweat, No Problem - Not Really!" for information on anhidrosis)  Parts of me are sweating, but parts of me are not. I went ahead and made a doctor's appointment for tomorrow to see if I should go in for some tests or if I should start the steroid infusions right away. I've decided to keep a little private diary, or log, about the treatments this time, as well as the symptoms to try to keep track of my progress, or lack thereof. I can't believe I never thought to do this before. What I'm thinking is there may be a book in all this crap. After all, according to the people I've spoken with, I'm kind of a medical miracle. So I started my sweat log, or Slog (Think it'll catch on? Me neither). I chronicled the date, the weather, my sweating issues in detail.
    But then I got distracted by that book idea. A book about a man who, for no known reason, loses the ability to sweat. Hmmm... what would I call it?

    • No Sweat!
      •  - No, that sounds like I'm trying to be a self-help guru. Tony Robins would be parked on my lawn trying to call me out!
    • Feelin' Hot Hot Hot!
      • Well... that sounds like it's either a dance number, or women will be buying the book thinking it's a calendar of half-naked firemen. Um... no.
    • Sweating Like A Pig!
      • That would be technically accurate, since pigs do not sweat, but I think a lot of people wouldn't get it. The Richard Simmons crowd might think it's something he put out to go along with 'Sweating to the Oldies', and I'm not all about that. Going to a book signing and being charged by an angry crowd of 300 lb-ers who were expecting a small, effeminate man in ridiculous shorts sounds more like a nightmare than a dream come true.
    • Bone Dry.
      • Sounds like an AA pamphlet.
    • The Quest for Salty Gold
      • Okay, that sounds like a pornographic fetish video - Noooope!
    • Adult Onset Exacerbating/Remitting Ideopathic Anhidrosis - The Story of a Medical Miracle
      • The only thing drier than the author would be the title. I'd be guaranteed to sell at least one book.  Thanks, Mom.
    Okay, not having a lot of luck here. I still think there might be a book in all this malarkey, I just need to find a hook. An eye-catching title.

    A little help here? Does anyone out there have any suggestions for a title? Throw one in the comments section below. Serious, funny, or in-between, I'd love to hear from you!

    Talk to you later!

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    School Daze

    So it's a new school year, and it's my day off. Here I sit at the schoolyard, having come to pick up Handsome when school let out. Handsome decided to stay after school and play with some kids, (surprise, surprise) playing wall-ball and tag, and whatever else they decide to play today. I took a seat at one of the picnic-style tables they have under the tree next to the playground and broke out one of the books I'm currently reading, 'Full Dark, No Stars', by Stephen King. Eventually the Fun Club, an after-school play program, came out and set up on the table next to me. They brought with them even more kids, and I have been surrounded by small children for over an hour as I read about horrible things happening to a poor woman, all with Mr. King's particular sense of detail. Small children playing with balls and toys, throwing paper airplanes past my head as they try to find out who can make the best design.
    After a while it all seemed just a little surreal, all the strange thing I was reading right here in the middle of a crowd of innocent little kids. I felt a little weird, constantly feeling a low-grade worry that someone might start reading over my shoulder, and get a little freaked out. I mean, I know they can read; it's a school program, after all. So I put the book-marker in place, closed the book, snapped an elastic around it to keep it closed (as is my usual habit), and put it aside.
    Right in front of me in the space so recently occupied by my book, there were two words carved into the table. Though I somehow missed them when I sat down and inadvertently covered them with Mr. King's story collection, they were carved deep into the wooden surface. Someone took some serious time to make sure their message would last once they left, that it would survive beyond them. Each block letter was about an inch high, and the loving care they took in the carving made the words clearly legible.

    ***K YOU

    I slapped my book back down over the words, placed my folded hands on top of it and considered. All I could picture was a child coming along (hell, they are all over the place here), looking down at the carved message and then looking at me. And then going over to one of the adults and saying “That man wrote on the table, and it says –“
    It's not just that, I don't want them to see it at all. So I went to the motorcycle and got my laptop out of the backpack strapped to the little luggage rack. Now it sits squarely where my book once sat, and I'm waiting for all the kids to leave. I'll point it out to one of the staff once the kids have thinned out, and maybe they can have a custodian come out tomorrow and clean it, or obscure it somehow, before the kids come out again. Until then I'm kind of trapped. Handsome is thrilled to have all this extra time to play with the kids. He doesn't know why he's getting to stay so long, and he ain't asking.

    I definitely ain't telling.

    Ah, school.

    Talk to you later!