Monday, October 31, 2011

Handsome And The Halloween Story

The flash fiction assignment this month in my writing group was to write a Halloween story.
I know, shocking huh?
So I wrote one. I liked the idea that I had for one, and the part I liked best about it was that I was pretty sure it was something I could read to Handsome. I think he gets annoyed sometimes that I'm writing almost constantly but he can't read or see any of it. I do write "The Adventures of Tommy and Eric" for him, and he likes them, but I think he's curious about everything else.
So I wrote It's a Powerful Thing  (clicking on the title will get you to the story on my website, just in case you were curious), and I ran it by his mother to see if it was too scary for him. I have a story that I wrote last year called Red Lady's Story that I was going to read to him for Halloween, but we decided it was a little too strong for him then, especially right before bed.
But I had It's a Powerful Thing, and I edited it with him in mind, asked a couple of people about it, ran it by his mother, and it was a go. So last night I read it to him as he lay there in bed and tried to fall asleep. Afterward I had a few people who breezed through my website asking me how he did with it, if he was going to have any nightmares. I had to tell them I didn't know, but I didn't think so. 'What did he say?' they asked, 'What was his reaction?'
He didn't have one, really, either positive or negative. So this morning I called the house as I was driving to work and I asked him about it.
"So ... did you have any bad dreams? About the Fyghmant?"
"Well ... no."
But he had hesitated, so I poked him about it again.
"So, it wasn't too scary?"
There was a longer pause, and then:
"I'm sorry Dad ... that story ... I just didn't get it."
Oh well, that was a lot of worry for nothing.
So... tonight, Red Lady's Story.
...and if that doesn't work, there's always Texas Chainsaw Massacre!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stretching a Dollar

Handsome has decided he needs to make some money, and he's going about it in a very unusual way. He's been asking me and his grandmother if there's anything he can do around the house. He doesn't want "chores" as such, but would prefer to be more like hired day labor, getting paid by the job as he does them.
So he did a thing or two for my mother last night, and then he was hassling me for something to do for $$. I told him I have the same problem Grandmama was talking to him about: I do everything myself, and there's not a lot of work hanging about waiting for someone to do it. I did, however, have some laundry to fold and some to wash. So he folded a few clothes and got a load started in the washer, and I gave him a dollar. 
He was happy with the dollar. He was looking forward to getting another dollar. He pointed out some boxes that I had in my room that I've been meaning to get up into the attic, and asked if he could bring them up.
"Tomorrow," I said. "We'll bring them up tomorrow, and you can investigate the attic and make a buck at the same time."
He was good with that, so we went about our night. 
Occasionally, during the night, I would find a dollar laying about. On the kitchen table. Tucked into the couch. Lying on my bed. On the floor in the bathroom. And every time it was "Hey, Handsome! Is this your dollar?"
It always was. The same dollar, the one I had paid him to do my laundry, forgotten and left behind all over the house.
Again, this morning, I began to find the dollar abandoned about the house. I gave it back to him twice, but the third time I just put it in my pocket. Just to see if he'd notice.
He didn't.
So later that afternoon, Handsome and I moved those boxes up to the attic. He took a flashlight and fully explored the attic, moved a few boxes, and then came to me with his hand out like he's just carried my bags up to a very expensive hotel room.
I reached into my pocket, and what do you know, I found a dollar.
He took the dollar and boogied away, all happy to be one dollar richer and completely unweighed down by any kind of clue.
I started finding the dollar again, and after turning it over twice I pocketed it again.
... And started looking for other things to have him do. 
Oh, I'm keeping a running tab as to what I owe him, but for the moment ... I'm going to see just how far I can stretch this dollar.

Talk to you later!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Grinch Who Stole... Halloween?

Remember the Halloween of our childhood? You, if you were a boy (and often if you were a girl), dressed as the scariest thing you could think of. You got all dressed up, and if you looked in the mirror and thought to yourself  "Someone's going to see me like this and drop a fecal brick!" then you figured you were good to go.  There were the Fairies, and the Princesses, and they were fine and had their fun, but for a lot of us it was the once-a-year chance to be the thing that goes bump in the night that made Halloween the terrific holiday that we looked forward to.
This year Handsome wanted to be Freddy Krueger, and that's what we got him. Does he know Freddy Krueger? No. Has he seen the movie? No. But he knows just enough to be sure that Freddy's the scariest thing this side of Elm Street. it was the same thing when he dressed as Jason Voorhees - he just knew it was scary!
So we got him the sweater, and the hat, and a glove with plastic knives for fingers, and I figured out how to do his makeup so he was a pretty reasonable facsimile of the terrifying star of the Nightmare on Elm Street. At the Cub Scout Halloween party I saw ninjas, ghouls, zombies, ghosts, vampires, one serial killer, one axe murderer, and Death himself.
All very scary, all very cool. Handsome was looking forward to going to school as Freddy this Monday.
And then this notice is sent home from Handsome's school.

Halloween Parade!
Monday, October 31st at 1:30 pm

That was fine, that was awesome! A parade, even if it was just for the school... now that sounded like fun!
...and then I read further.

The Rules:
  • No gore, blood, or anything too scary.
  • No weapons (real, fake or otherwise)
  • If your child does not want to wear a costume that is fine, they can cheer for the other students.
A 4th grader not wanting to dress for Halloween? What?
No blood, or anything scary? Hello? Have you all even  heard of Halloween?
Well, I'll just make him up and send him along. Maybe these teachers who don't understand Halloween haven't seen Elm Street, and he can slide by... no, wait....

  • Keep the costumes as uncomplicated as possible
  • Costumes are not to be worn to school
  • Difficult hair styles, makeup etc. are not allowed
Not to be worn to school. No makeup allowed. So Handsome can wear a sweater and hat. No makeup, no knifey glove ... basically my son will be going to school dressed as an old man.

Ooohh! Spooooooky! That is soooooo Halloweeny!

I'm freaking out over here!

I am fairly sure I know where the Grinch went. As a warm up for Christmas this year, the green bastard's stealing Halloween!


You go on ahead... I'll be over here sobbing over the loss of one of my favorite holidays....

Talk to you later!

Friday, October 28, 2011

a True Story

This is a little story to tell you how your Post Office works. And this was on a GOOD day.

We used to have a man who worked for us I'll call LP. Now, LP was deaf. Still is, actually. He wears a pair of very large hearing aides and he manages to get by, but there's a lot of shouting going on whenever LP is involved in a situation. LP was born with a massive hearing deficit and I believe he spent his youth in complete silence, but with the advances in hearing aide technology he has gained partial hearing as an adult. If you are not used to his speech, LP is very hard to understand. Now, this story was related to me by someone who was actually involved in it, whom I'll call CC.
Keep in mind, this is a True Story.

So on this particular day, LP was answering the phones.
You know, now that I look at that, I could just leave that right there and be done for the day. Someone needs to answer the phones every day, and that day they had assigned the job to LP. The deaf guy.
Remember: True Story.
So LP was answering the phones (he can hear things in a higher register better than anything else, so he can pick up that the phone is ringing. If it's loud enough. I was offended that people would just whistle for him to get his attention until someone explained this to me), and CC was somewhere with LP in view.
The phone rang. LP picked it up and shouted (his only volume setting is SHOUT) "Goo mawna, Maboohed Poteofaw, can I hep oo?"
This is LPspeke for "Good morning, Marblehead Post Office, can I help you?"
LPspeke does take a little practice.
Well, CC watched as LP made a face, looked at the receiver, then hung it up.
Before he could walk away, the phone rang again.
"Goo mawna, Maboohed Poteofaw, can I hep oo?"
Again the look at the receiver, and the hang up.
It rang again.
LP stared at the phone, huffed a huge sigh, screwed up his face and lifted the receiver.
"Goo mawna ...  Maboohed Poteofaw ...  can I hep oo?"
He pulled the receiver away from his ear again, screwed his face up even further and said "AAhhhhh!" and slammed the handset down into its cradle.
He only got two steps away from the phone before it rang again!
LP glared over his shoulder at the offending item, then threw a hand toward it in disgust as he stalked away, muttering under his breath. Loudly. Remember, he has no volume control.
Well, the phone just continued to ring at LP's retreating back, so CC got up and answered it.
"Good morning, Marblehead Post Office, can I help you?"
On the other end of the line was a very irate woman who wanted to make a complaint about the man who had been answering the phone before, as he had been making fun of her unmercifully.
She was making this complaint in a very thick Asian accent.
CC sighed.
"Ma'am, that man wasn't making fun of you at all. I'm sorry, Ma'am, but that man is deaf."
There was a long pause.
"Oh! So solly! (very un-pc, I know, but a direct quote)" And she hung up.
To this day we have absolutely no idea what the reason was for her original call.

True Story.

Talk to you later!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Parking Courtesy

I was on the way into the library to write this blog, but I really had no idea what I was going to write about. Sometimes this is a good thing, since I sit down and look at the blank page and inspiration hits me like it's Mike Tyson and I just told him I think the tiger stripes on his face are stupid, but I really like the little rose tattooed on his mother's butt cheek.
Yup. That's hard.
Sometimes, however, I sit and look at the blank page and it just ... stays ... blank.
Well, that was on my mind as I pulled into the teeny-tiny parking lot behind the library here. I'm not kidding about the small size, either. I think there are 8 parking spaces out there, and if they are all taken and you pull up the long driveway beside the building and see you have to just turn and leave then you have a 27 point turn ahead of you unless you want to back right back up the driveway and out into traffic.
There is not a lot of room.
So I pulled back there and all the spots were taken. I started to gear up for my 27 points when I noticed an older gentleman (yes, Handsome, even older than me!) getting into one of the cars at the far end of the lot.
Excellent! It was raining, and I didn't want to have to carry my computer bag the 2 or 3 blocks I'd have to if I was parked up the street. I pulled over as far as I could, pinning a car into the Handicapped spot, but there was no one trying to leave in that car, so I just pulled up and waited.
I was waiting a while, since the old boy had to get all situated in the car, back the length of the parking lot, and slide in next to me in order to then drive down the driveway and out to the street. It was while I was waiting that The Woman showed up.
I never saw her coming. I was busy watching the old gentleman's progress (wait, he was backing - would that be 'regress'?) when suddenly there was a minivan parked next to me, appearing with the stealth of a large, boxy ninja. A large boxy ninja with one bad wiper.  And when I say 'next to me', I mean next to me! I had already pulled over as far as I could to be out of the guy's way, but she pulled up so close on my open side it must have looked to the people in the building like my mail truck was being frisked! She did not look at me, but waved the old man along, encouraging him to back around her and down the driveway.
She was going for my spot!
She was so close I could not get out, but I could shout. I yanked the door open.
"Hey! Heeeeey! I was waiting for that spot!"
No response as she brightly watched the man backing around her.
"Hey! Lady! Heeeeyyyy!"
Keep in mind, she was sitting on the left side of her car, and I was on the right side of my truck. She had pulled a little ahead of me, so as not to have to look at me, but she was, in reality, only 3 and a half or 4 feet away from me. With my door open there was nothing to stop her from hearing my voice but 1/4 an inch of glass.
That and her own willful, brightly cheery ignoring of my voice as she strong-armed the spot away from me.
"You #$%@!!"
That got a response. She looked away and turned up the radio.
Strangely, I could hear her radio, but she was completely ignorant of my existence.
So I pushed the envelope of her ignorance. I ... uh ... used creative language. Quite loudly.
Eventually she pulled up into the spot, and I had to wait for the man to finish his maneuvering before I even attempted to get my truck  out of there. He was on about point 16 of the turn when I decided I had the time.
I hopped out of the truck.
I strode through the rain,  up behind the minivan now occupying my parking spot.
The Woman, who had been gathering her things and preparing to exit the vehicle, apparently became suddenly aware of me, as she pulled her leg back in and slammed the door.
I heard the door locks click.
She stared at me in the rear view mirror, and I stared right back as I stood about a foot behind her bumper, cupped my hands around my mouth and shouted at the top of my lungs.
"Thank you very much!"
Then I turned and strode back to my truck to begin my 27 point turn.
She stayed in her van until I was out of the parking lot. I parked up the street and walked back. I looked for her when I got  in here, but she's nowhere to be found. I hope I see her before I leave.
I want to walk up and stop where she can see me, smile and wave.

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I've been up late all this week, even for me. Usually after 2 am, and I'm still getting up at 6 am to write - I'm trying to get the next Sci-Fi story out for handsome before NaNoWriMo starts, in just 6 days.
Yeah, the blogs are going to get sparse then. I'll just lack the time...
So anyway, I'm running on slightly shortened sleep, which for me is an iffy thing since I tend to run a bit lean in that vein anyway. So this morning as I drove in to work, rather than wash my breakfast down with a regular old flavored water, I had a Hydrive. Plenty of orangy flavor with only 30 calories.

Oh, and 145mg of caffeine.


So a little while after I got to work, things just seemed to ...slow...down...
So I tried to perk things up! I was sorting my mail like a demon, and I started singing along with the radio. Loud. Then a song came on the radio that I didn't know the words to, so i just started singing the one that was running through my head. Loud. I think at that point it was the theme to Gilligan's Island, but I'm not sure. As I'm writing this I realize that my memory of this morning is a little blurry. In spots. BIG spots.
So anyway, I was singing, and dancing a little. At least I think I was dancing. Either that or my legs had fallen asleep and I was walking way funny. I sang a little Country, a little Rock, and more Gilligan's Island, sometimes with what was on the radio, but most times not. I'm pretty sure the Gilligan's Island is a not.
All of it loud.
Usually, I sing like a bird.
Wait - a crow is a bird, right? Good.
Yes, usually I sing like a bird, but at the moment I have a bit of a cold so it sounded a bit rough. But I still had volume!

The next thing I know, there's a tap on my shoulder. I looked over and there was B.M., one of my co-workers standing next to me.
"Rob," he said, right into my face, "are you alright?"
"I'm running on like 9 hours of sleep for the past three nights combined," I said. He looked concerned.
"And I had a bunch of caffeine this morning!"
He stared at me for a second, then leaned in even closer, enunciating each word carefully so I'd be sure to understand.
He turned and walked back toward his bench, but only got half-way there before he spun to face me again.
He returned to his bench.


Talk to you later.

"Juuuuust sit right there and you'll hear a tale, the tale of a fateful trip! That started from this tropic port, aboard this ti-ny ship! The Mate was a mighty sailing man..."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Freddy Krueger, Parts I and II

So last night was Handsome's first Scout Pack meeting, and lucky for him it was a Halloween party. We (I) spent some time trying to get his makeup right, since he didn't want to wear a mask this year. Probably a good idea, since he always winds up taking the mask off and I have to carry it around while we trick-or-treat.
Makeup seemed like a good solution until I realized that I'd be trying to make his face look all burned up. I gave him a yellowish base-coat, and then slapped some maroon all over him where Freddy's major burn scars are. A little water in the middle of them to wash away the makeup there, pat them dry, and you have a reddish outside with a nice pink interior, that look pretty burn-ish. If he's in a dim light. Wearing his hat.

So I slapped the trademark red and green Freddy sweater on him, popped the hat on his head and gave him the famous razor-glove. He looked pretty good! I got him to the church basement with the other cub scouts and the party did commence! He was all proud of his costume (especially since no child there had even seen "Nightmare on Elm Street", including him!) He volunteered to carry the flag out for the opening ceremony, completely Freddie'd out! Once the party was underway, they started playing games. Handsome was running about like a maniac, so I suppose it was good that he was dresses as one. Eventually, though, I noticed something was missing. I found him in the crowd of kids by looking for the red and green sweater, but when I found it there was no accompanying hat!

"Dude, where's your hat?"
"I dunno... wait! It's over here!"
He ran and got the hat, and the razor glove to go with it.
"You're not going to wear these now?"
"I can't," he answered. "They get in the way during the games!"
The next thing I knew, I had the had and glove, and he was sprinting away to move on to the next game with his Den.
Well, okay, I thought, It's not like it's the first time he's left a costume behind or anything. At least the makeup's holding on, and I can find  him anywhere in that sweater!
They moved to a smaller side room to play a more contained Halloween game that was based on Bingo. I looked through the window from the hall where I was waiting, and noticed right away that something else was missing. When the game was over and he came running out I flagged him down.
"Hey! Where's your jersey? The red and green jersey?"
He looked blank for a second, then looked down at himself and ran back into the room. He was out in seconds with a red and green jeresy, which he tossed in my direction.
"You're not wearing this either?"
"It's too hot," he hollered over his shoulder as he disappeared down the hall after his den.

Well, I thought, at least I have all of his costume together if he's not going to wear it. It's kind of a pain to carry around though...
 So this was how we finished out the night:

Truth to tell, I think I was scarier looking than Handsome was, and I didn't even use any makeup!
They don't call him "Handsome" for nothing.
...and they don't call me "Handsome at all!

Happy Halloween!
Don't forget the Coffin Hop!
Blah... blah... blah...

Talk to you later!

I'd like to thank the nice lady who was taking pictures for the Pack last night. I forget her name, but she told me to just go to the Pack Website and pull off whatever pictures I wanted.

Thank you, Nice Lady!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Coffin Hop!

Yes, I know, you're all tired of hearing about the damn Coffin Hop! Well, it started today, so you won't have to hear about it much longer. I, as well as some other anxious writers, started last night. My Coffin Hop page is up and running, There you can enter to win a free copy of Dark Moon Digest #5 (The issue that I'm in), and all you have to do is fill out the entry form and hit ENTER. Each night, starting tomorrow, I'll be running a scavenger hunt through the Coffin Hop websites. The questions will be posted on my Scavenger Hunt page each night at 8:00 Eastern, and the first one back with all the answers wins the chance to be a character in one of my stories. Hopefully the story will eventually be published, but until that time I'll be sending each winner a PDF version of the story once it's complete. Five nights, five hunts, five winners. If I have anyone who plays... lol.
Also, I'll be running a "Chat With The Author", a small online chat on my Coffin Hop page, starting tonight and every night of the Hop at 10:00-10:30 pm eastern and running until I can't stay awake any longer. I gave it a shot last night and wound up talking to one other writer until nearly 4:00 in the morning.
Thank God this was my day off!
Even if you're not a writer, stop on by and say hi. I'll be there with something caffeinated to drink and some spooky stuff to read.

Yes. This will be a busy week for me. But fun!

So. With all this work, did anything funny happen to me today?
Of course!
Do I remember what it was right now, after being up until 4 and then working on Scavenger Hunt questions all day?
Yes! Yes I do. Um, Handsome beat me almost to death with an empty 2-liter pepsi bottle while I lay on the floor choking on a ravioli.
Wait... I guess you had to be there.
I found out that the online Chat system I am using for my Author Chat randomly names the people who join in. They can re-name themselves, but frequently do not. Thus I spent quite a lit of last night and some of this morning typing in "Hello, Snookiepuss!" and "Welcome, SassyFrazzle!"
I started feeling like a bit of a dope.
That seemed funny to me at the time... of course, that was while and shortly after I stayed up until 4 am doing this stuff.
We'll see how things go tonight when I get it cranked up.
Maybe I'll see you there!

Talk to you later!

Co-ffin-HOP! Co-ffin-HOP! Co-ffin-HOP!
(Think I can get a human wave going here? Yeah... I didn't think so.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's A Monkey on My Back

The Coffin Hop goes Live tomorrow! And for some of us, those of us who will be awake, tomorrow starts at 12:01 am. The Coffin Hop Page on my Website will be up and running as of midnight tonight. Stop by, jump from site to site, play games, read stories, maybe win some prizes!
Spread the word!
Tell your friends!
Tip your waitresses, we'll be here all week!


My hands get all twitchy and my mouth starts watering. I know I can get my hands on some, it would be so damn easy. No one's watching me, and I have the cash. I try, I really try. I walk away, but it almost feels like the stuff is calling me. I circle back to where I can get it, and do a walk-by. Did anybody look at me funny, are they keeping an eye on me?
I don't think so.
It feels safe.
I know I should just walk away, I try again to walk away, but it's like I can't steer my feet, like they are stuck in the same track that keeps circling back toward my personal demon. The money is in my hand, though I don't recall actually taking it from my pocket. With trembling fingers I pick some up. Then more. Then more. I pay my money and slink away, not making eye-contact with anyone walking near me. I know they'll see my shame.
I hustle to the car and slip inside. I don't even wait until I'm home safe, I can't wait. I tear open one of the packets and toss one, then two and three of the things into my waiting mouth, chewing and chewing, waiting for the rush ...
... my body relaxes as my hands stop twitching. My jaw works and works, filling my mouth with chocolaty caramelly goodness...
Milk Duds. It's an addiction born in Hell!!

Talk to you later!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Day in the Life

The Coffin Hop starts this Monday! I've added my website to the list and started making a 'Coffin Hop' page, so please stop by the Website, join in on the Hop! With over 90 different authors taking part, that makes more than 90 chances to win stuff!
Let me repeat that:
...and you might just find a new author you like, someone who's writing career you can follow. Who knows, you might find the next Stephen King just waiting for you to discover him!


So I know I said I'd not be posting here about my fiction writing, but this isn't about accomplishments. This is about the process. And my lack thereof.

I have a very short story, less that 1,500 words, and it's a response to the flash assignmenr from my writing group this month. A Halloween story - surprise surprise. So I wrote one, and I like it a lot, but I need to edit it. Pare it down. Streamline it.
Just so I don't forget things like this I put a little Gadget in the sidebar on my desktop. It look like a little yellow Post-It pad, and I use it to leave myself little reminders up there. It's my To-Do list. The 1st thing in the to-do list is "Edit It's a Powerful Thing" It's been the top thing in the list for almost a week now. Here's a little breakdown of my usual day lately:

  • 6:30 am 
    • Wake up, get ready for work and try to be early enough to sit down before clocking in and get some editing done on the story.
  • 8:05 am
    • Hustle in from the parking lot at work, trying to be on the clock for 8:00. Yes, I know, I didn't make it.  But I tried.
  • 10:30 am
    • Get my route on the road for my 9:05 leave time. Yes, I know, I didn't make it. But I tried.
  • 4:00 pm
    • Finish my route and head to the library in town, having worked straight through so I can take my lunch and breaks at the same time so I have at least 50 minutes to write this blog, then get right to editing that story.
  • 4:10 pm
    • Check my email, answer one or two really fast. Finish with that quickly so I can bang out the blog and get to that story.
  • 4:15 pm
    • Stare at blank Blog page for a while, thinking furiously. 
  • 4:20 pm 
    • Check email again, diddle around with something for the Coffin Hop. 
  • 4:23
    • Realize what I'm doing, curse at myself a little and get back to the blog
  • 4:25 pm
    • Stare at blank Blog page for a while, thinking furiously.
  • 4:30
    • Stroll to the bathroom looking for a little inspiration
  • 4:35 pm
    • Stare at blank Blog page for a while, thinking furiously.
  • 4:40 pm
    • ...Zzz... zzz...  - What? What! Oh, how embarrassing! (wipe up the drool)
  • 4:45 pm
    • Inspiration hits! Start writing furiously
  • 4:46 pm
    • Remember that I don't actually know how to type, and begin to hit the "backspace" button furiously
  • 4:47 pm
    • Start writing again at a more sedate pace
  • 4:55 pm
    • Stop writing and pack it up, head back to the office and get off the clock.
  • 10:00 pm
    • My son's been put to bed (and I took a half-hour nap with him) and I've come home, taken a shower and sat down to work for the evening - 1st thing's 1st, finish the Blog!
  • 11:00 pm (+/- 15 minutes)
    • Publish the blog and look at the story, sitting next to me in its nice manila folder, highlighters resting atop it. But there was thought I had about the Coffin Hop this afternoon... if I just get that one thing done then I can spend the rest of the night with the story...
  • 1:00 am
    • Doze off for the 1st time, wake up 5 minutes later (usually from one of those 'falling' dreams where you almost kick yourself over backward in the chair. Don't you hate those?) and try to just finish that one thing for the Hop, and then I'll go to bed and work on the story in the morning when I get up at 5:00 am.
  • 2:00 am
    • Bleary, a little dozy, I'm either finished with what I was working on for the Hop, or I just quit. I reset the alarm for 6:00 am and start getting stuff ready for work in the morning
  • 2:15 am
    • One last check of email before I go to bed. Then the weather. Then the blogsite for traffic. Then FaceBook. Then the weather again, just in case it changed. Then the website to make certain I remembered to hide all the pages I was supposed to hide. Then the weather again.
      I swear I don't have OCD.
  • 2:45 am-ish
    • Move the laptop over to the bed and pull up Archer on Hulu. Or FX. Or somewhere . I'm a little unsure of this part, it's a little bleary. Re-set the alarm for 6:30 am so I'll have a little time in the morning to work on editing that story (remember that story? remember that?)
  • 2:55 am-ish
    • Realize I'm still dressed, stop Archer, get undressed, then start Archer from the beginning again so i don't miss anything. It's the same episode I watched the night before, and the night before that, and the night before that ... and still, I worry that I might miss something. 
  • Sometime between 3:00 am and 3:30 am. -ish. I think.
    • Fall asleep
  • 6:30 am 
    • Wake up, get ready for work and try to be early enough to sit down before clocking in and get some editing done on the story.
And we know how it runs from there, don't we?

Now, it's quarter of 9 at night, and I think I have the blog done. I'm going to publish this baby, take a shower and get my son to bed. I'll take a little snooze with him, about 15-20 minutes, and I'll get up and come back over here and edit the story that's sitting right next to me right now, in its nice manila folder with the highlighters resting atop it.
Sure I will.

Talk to you later!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Do the Clothes Make the Man?

The Coffin Hop starts this Monday! I've added my website to the list and started making a 'Coffin Hop' page, so please stop by the Website, join in on the Hop! With over 90 different authors taking part, that makes more than 90 chances to win stuff!
Let me repeat that:
...and you might just find a new author you like, someone who's writing career you can follow. Who knows, you might find the next Stephen King just waiting for you to discover him!

Scary stories, parties, trick-or-treating, candy...
Oh, sure, kids love the candy, but what really seems to get them going is the costumes. And it's not just them. Before Handsome was old enough to walk he was in the cutest little Tigger costume you ever saw! He didn't choose that, we did! I have pictures, and I don't care who you are, you can't look at those pictures without coming to the conclusion that Handsome was just exactly the cutest little sonovabitch to ever wear the black and orange!
After that there was a pumpkin costume (still adorable!) and then a spider. The spider was still cute, with his little extra arms hanging from strings... you have to get them in those costumes while they're young enough not to know what an amazing pain those extra arms are. After they figure that out they put their little feet down.
Oh, he's been the Hulk (complete with fake muscles), the Thing (from the Fantastic Four, not the John Carpenter movie. Although that would have been awesome!), and Buzz Lightyear. My favorite of that 'superhero' phase was the Buzz Lightyear, since he took to wearing it about the house and randomly striking heroic poses.  He's funny as well as cute!
Then he went on to the Horror stuff. Two years ago he went as Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movies. He'd actually seen Friday the 13th by then, or at least some of it. I can't take the blame for that one though; that little gaffe didn't happen on my watch. Not to worry, though, I've had plenty of 'whoops, shouldn't have let him see that' moments.
This year it was Freddy Krueger, from Nightmare on Elm Street. He wanted to be Freddy, he had to be Freddy, he needed to be Freddy
"Alright, for God's sake! You can be Freddy!"
We went to the Halloween store to get a costume, and I walked right over to the wall of masks and slipped one on. I turned and held my hands up toward Handsome like claws.
"Booga booga!"
He just looked at me.
"Who are you supposed to be?"
I just stared at him through the eyeholes in my new rubber face.
"I'm Freddy Krueger. Who did you think I was?"
"That's Freddy?" He looked astounded.
"Well," I said, taking off the mask, "yes."
He looked at the mask in my hand.
Apparently he'd just heard Freddy Krueger was cool.

I wonder if I can get  him in a spider costume again...

Talk to you later!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Serious Monkey Business

Sometimes this thing just about writes itself.
This has been one of those times.
I was sitting down to write you a little story about Handsome's changing taste in costumes over the years, and I think I still might. Maybe tomorrow, but not today. Today I went looking on the internet for some photos of costumes my son has worn in the past, preparing to give you all some sort of visual. I went straight to a costume store on the web, figuring they would have the best photos and a good selection. Maybe I could find all the pictures I wanted at one place - one stop shopping, as it were.
This year he is dressing as Freddy Krueger from the movie Nightmare on Elm Street. He's never seen the movie, but what the hell. So I searched the costume site for "Freddy". What came up was a picture of a young woman wearing their 'Sexy Freddy' costume, and, take it from me, Freddy Krueger did not look like that! If he had, then all those teen-aged boys he was chasing on the movie wouldn't have been running quite so hard.

If they ran at all.

Which I doubt.

Okay, fine. I'll refine the search. I backed out of 'Sexy Freddy', and entered 'Freddy kids' in the search field. What popped up was this:

I stared. I stared some more. I stared ... well, you get the point.
This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the 'Search Monkey', and he pops up whenever the website search engine can not find what you are looking for. 

I had all sorts of things I was going to say about Handsome's costumes. I had all sorts of things to say about the Search Monkey. But they say 'a picture is worth a thousand words', so I'm going to save myself a while lot of time here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Search Monkey!

'Nuff said.

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scout's Honor!

First the advertisement.
October 24th - 31st, come see the work of up-and-coming Horror Authors! Read fresh stories! Play Games! Win Prizes! Starting October 24th, just click on this big old scary button to join the Hop! So far there are more than 80 authors taking part, and the number's growing! If you like stories about werewolves, zombies, or things that go 'bump' in the night, or if you just want to get in the Halloween spirit, Hop on by! If you have any questions, please, check out the website or drop me a line. You only have to ask!

Now, on with the Blog!

This summer we discovered that Handsome wants to be a Cub Scout. I had no idea. I was never in the Scouts when I was growing up, so I had no clue about them, but some of Handsome's friends are Scouts and he's heard them talking about it. What he heard must have sounded like fun, because when I asked him about it he perked right up. I asked him about it while he was watching TV, and just the fact that he heard me talking to him without waiting for a commercial was impressive.
"Hey, Handsome, would you like to join the Scouts?"
His head came right up, and his eyes were bright, and he answered with no hesitation.
Well ... wow! Mentioning the Scouts ripped his attention right away from ICarly like the TV wasn't even on!
Well, that was in the summer, and Scouts runs during the school year (I had no idea), so it wasn't until last week that we could really do anything about it. What we did about it was that I went to a parent meeting for the local Cub Scout Pack. I went to the meeting so I could turn in Handsome's application to the Scoutmaster, but since it was a parent meeting Handsome stayed home. He made sure I had the application with me though, and he was anxious to hear what happened about it when I went to pick him up afterward.
Well, I went to the meeting, and it was the first time I heard anything about really being in the Scouts. The whole meeting was interesting as all get out! They were planning out Halloween activities and fund raisers, and after the meeting I got to talk to the Scoutmaster about Handsome joining. We got everything squared away, and he talked to me in a little more detail about the requirements for being in the Webelos Scouts. Some of what he had to say I found to be very interesting indeed.
But what I was really interested in was Handsome's reaction when I relayed what I had learned to him. I hustled on to his house, where he was waiting to hear any news.

"Well, Handsome," I said as I walked in, "you are now a Cub Scout."
"And," I went on, "it looks like your first Scout activity may be a Halloween party."
"We have to do a little shopping, though," I went on.
"Yup. We need to get you a uniform shirt, and a kerchief, and a few patches ... "
He was looking pretty pleased about it so far. So I dropped the bomb.
"... and we have to get the book."
Handsome froze.
"Yep. The Webelos Scout Handbook."
"There's a handbook?"
"Yup. And the one for Webelos is about twice as thick as the ones for other Cub Scout ranks."
"Do I have to read it?"
"Handsome," I smiled, " you get to do a lot of fun things in the Scouts. You get to go on hikes, and canoeing, some field trips, maybe even camping ... "
"But mixed in between all that fun stuff, you're gonna have Cub Scout homework."
Eyes wide, Handsome threw his hands in the air.
"I don't want to be a Scout!"

To late, Handsome. Too late.
(Cue the Evil Laughter...)

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Clean-Up On Aisle 3!

First the advertisement.
October 24th - 31st, come see the work of up-and-coming Horror Authors! Read fresh stories! Play Games! Win Prizes! Starting October 24th, just click on this big old scary button to join the Hop! So far there are more than 80 authors taking part, and the number's growing! If you like stories about werewolves, zombies, or things that go 'bump' in the night, or if you just want to get in the Halloween spirit, Hop on by! If you have any questions, please, check out the website or drop me a line. You only have to ask!

Now, on with the Blog!

You see them everywhere, comedians talk about them, it's become a household name.
I don't go there.
Oh, I've been there. I've picked up some fishing gear there, and it was a pretty good deal. But I don't go there all the time, don't go there to shop for food, clothes, or whatnots. Fishing gear is it - know what you want, get in, get out, seek and destroy. Yup, that's how I roll.

Well I went to Walmart yesterday.
If you read yesterday's blog you know I was home sick. Well, so was Handsome. In the afternoon I decided to get myself together and head on over to his house and watch a movie with him, misery loving company and all that. Well, I looked on to find a movie to bring, and I found one to bring ... and it was at the Redbox inside a nearby Walmart.
I told you they are everywhere!

Well, I knew they needed laundry detergent over at Handsome's house, so I figured I'd go over, get the movie, and pick up a little jug of laundry soap. Not a big one, I go to BJ's Food Warehouse for that. I get a bottle from BJ's that claims to wash 160 loads for just $17.99.  Terrific!

I stopped by the Redbox in the entrance and got my movie, no problem, and then I moved into the store. I started wandering the aisles, going up #1, then #2, and finally #3. There, in aisle #3 I found the detergent. I walked over and saw the smaller bottles I was looking for, but right there on the top shelf was a huge bottle, just like the ones I get at BJ's. It even said "160 Loads" on the side. I looked down at the price marked on the shelf, below the bottle.


I said "Holy @#$%!"
I said it loud. I couldn't help it. 
I quickly looked around. Not in any guilty reflex, oh no, I was looking to see if anyone was coming to correct this misprint! This couldn't be right! Before anyone could react, before any Walmart employees could jump out like dummies in a fun house and try to take me down, I grabbed the bottle and sprinted for the register. I dodged around some clothing racks, zipped around a family of five who was busy trying to keep the youngest of their number (one fat little booger if ever I saw one) from eating things right from the cart as they shopped, and made a break for the "12 Items or Less" register. 
I was in line, trying to look normal and blend in with the crowd as my heart raced and I panted like an emphysemic septuagenarian half-way up a steep staircase. It didn't work.
A finger, or more accurately the long and well manicured nail at the end of the finger, was tapping my shoulder. I briefly considered making a break for the door, but I was already so out of breath I could barely stand up. I lowered my head in resignation and turned to face the music.
A tall, long-necked, beautifully made-up black woman stood before me, face set in a wide smile. The perfect fingernail left my shoulder and swung out, her long, slender arm fully extended, to indicate the next register over.
"I can take you over here, sir. You look like you're in a hurry!"  
Moving like I was in a dream, I followed her to the register where she pleasantly conducted my transaction, prompting me to "Swipe your card now, please", and "Just press the green button now, sir." I took my detergent and wandered toward the exit in a daze, still half expecting a Walmart SWAT team to jump out at any second. 
The next thing I knew I was out on the sidewalk with an $8.00 bottle of detergent that weighed half as much as my 9-year old son dragging down my right arm.  I walked out into the parking lot and made it half-way to my Jeep before I slowly turned to face the building. One whispered word escaped my lips, in a tone full of wonder.
"Walmart ... "

I'm going back tonight!

Talk to you later!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Check, Please!

Yesterday Handsome had a soccer game, and he did great! He was a force to be reckoned with on Defense, and while he was on Offense he scored his first goal ever. And he almost scored his second while he was at it! It was a great game, and afterward he didn't want to leave the field. The rest of his team all went home (or wherever, I really couldn't swear they went home, but they all left) and he and I stayed and kicked his ball around for a while. I played goalie and he shot on me, then we switched and I was shooting on him. I was kicking the ball at the goal from mid-field, sprinting after it, just playing like I was 20 years old again.
Until, of course, I started overheating from my anhidrosis. That slowed me down pretty quick. But for a while there Handsome and I were having a lot of fun.

Cut to this morning.

I awoke not feeling very well. I didn't wake up on my own, actually. My bladder was doing the biological equivalent of smacking me with a rubber truncheon and screaming Get up! Get up! Get up! in my ear. I sat up fast and swung my legs over the side of the bed.
At least, that is what I attempted to do. As soon as I tried to swing my legs like that, my left hip put a figurative hand on my chest; a large, muscular, very capable looking hand, the kind of hand that you find attached to the large, muscular, very capable men that loan sharks send out to express their displeasure over non-payment. My hip held me down with that hand. "Where the hell do you think you're going?" it asked, glaring at me from under a thick, lowered brow. 
"To the bathroom!" screamed my bladder, before I could say a word. "He's going to the bathroom! Now get out of the way, this is an emergency!"
My hip shook its proverbial head.
"He ain't going nowhere 'til he takes care of this!"
My hip was handing me a check, and it was one of those giant, oversize checks like the ones you see people getting when they win the Publisher's Clearinghouse, smiling and crying and holding the check as they shake Ed McMahon's hand. And I was crying, but not in a good way. This wasn't a check that was made out to me,  this was the kind that comes to the table after a big, expensive dinner, and I was the dufus reaching for his credit card.
"You remember yesterday, when he was all running around like an idiot?"
"Of course I remember," shouted my bladder. "But this is an-"
"Well all that acting like a kid again costs," went on my hip, as if my bladder wasn't shouting in its face. "It all costs big. And it's time the bill was paid!"
My bladder was screaming something back, but I wasn't listening. Pretty much forgotten by the two of them as they argued, I was quietly staggering toward the bathroom, dragging my left leg behind me since moving my hip cost me tremendous pain. I staggered as fast as I could, since as soon as I moved I realized that my bladder wasn't the only thing feeling tremendous pressure, and the only reason I hadn't heard from my bladder's neighbor was that it was concentrating all its energies on keeping it together. Figuratively and literally. I was just trying to get to the john before I wound up having to clean my room. With a hose.

I made it.
15 minutes later I made it again.
15 minutes after that I made it again. 
Every time, dragging that leg.

I didn't make it in to work today.

Reminder: Please check out the Coffin Hop, the button for which is in the upper right of the blog page. October 24th - 31st, it should be a lot of fun.
AND check out my website, the button for which is right below the one for the Coffin Hop. 
For more detailed information on either reminder, please see yesterday's blog entry.

Talk to you later!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

To Whom it May Concern...

If you are reading this, then it must be too late, and I am dead.

I'm just kidding! But it is October, and Halloween is coming. Check out the new big scary button to right over there. That will, once October 24th arrives, take you to join the Coffin Hop - a temporary network of up-and-coming writers in the Horror Genre. For the week of October 24th to the 31st you will be able to see new, fresh stories, see author bios, play games and maybe win some prizes!
What prizes, you ask?
 I have no idea.
Well, that's not entirely true. You may win e-books, print books, or maybe even have yourself written into someone's next project! You have to shop the Hop to find out, and the more you hop the better your chances are; your chances both to win some Halloween swag and find a new author you like to read!

I'm sorry, was there a downside there? Maybe I missed it.
There is no downside, only Halloween fun!

Now, on to the serious part.
For those of you who have not been paying attention, I'm a writer, and a pretty good one. I've had one story published so far, but there is another one coming out next month and two in December. And I have a little thing going on with a Christmas anthology that's coming out next year... there's a lot happening! That's why I started a website for my fiction.
The website, called The Storyteller, is a place for people to find some of my stories as well as information about when and where I'm being published. WYMOP (this blog) is a fun thing for me, and a place for people to keep track of me from day-to-day, but it's not all about my fiction. So, from now on, if you're interested in my short stories (and longer stories) and publishable work, you can find it on The Storyteller.
Now, will there be something new there every day? No. Every week? Probably not. But maybe.
So, what I'd like people to do, anyone who is interested in good stories (and eventually I'll be showcasing other writer's work as well) to go to my website and become a Member.
It's painless, I promise.
Now, every Member of my website will get an email notice whenever I have anything there to report. You don't have to check it every day, you don't even have to remember that it's there! It's like Ron Popeil used to say about his rotisserie: Set it and forget it! You'll just get a little news email every once in a while, say at least once a month. How easy is that? Oh, and it's as secure as you want it - your email address does not, repeat not go out with the group email for all to see. No worries.

Now, I have to be honest: I'm hoping for a whole bunch of Members. Nothing would give me the warm fuzzies more than seeing 25-30 Members by next week! To this end, you can invite other people you know who like good stories. So you tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on ... wow, my old commercials are really showing, aren't they? But seriously, if you like good stories, or want to keep track of my ever-growing writing career, or even both, then please go join my site.

I'd love to have you! :-)

Talk to you later!

P.S. - Tomorrow, the return of the Funny. I promise. Well... I promise to try, okay?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Living in a Materials World

Handsome is a businessman. I believe I have mentioned his drinks stand, and how well that went. Now he has another little setup running.

Clay Art for Sale.

He has some pieces all made already, and I helped him make a tray to hawk them from, the kind you carry around with a neck-strap. He made up a price list: $2 for a small, $3 for a medium and $4 for a large. He also had the sense to post an additional charge: +$1 for 'requests'.

And yes, he spelled 'request' correctly.

I was more impressed with that than I was at the little business. He's also pretty smart about his 'target market'. He printed out one price sheet, and left it out for my mother. She might go broke, but he's going to make a fortune!
She's ordered 2 or 3 pieces from him already, all subject to the 'requests' charge, of course. I had to take him to the local art supply store on a materials run. He's using Model Magic, from Crayola, so we went and got two large tubs of the stuff, each tub with containers of various colors. Plus another small container of Green (for some reason not one of the color collections available included any shade of green. Except of course for the shade called "Money Green", although you lose that at the register rather than finding it in any of the tubs).

We had a $20 gift card from his Aunt, and I just figured I'd pick up the difference. We brought everything up to the register and I handed over all the materials and the gift card. She rang and swiped and scanned for  a while, then told me my total was just over $30.
"There's a $20 gift card there," I reminded her.
"Yes, sir. I already scanned that through, and what is left is $30."
She was smiling thinly.
I made a clicking sound in my throat. Twice. Then I managed to say "oh", in a very small voice I barely recognized as my own. I pulled out my debit card in  less-than-authoritative manner and paid the lady.

I took Handsome home and he started working on an order for Grandmama. A Totem Pole which incorporated four different pieces. He worked pretty hard on it, and though it was pretty big it did not use up all that much of his new pile of materials. He crafted it, then let it dry, and last night he brought it over here to give to her. This morning as I was making breakfast they were figuring out how much she owed him. She ran through the numbers with him and they each came up with the same total:


I made the clicking sound in my throat again.

You think Handsome would hire me on as an assistant? I could use the cash!

Talk to you later!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Booo! ...Huzzah?

This afternoon I was on my way to pick up Handsome at school, as I do every school-day I have off.
I was also running late. As I do every school-day I have off.

I'm fairly certain I won't even die on time.

So there I was, tearing through town, driving, as I like to call it, 'like I was born in Massachusetts'. In other words, as if driving like a complete and total %^$#@ is in my blood.

Which it is.

I came out of my neighborhood and saw a traffic jam right there at the lights.

I zipped across three lanes of traffic and took a left. I suspect my left-hand wheels were touching the ground the whole time, but I can't be sure.

I whipped down that street and came out to a T-junction. I needed to go left, but the traffic building up in that lane was already blocking me in.

Someone stopped a little early, giving me the opportunity to turn right, then left, cutting behind the last guy in the traffic line and take up the lane next to him. That worked out because I wanted to take a right.

As I barreled along, using side streets to get around back-ups and blockages, aware that I might be a minute late, it started raining. Hard enough that I didn't want Handsome to have to be standing around in it while he waited for stupid old me!

I slowed down as I entered the school zone, turned the corner to the parking lot behind Handsome's school just as the clock hit 2:30. The kids were exiting the building and I was right there to keep Handsome from getting too wet from the driving rain.
Huzzah! Hip-hip-huzzah!

As I pulled up, Handsome came scuffing across the grass. He was kicking the wet grass with his soaked sneakers, and his jacket, rather than being on, was tied to his backpack by one sleeve and dragging on the ground behind him as he seemed to do everything in his power to get as wet as possible.

Son of a %$#@! Why do I bother!?

Talk to you later!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Technology - Making It Easy?

I picked up a trial version of a program called "Scrivener" the other day. It's a writer's tool that was designed for the Mac, and I've heard terrific things about it; the ease it brings to writing and organizing writing projects. Mac users have had access to it for about 5 years now, but this is the first time it's been available for Windows. I snagged a beta version of it and I've been playing with it a little bit to see what it can do. It was designed for working on long pieces, novels and the like, and I usually work in shorter stories, but with NaNoWriMo coming up I decided to check it out.
I usually write in the morning before I go to work, so this morning I threw the current story I'm working on in there to see what I could do with it. The story is short, only about 3,600 words, or 12 pages. Still, I could do a few things with Scrivener. I broke it into three distinct scenes, could use their "Find" tool to help me keep things consistent when I made changes, and I basically played around with it this morning. I used Scrivener to make a few alterations and additions I had planned for the story, and then I was just going to print it out.
When I revise and edit I like to have a hard copy and a couple of highlighters. I planned to give it another read through, highlighters in hand, today at lunch. Right now in fact.
I went through the print set up for Scrivener and let the printer have it. The little 'thinking' swirly went round and round, and then the printer burped to life. On one side it sucked up clean white paper, and on the other it spit out paper covered with words. Small words. I squinted at the sheet as it dropped from the printer to the catch-tray.
Tiny printing.
Look, I know I'm getting older, and I do need glasses for driving. And watching movies. And reading anything too far away, like a schoolroom chalkboard. And keeping an eye on Handsome as he plays at the park. And - wait, that's not the point! I was right up close to the paper and the words were still tiny! And according to the printer the page count was 9, not 12! The print was so small and close together I could never make notes between the lines of text the way I always do when I edit! What the @&*#??
I checked the clock. I had a half an hour before I even had to start getting ready for work. I had time to figure this out. No worries, right? I mean, it's writer's software, and user-friendly software at that! I sat back down and tried to re-format it to print the way I wanted it and tried again.
And again.
...and again.
...and, you guessed it, again.
...stop me if you've heard this one.

Eventually I bailed on trying to have Scrivener print it the way I like it, and pulled the work out of the program. I pasted the new version of the story into my word processor and did it the old-fashioned way. I looked at the clock again. Once again, it was not time to get ready for work; it was a half hour past that and time for me to be walking out the door!
I held the printed manuscript in my hand and looked down at myself. Shirtless and still wearing the sweatpants I'd slept in. I looked back at the clock.

"Thank you, Scrivener! Thank you very much!"

 Talk to you later!