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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hey Fat Woman Fans! OR Taking a Blogging Break Until January 15th OR Didn't Want You to Go Away Unhappy!

Okay, it's the shortest blog ever.  I'll tell a dirty joke.  You ready?  It's very dirty.

Two white horses fell in the mud.

See you in 2012 and (blow your noise makers here and also drink some cold duck) Happy New Year!

Okay, I couldn't find TWO white horses rolling in the mud, but
I think this illustrates my point.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Randomness OR I'm Going to Blather-I'm Just Warning You in Advance OR Happy Holidays, Ya'll! Don't Drink Too Much of the Spiked Eggnog and Then Talk to Weird Uncle Chainsmoke

That's a Xmas tree.  I would have done beer cans myself, but
Spam cans are a definite contender for uniqueness, redneckedityness,
and flair.

First off, happy holidays to everyone who's blessed enough to read my blog.  (All wonderfully clever people with a superb sense of humor.)  Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, happy Christmas to my UK cohorts, happy Kwanzaa, happy any other holidays I missed in my blatant attempt to cover everyone.  (It's actually a blatant attempt to CMA.  Psst.  That stands for cover my ass, an ability I've developed over many years of constant practice and am lately woefully stretching the boundaries of the CMA.)

Second, bad news for all you Fat Woman addicts.  (Horrid, wretched news.  Lock your alcohol away now and keep your knives in a drawer where you can't see them.)  I'm taking a blog break for two weeks.  That's right.  No new blogs until January 15, 2012.  (Oh, stop shrieking in agony.  It's only two weeks.  Two and a half technically.  If you really wanna get technical.  Well, do ya, punk?)

I just saw a collection of Dirty Harry movies at Target and
I wanted to use the line.  Well, do you, punk?

Now for more amused anecdotes that will probably cause peas (or other mysteriously lodged food) to shoot out of your nostrils.  (Or whatever else you put in there when you were six years old.  You know who you are and your mama remembers that, too.  She probably kept the emergency room X-ray just in case you get uppity when you're older.)  Of course that makes me think of a story I heard this week.

25 years ago a woman was standing on a set of stairs using a felt tipped pen to poke at something in her throat.  Something else happened and she swallowed the pen.  (She said she was standing on a set of stairs using a felt tip pen and a mirror to poke at a lump in her throat, I do not know.  I suspect she does not know.  In fact, I suspect if the pen hadn't caused her problems in the future it would have been an insignificant side note in the family history.)  She told the doctor and her husband but they didn't believe her.  (This story sounds taller and taller to me.  I wouldn't have believed it.  "Excuse me, Irene, you were doing what with what while on the what?  Oh, please.")  Fast forward to today when she had the pen removed and the pen was still capable of writing.  (Note to manufacturer: Your pen obviously has staying power.  You might want to buy it and put it in your museum of weirdness.  Or maybe make a commercial with Charley Sheen.  Either would work well.)

I see the pen.  Also I see massive depression and two dogs playing ping pong
while playing pinochle.  (I was just playing with some Rorschachs's cards.  If
you don't get this reference, it's because you didn't take Psych 101 in college
or you didn't watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.)
Oh, wait.  I forgot this is a Christmas themed blog.  I must go back and illustrate in my twisted manner.
Do you think the woman gave her permission for her
x-rays to be posted ALL over the Internet?  Because
if it was me who had a 25 year old pen lodged
inside me because I was obviously completely
effed up, standing on some stairs poking a pen
down my throat to see something about
my tonsils, I WOULD NOT give permission
to share with the entire freakin' world.
What does this have to do with Christmas?  Not a lot, but the story amused me and I did initially bring up the possibility of things shooting out of people's noses.  (Wouldn't it have been funny if this woman had sneezed at the holiday dinner table and a 25 year old felt tip pen came shooting out of her nose?  Well, probably not.)
I'm certain there would be a rational, intelligent conversation about
it, at the dinner table. You think she upped her fiber after the alleged
incident? I would have. I would have just gone ahead and
invested in the BIG package of laxative.


Warning: change of subject about to happen!  Whoops.  There it went.

HIM, the man to whom I'm married, went to find a kitten for our daughter.  Our daughter, Cressy, will apparently die without a cat this Christmas.  She's even got a name picked out for him.  A weird name, which is pretty much par for our house's course.  It's Megaroy.  I asked her to repeat this several times while she got increasingly irritated with me.  "MEGAROY, MOTHER, jeez, are you deaf?"  "Yes, but what does it mean?"  "It means kitty," she said condescendingly.  Then I gave up because it was better than what she named the dwarf bonzai.  (Bathtub.  I do not understand.)

This is a face I've had to look at consistently for the last month.
Perhaps we parental units got a little wrapped up in other things and put off the cat search for a little too long.  So HIM went out and shopped shelters.  Consequently we came to the conclusion that we'll have to write a letter to Cressy from Santa.  It goes something like this:

Dear Cressy, 
I know you asked for a cat and Santa wanted to bring you one.  But Santa's sleigh is too cold for kitties and I worry about kitties falling off the sleigh while I'm flying all around the world.  So your parents are going to take you to a special place where there are lots of kitties who need your loving care.
Sincerely,
Santa Claus.

P.S. Go easy on your mother when you're thirteen and madly in love with the fourteen year old in your algebra class and you don't want braces on and you think you should have your own Porsche when you get your learner's permit.  She likes her teeth in one piece and not ground down into little white crumbles of dentin.

Oh, we're going on the naughty list.  It's a conundrum.  We're 'supposed' to lie about Santa Claus, but if we lie then we should get coal in our stockings.  Right?  You think Santa sits at the North Pole trying to figure out who was telling the 'good' lies and who was telling the 'bad' lies?



Basically, Santa's got a messed up job.  Is there any kid on earth who isn't on the naughty list?

Well, happy holidays to one and all.  Be back to blog about my experiences with the hitherto unknown cat, Megaroy and who is really going to clean the litter box.  (I have the nasty suspicion it's going to be me and I'm not happy about it.)  But hey, think of all the fresh blog material.

See ya next year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Part II - The Camping Trip from Heck OR Where is the Nearest Starbucks? OR Where is the Nearest Bathroom with a Locking Door in it? OR Can I Make This Title Longer Than the Actual Blog?

Part II.

4 pm.

Where was I?  Ah yes.  Deep dark woods.  Brownies.  Camping trip with six 7-8 year olds and 4 teens.  Otherwise known as the seventh level of heck.

You wouldn't believe how worn out everyone was at about 4 pm.  We were all whipped.  Little girls wanted to put pjs on and climb into sleeping bags because they were pooped.  They draped themselves on their little sleeping bags and moaned their discontent, until the troop leader popped out another craft project, whereupon they jumped it upon as if they were lions and the craft project was a hapless antelope.  (Really.  It happened.)  Then, they returned to being tired.

Alas, they found their second wind.

These are fine examples of girlscout diggitous.
This not-so-elusive creature enjoys digging
in the ground for rocks, sticks, and possible
fossils.  (I erred in mentioning
there might be fossils about and the brownies
decided that meant there WAS definitely
fossils about and they all became
budding archaeologists, paleontologists, somethingologists.)
Meanwhile, back inside, Super Moms were cooking of the dinner.  There were noodles, spaghetti sauce, carrots, and other stuff.  I'm not sure how the older scouts got a different menu but it turned out they had hot dogs and quesadillas roasted on the fire.  (Cheese quesadillas on the fire in aluminum foil for all you naysayers.)  Well, the sight of hot dogs pretty much melted all the younger girl's brains (kind of like the cheese in the quesadillas) and they all wanted them, so we had a lot of noodles and sauce left over.  (Which was a shame because it was tasty, although I had to cook one batch twice because I made the mistake of not checking the al dente-ness of it before draining the entire batch.  Hey, al dente-ness could be a word.  Anyway, don't pour the boiling water out until you're sure the noodles are done.  Just sayin'.)

We didn't have chairs but one of the moms had brought camp chairs.  (Somehow she knew.  I bow to her superior knowledge.)  Moms collapsed into a boneless mass after dinner while brownies flocked to the campfire to be with Super Fire Lord Dads.  (Their capacity for sitting by the fire and keeping it going certainly impressed the brownies.  Also they kept the brownies, some of whom were inordinately interested in how fire works and waving the fire around, from burning down the campground.)  (Kudos to the dads for their Smoky the Bear-ism.)  (Apparently, I can't keep myself from making up words today.  Just go with it.)

The older scouts were forced to perform minor
surgery on one junior due to the senseless attack
of a maddened splinter.  The splinter was eventually
located and disposed of in a humane manner.  But
it took three girls to perform the surgery.  Faces
have been concealed to protect the innocent.  Also
they moved because they didn't want a picture taken.
S'mores followed while moms cleaned up.  Eventually the moms were allowed to sit by the fire and partake of the chocolatey-marshmallowy-graham-crackerity goodness.  Sticky fingers were had by all.  More rocks were dug up.  There were also several attempts to see just how much wood could be burned in one sitting.  (Turns out it's quite a bit.)

Then it began to SNOW!  I checked my droid for the weather map.  And lo and behold, there was a tiny patch of pinky-purpleness ONLY over us, like we had been cursed.  There was a hundred square miles showing on the little map and it was only snowing on us.

Well, it wasn't this bad.  But it was snow!  No, it was SNOW!
No, it was ***SNOW***!!!
I called HIM, the man to whom I'm married, and said, "It's snowing here, bud."  HIM said, "Not here."  I said, "You'll come dig me out tomorrow, right?"  "No," HIM said.  "Watching the Military History Channel with a Foster's Lager.  Use the four wheel drive on the Explorer.  Buh-bye."  (No, HIM didn't really say that, but I'm pretty sure that's what he was thinking.)

7 pm.  The girls decided to watch a pukey Barbie movie.  (Pukey may be another made up word but I stand by my made up words.)  I'm pretty sure I turned green with vomitious implications.  (Barbie sucks, i.e., Barbie movies REALLY, REALLY, REALLY suck.  Here's an example of Barbie dialogue: "Look, there's an evil, fairy wizardess who's going to do bad things unless we save the fairy world.  We must use rainbows, light, and wishful thinking as our weapons."  "First, we must rescue a mermaid prince and have lots of adventures with strange creatures we wouldn't normally associate with and who are here for comic relief."  Okay, I'm not really using true Barbie dialogue, but I'm not exaggerating that much.)  Moms escaped into the kitchen to avoid the inevitable brain damage and for coffee, tea, and adult conversation.  (Example of adult conversation: "You tired?"  "Yes, dead beat."  "More tea.")

In the interim I was called on to kill four, flying beetle-like bugs who were threatening to dismember the children.  Also a poor spider was forced down although I told the girls the thing wasn't bothering anyone.

There was the splinter incident, a bloody nose (caused by dry air not a fist), two girls who wanted their absent mommies, two more who were scared of the dark (one of those was Cressy), a bathroom with one door that didn't lock, and a partridge in a pear tree who was screaming, "Christmas is over commercialized!"  One poor upset girl thought she'd popped the scout leader's air mattress (the kids were playing on them while the adults weren't looking and she didn't really pop it.)

Lessons learned:

For future reference, my air pump has a reversible flow.  One way blows and the other way sucks.  (Guess which way I had it set on when I tried to blow up my air mattress?  Guess how long it took me to figure that out?)  Furthermore, air mattresses are cold.  Additionally, kids do not want to go to sleep when they are congregated together in a large room.  Also, Barbie movies have not magically improved since the last time I saw one.  Lastly, kids are still finicky eaters and anything they don't like is, "Stuff that makes my stomach hurt."  (Direct quote.)

Day 2:

Moms packed and stuffed and cleaned.  The older scouts took the younger ones to the Pooh Tree.  I was dragged along because the scout leader knew there were hills involved and wisely abdicated.  Why is it called the Pooh Tree?  I will show you.

One little girl was smart enough not to want to go
into the big bleeping hole in the tree.
The older scouts then fell into the hole.  I had a strong urge to run and leave the kids in the hole in the tree but my conscience kicked in.

I told them not to close their eyes.
So off we went back to camp, up hill, and eventually I dragged myself back.  Some of the brownies got some of the seniors to CARRY them up a very large hill.  (Can someone say, "Suckers!"?)  My daughter eyed me speculatively but realized mommy wasn't going to play ball, so she quickly got to one of the seniors before the other girls.

Once back in camp, we all threw our stuff in the back of our cars and drove back to the real world.

I was so tired I fell into bed without taking a shower and had to later change the sheets because of it.

But hey, Cressy had a blast and they're already planning their next camping trip.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Confessions of an Assistant Girl Scout Leader OR My Big, Fat Trip into the Potomac Woods OR Are There Bears Out There? Part I

Yes, I know.  Part I.  I have a lot of information to impart to the humor-deficit masses and only so much blog, so I'm breaking this bad boy down.  Of course, it's dependent on how sarcastic and ranty I can get, which make for a longer blog.  (Yes, ranty is probably a made up word but I don't care to look it up in my dictionary to find out.)

Okay, here goes.  There was...a camping trip.  With Girl Scouts.  In December.  In the wilds of Virginia.  (Would you believe the wilds of the nearest Girl Scout camp ground?  The wilds of the suburb?  About thirty miles away?)  We weren't really camping.  We had a building with electricity, heat, and water.  We had a grocery list.  We had a winery right down the road for the adults.  (Seriously, a half mile away.  Way to hook us up, Girl Scouts.)

Day One:

8:30 am.  We meet at Harris Teeter.  (Just an interjection but Harris Teeter sounds likes too much like Harris Tweeter and that sounds like someone who just tooted and I don't mean on a horn.  It does not sound like a grocery store and btw their prices are a little steep.  Recession, much?  Get a clue.  Change your name.  Or sue Twitter.  Something.  Add totter.  Yeah, that's it.)

Immediately all the grown-ups rushed in to get coffee.  The children screamed and shrieked in joy and tried to play chicken with cars in the parking lot.  (Hey, we had a first aid guy.)  The teens just kind of looked at us and said, "Whatever."

Eventually we got on the road.  I had a tall cup of french vanilla latte, a big ass load of firewood, a cooler with baloney and cheese sandwiches and a really effed up map.  I knew I was in trouble.  Plus Cressy, our only child, was in the back talking about how fun things were going to be.  Life was going to be way cool for this child.  She had a horror story picked out to tell.  (See Disembodied Hand for more information on that winner.)  She had her sleeping bag.  She had her stuffed penguin for protection.  Mommy was just a side note.  ("Convenient and nice to have in a clench but if we lose her, what the heck because I've got other GIRL SCOUTS!")

Off we went, braving Saturday morning traffic.  And everyone was out going someplace.  Eventually we turned off main roads and after a few miles I was on a single lane road, wondering if I had seriously effed up.  There was the sound of banjos and guitars in the air.  (My radio plays weird stations.  Honest.)

I stopped to look at my maps on my droid and see
if I could get a signal.  So I took a picture of the road
just to show people what I was talking about.  Do
you see anything?  Cause I didn't.  I was seriously
pondering stopping at someone's house but I was kind
of afraid to see who answered.
10 am.  And voila, around the corner was the camp.  Someone had mysteriously beaten me there and got the gates open.  Cressy was atwitter in the back.  (I must have a tweeting-teeter-twitting thing going on in my mind.  I'm broken.)

This was our designated shelter.  I think they stuck us in here because
they were afraid of what we might do.  But hey, it had heat and electricity and a
refrigerator.  Refrigerator good.
But I'm missing an opportunity.  Let me illustrate.

This is what I actually 'saw.'
I'm getting in a lot of trouble for this.
Then brownies descended in a drove.  (A drove is any number guaranteed to be annoying to me.)

See.  This is definitely a drove.  Plus two other parent escorts looking
grim in the background.
11 am.  We unloaded stuff.  I unloaded all of the wood while everyone was playing around.  (It's okay, I kind of threw it on the ground because I wasn't inclined to stack it neatly.)  I instructed our fire coaches (Not an official title but as men, they were the only ones qualified to build of the manly fire.  They were there to help out and teach us puny she-women...I have to stop ranting now.)  Let's just say these guys were in charge of teaching the senior scouts (4 teens) how to make a fire with flint.  (Later, I heard that fire starter and a lighter were actually required to accomplish the deed.  Nanner, nanner doo doo.)

My daughter admiring the manly he-fire.  (I brought
the fire starter and lighter and I don't get any credit.)
12 pm.  The demands began.  "We're hungry."  "We're starving to death."  "Feed us or anarchy now!"  (Well, the brownies didn't actually say the last part, but it was very close.)  We broke out the brown bag lunches and took the brownies on a nature hike.  We saw birds, rocks, trees, and possibly coyote tracks.  (Could have been an acorn rolling around in the mud, too.)  After the consuming of the food, which all the girls said was, "Good.  Grunt.  Need more baloney," and "No talking.  More eating," our erstwhile scout leader and volunteer mom (not me) taught the girls how to make a shelter.  A poncho, cord, and leaves were involved.  Much fun was had by all.

I said to smile and they grunted at me.  Baloney lunch residual aftereffect.
Also they were gathering leaves to shelter the poncho from the windy
side.
1 pm.  We tromped back to the cabin and all collapsed.  Upon looking at my watch I couldn't believe that it was only 1 pm.  I thought my droid was broken.  Alas it was not.

2 pm.  Other try-it badges were worked upon.  The girls had to seek out nature stuff and check it off, working in teams.  They found spider webs, tree leaves, bark, animal tracks, and other stuff.  Then they all snuck off to play with the seniors.  (The seniors were much cooler than the moms.  Plus they played soccer with them while I just let them throw rocks at trees.)

You can totally see the coolness emanating from the senior girls in this
picture.
But I did show them fungus on a nearby tree.  Also we took a picture for a flat Stanley request.

The Flat Stanley is the one on the right of the tree.
3 pm.  The moms hid inside while the fire-making dad lords kept girls occupied around the fire.  (Totally needed the break.  Plus apparently watching the fire was as fun as other stuff, too.)

For more titillating details on the camping trip of doom, check back.
Will the fire go out?
Will we make s'mores?
Will any one get a booboo?
Will a random bear come in and chow down on an unsuspecting camper?
Will I say the words, twitter, tweeter, or teeter again for continuity?
Will any of the adults make a run for the winery?

Part II to come soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Stupefying, Bloodcurdling Tale of the Disembodied Hand OR Cressy Tells Another Story

The other night I put my child, Cressy, to bed and she said, "Do you want to hear a scary story?"  (I know.  I know.  She really hasn't seen that movie.  I swear.  I let her watch Raiders of the Lost Ark a while back and she absolutely balked at the snake scene, so I figure really scary movies with all the blood and gore are off limits until, I'm not sure until when.  Maybe when she's thirty-five.  I guess I should be glad she's not going to mess with snakes or spooky archaeological digs in Egypt.)

Of course, when my only child says, "Do you want to hear a scary story?" I have to say, "Sure," because I never know when they're going to be truly blog worthy.  (Far be it for me not to steal material from my onliest offspring.)  And what do you know, this one was.

So here goes:

Once, there was a dark, dark night.

See.  She was talking really pitch black.  I mean, there could be
lions, tigers, and bears about to eat your ass right there and
YOU WOULD NOT KNOW.  Just sayin'.
Okay, it was a really, really dark night, but not that dark.

"And there weren't any red eyes, Mommy," the peanut gallery
just announced.  So much for artistic inventiveness.
So you're asleep, Mommy.  (Apparently, the story got personalized after I stuck my nose into it.  Woe be unto the mommy who interferes with a good plot line.)  And there's something near by.  It's creepy and crawling and inching its way up the bed covers.  (Hopefully it's HIM, but it could also be those stinking meal moths looking for some human tartare.)

There, the creeping, crawling thing from some one's hand.  Somewhere,
someone is going, "Now, where did my hand go?  I mean, I just had it."
So the hand goes up your...arm!

I suspect I have gone away from the original intent of this story, but
I don't care.  Shouldn't this be like some kind of funky
Christmas Story?  I mean, the hand could lick a metal pole or
something?  (Only for Christmas Story fans.)
And the disembodied hand eats your hand, Mommy!  (Why my hand?  Why not HIM's hand?  Why not some random stranger's hand?  I mean, I use my hands to type and write blogs and stuff.  Let it take a foot and be disembodied feet.  That sounds way better.  The Putrefying Attack of the Disembodied Feet - they will give you athlete's foot and dirty up your socks.  Plus, OMG, TOE JAM!  Way scarier than a mobile hand with nibbling habits.)

Cressy actually demonstrated on ME.  Her hand was the disembodied
hand while my hand was the innocent victim.  And I couldn't get away
because I was the designated character to be savagely mauled
by the creepy hand.
Consequently, the disembodied hand bit off your hand, Mommy!  Then your hand became...like the other disembodied hand!

I couldn't put a goatee on one to be the 'evil' one a la Star Trek, so
I settled with blue fingernail polish.  It's the 'new' goatee.
Then they go to other hands in other houses, Mommy.  They bite them off, too!  They become an Army of Disembodied Hands, MOMMY!  (I think the loudness was an indication of how dramatic the story was and also how scared I should be of the creepy, crawly hands.  Wasn't there a movie about disembodied hands with Michael Caine?  Uh-oh, I'm going to have to Google it.  I can't NOT Google it.  I'm compelled.)

I love the evil scientist laugh.
Then, Mommy, Cressy said near the exciting end.  The sun came up and all the hands withered away, because they don't like the sun.  Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha.  (I could make a fortune selling the extra duty, heavy SPF sunblock to all the hands in the Army of Disembodied Hands.)

Blogging is so much fun.

Incidentally, The Hand (1981) does star Michael Caine.  And is directed by...OLIVER FREAKIN' STONE.  Obviously before Platoon.  I swear Cressy has never seen this movie.

And in conclusion, it dawns on me, as often things do, that I've neglected the possible Christmas connotations therein.  (What Christmas connotations you say?)  Here ya go.  (I'm so twisted.)

Happy holidays!

Monday, December 12, 2011

How I Have Been Remiss in Taunting My Sister's Cat OR More Illustrations to Amuse the Masses

Recently it dawned on me that I have neglected my humorous blogs because I have been busy whining about finishing a novel.  (Psst.  You.  Bubba and the Missing Woman is done.  Go buy it on Amazon, B&N, or Smashwords.  I'll wait.  Really, go and buy it now.  You're missing out.  You *NEED* to find out what happens to Willodean.)  (Has any reader yet figured out that I use my blog to shamelessly plug my work?  Yes.  I really do.)

So since funny things continue to happen to me and I'm obliged to offer running commentary, I will return to the ritualized taunting of my sister's cat.  A brief round-up for those of you not familiar with the taunting of my sister's cat.  It started with Things I Cannot Blog About...  I introduced my sister's cat, Mellow.  Mellow is the cat whom I pissed off in a poorly executed scaring attempt.  (Hey, it always worked on my cats.)  Then my sister said the cat was insulted, which I took as a challenge.  (It sounded like a challenge, therefore I was obligated to answer.)  The following blog ensued The Dissing of My Sister's Cat...  It was followed by I Have Not Yet Finished With My Sister's Cat...  And Mellow appeared in multiple illustrations in various blogs to follow, all of which usually had nothing to do with the blog but amused the hell out of me.

Mellow, my sister's cat.  She appears pretty innocuous until you're sleeping.
So glad she lives on the opposite of the country.  Or else I would
be totally hosed.

Anyhoo, I was thinking about cats today because my daughter, Cressy, would die to have a cat for Christmas.  Literally, she's thinking she will die if a cat doesn't appear in her Christmas sockie.  I don't want another pet right now but she's seven and I'm a wuss, so guess what's happening for Christmas.



Voila, we could get a cat like Mellow.  My sister thinks she owns the cat.  Hahaha.  The cat owns her.  I only jumped out at the cat and went, "Boo!" or something like that.  The cat leaped into the air, performed an Olympic quality back spring, and hissed at me for a substantial amount of time later.  Seriously, the cat hissed at me for like 30 minutes and avoided me religiously for the remainder of the visit.  And I didn't even touch her.



So I thought about how I have defamed my sister's cat, Mellow.  It occurs to me that I may not be done.  And since there was a very interesting debate on television last night, I was inspired.  ('m speaking of the dreaded 'P' word, you know.  I'll whisper it.  Politics.  Shh.)



Now I'm in trouble.  I may never get to go to Arkansas again.  (Too bad, I like that state.)  And, of course, I'm far from finished.  I might as well throw Al Gore under the illustrative bus, too.


Now Tennessee is going to ban me, too.  That's really a shame because I haven't been there yet.

However, I'm an equal opportunity taunter and I'm going for republicans, too.  If you don't get this reference, you're obviously born after 1988, which means you're too young to read my blog.



I hope Texans (wonderful, beautiful, terrific Texas and its open-minded, humor filled occupants) will take it in the same light as Alabamians and Tennesseans.  (Those don't look right.  I can't believe the spell check didn't flag either one of those.  I probably confused the program.)

And I saved the best for last.


And now California is probably going to shake its finger at me. See, I slammed my sister's cats and Republicans, too.

In conclusion, I think I shouldn't watch Presidential debates or mess with my sister's cat, anymore.  I'm starting to feel icky.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Foibles of Indie Pubbing OR UH-OH, She's Going to Rant AGAIN! OR Wait For the Punchline!



Upon finishing my last manuscript, Bubba and the Missing Woman, I made a list.  I followed the list.  I reread it.  HIM reread it.  My lovely and wonderful proofreader read it.  My writing buds read it.  I made corrections.  I read it again.  HIM read it again.  I then checked the formatting.  I uploaded it to both B&N and Amazon and looked at the pre-reader's look of it.  I reloaded to Amazon three times because the kindle platform didn't want to recognize that my manuscript had paragraph indents.  I ascertained all was well.  I uploaded to B&N, Smashwords, and Amazon.  I prepared my blog for the announcement.  I prepared an email announcement for my fan list.  I made notes about what to say on Facebook.

Then Amazon posted Bubba 3 in like two hours.  Yea.  Smashwords in about two minutes.  Yea.  B&N...not yet.  Okay, I can deal.  I waited 24 hours.  Nothing on B&N.  I checked their guidelines.  They say it'll be up from 24-72 hours.  I waited.  Hour 48: nothing.  I went ahead and posted on my blog, my website and Facebook to let people know it was up on the two.  I advised we would have to wait on B&N.  End of the day, about Hour 60, I read on B&N's bulletin boards that lots of folks were having a similar problem.  I gritted my teeth.  Someone said try another file type.  I tried that.  So now I have two editions of Bubba 3 uploading on B&N.  Nothing.

Hour 72: I wrote Pubit! an email.  I was polite.  Please fix my shizz.  That's what I said.  Please, before Christmas.  Nook-having Bubba fans are going to shiskabob me and never buy one of my books again.  Please, please, please, please, PLEASE fix my shizz.  My shizz is not working.  My shizz needs to be up and running so people can download all the wonderful Bubbaness before and after Christmas when loads of folks get their new ereaders, flames, iPads, etc.  Please.

No response.

So I looked in my Pubit! account for help.  Here is their idea of customer service support.  This is an actual quote.:

If more than 72 hours goes by and your eBook still is not on sale, there may be a problem with your account information. If that is the case, you will receive an email from pubitregistration@barnesandnoble.com with a phone number you can call. You can also email pubit@bn.com if you have questions.
HELL YES, I have questions.  A lot of them.  It's going to be a VERY LONG email.  Are you certain you're up to it?

Recently I told a fellow indie writer that B&N has been good to me.  Yes, it has.  But this sitch is freaking ANNOYING the crap out of me.  (My writer bud is going to chortle when he reads this.)  I still want to use B&N, but for the love of Merciful Pete, can they please pick up the pace?

And I can't help but wonder if they do this to traditional writers.  I don't think so because they can't afford to piss off the big publishing houses.

So I'm saying to my nook fans.  Go buy Bubba and the Missing Woman at Smashwords because obviously B&N isn't interested in the revenue.

Oh, yes, my name might not be David, but I'm throwing the effing rock at Goliath's head right now.

And here comes the punchline.  As soon as I finished this blog, I got a response from B&N and Bubba 3 is up.  So the nasty thought waves I was sending to them actually got them into motion.  I think.  I'm still not happy.  I think Pubit! needs to rethink its customer service contacts.  Indie authors are legitimate customers/clients, too.  Pffft.

Anyway.  It's up on the big three and the others will follow as Smashwords delivers unto them.  What a relief.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bubba and the Missing Woman is AVAILABLE! OR How I Finished and Am Dancing Luridly in the Streets OR Be Ready When I Call for Bail Money

Hey, you!  Here's the description.  Go buy it on Amazon or Smashwords or BN.
Coming soon to all the rest.

 
Quite naturally, Bubba’s got another problem.  The woman he likes, a lot, is missing.  Folks ‘round Pegramville don’t have an inkling whether Bubba done did anything this time.  In fact, Bubba doesn’t know what to think, but he is plumb dedicated on finding Willodean Gray, through fair means or foul.  It will take a trip to the big city of Dallas, a run-in with an unstable superhero called The Purple Singapore Sling, a kidnapping by a Dallas crime lord, and a headlong hunt for a devious individual who snatched the fair Sheriff’s Deputy to figure out which end is up.  What Bubba comes to understand is not all the crazy folks live in the country.

Bubba’s on the edge and he’s goin’ hog-wild in a donut factory!
Book 3 of the Bubba series.

Here's where to click if you want it on Amazon.
Here's where to click if you want it on B&N.
Here's where to click if you want it on Smashwords.


Monday, December 5, 2011

The Evil Perpetrator, the School System OR Shameless Moneygrubbing Swine Abounding

So Cressy, my seven year old daughter, goes to elementary school.  No big.  She's in 2nd grade.  All is good, right?



Wrong.  Wrongness personified.  Wrongity-wrong-wrong.  Wrongenivity.

So what have I learned about the public school system since Cressy began attending?  Why, I'll tell you.  In excruciating detail, too.



They love to squeeze you for money.  "Excuse me, we have needs, you have extra cash, give it to us.  What's that you say?  We already get your tax money and federal money and some other money that we don't want to talk about?  Pshaw.  Silly excuses.  You're a stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder if you don't hand over your wallet immediately."  (Okay, I felt compelled to insert an odd homage to a classic movie.  Go George Lucas.  It doesn't have anything to do with the subject of the blog but WTF?)

Hmm.  Public school asking for money.  Okay, fine.  I get it.  Their budget is tight.  Taxes are down.  They want kids to do stuff that is fun.  Parents might have some extra cash or whatnot.  I get it.  I really do.

But what do they do?  They manipulate us via slyly using our children.  I shall explain.

Last week, Cressy got off the bus and yelled, "I HAVE PICTURES!"  She was referring to school pictures.  The problem was that I had already gotten school pictures and paid for them.  $45 for a package.  (Certainly a fair deal for photographs even though we don't use all of them.)  (No, I'm not complaining yet.)



So last week there was another package of photographs.  This time not solicited from the school by me.  (You see, they know Christmas is approaching and photographs of your beloved child are a favored gift to send to the 'rents and the laws.  They know.  They probably made up the rule.  Hell, they probably giggled when they did it.)

I feel obliged to mention when I went to school in the olden days of yore (You know when we walked ten miles to school, uphill in the snow, with a backpack that weighed forty tons, both ways.) we only had one picture event a year in school.  ONE!!!!!  (It was so thrilling we nearly peed our pants but not me.)

Let me tell you what today's public school does.  There's the fall photos.  There's the spring photos.  There's the group/class photo.  This year we had a little brochure featuring your own child's art work.  And once a month they send home a brochure for books for your child.  Then two or three times there's a fund raiser for the PTO at Chuck E bleeping Cheese or Chick Fil A.  They would also like you to contribute all of your soup labels, your little pink labels, and some other labels I've forgotten the name of, too.  If you don't contribute labels, obviously you're a cheapskate of ginormous magnitude who's only buying generic.  There's the holiday gift shop where they allow your child to make a list, so you'll feel really, really, really guilty if you don't send back a check with the conveniently aforementioned, pre-filled out list.  There are movie nights, game nights, and a fair, all to raise money.  Then there's a fun run, too.  As a parent I'm encouraged to participate, volunteer, and send money.  But also they remind my child to REMIND me, if I don't.

If I didn't have a steady income in the family I'm not sure how we could afford any of it.

And the sneaky part, well, there's several sneaky parts, but the sneakiest is involving your child.  Not is the child encouraged to blab on you, but also to harangue you in case you...don't wanna contribute.  (You utter swine.)

I shall explain some more for I'm in an explaining (complaining/moaning/wailing) mood.

They sent this additional package of photos home.  (Actually they're magnets and laminated pictures from the 'fall' shot and ideal for sticking in your Christmas cards.  It even says so on the package.  Ideal for use as ornaments, gifts and as personal gift tags.  The magnet ones says holiday magnets, great gifts and keepsakes.  The unsaid portion says, "Hey, you, the tightwad starving writer, are you really going to send these unsolicited potential keepsakes back to the school with your only beloved child so that she will be mortally embarrassed for your penny-pinching ways?  Are you really?  Really?")  Then they make sure they rub it into your child.  (Cressy takes photographs of herself very seriously.  I mean, she doesn't 'take' them but she has a vested interest.  After all, they're of HER.  Taking them back to school = Mom is a poopoo head.)  Cressy held them up like they were a big game trophy.  "LOOOOOOK, MA!  PHOOOOOTOOOOGRAPHS!!!!!!"



And oh, don't forget they do the same thing with the fund raisers.  For example, on Chuck E Farting Cheese night, they slap stickers on all the children, lest the manipulation not be forgotten.  I'm pretty sure it goes like this: "Psst, kid, here's a sticker for Chuck E Cheese.  Tell your parents you have to go because you're being graded and all the other kids will know if you're not there."  Then they look around to make sure no one is watching them or using a local security camera and say menacingly, "We're watching you, little child."  The stickers are good for ten tokens but also they're good for smashing it into your silly, miserly face, and questioning if you've really been supportive of the school this year.

Hahaha.  Okay, I get wanting the money.  But I dislike the child involvement tactic.  The school sucks.  I should just give them my freakin' bank account number and some withdrawal slips.  And they're probably going to blackball me for complaining about it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

O Christmas Light Torture OR Things Not to Do on Thanksgiving Weekend

I know this blog is delayed a wee bit.  I got distracted because my proofreader/editor gave me back a corrected copy of Bubba and the Missing Woman and my brain melted into primordial writer's goo.  (Ask any writer.  It's when you HAVE to do something to your manuscript before something else happens.)

But on the weekend after the esteemed Turkey Day, we recuperated by the putting up of the Christmas lights.

I have some obligatory comments to make.  (Also something that happens to me.  I HAVE to comment on stuff like this.  It's either make comments or get gagged.  One or the other.)

Every year we put up Christmas lights.  In actuality, HIM, the man to whom I'm married, puts up the lights and I help...marginally.  (Mostly I interfere and ask inane questions and gripe about how none of the other neighbors will put up lights.)

This event commences with the detanglement of the mass of Christmas lights from the previous year.  This is also known as the Eff-It-I'm-Just-Throwing-Them-Into-The-Big-Plastic-Tub-Without-Wrapping-Them-Neatly Day.  (Taking down Christmas lights = yuckiness.  Who wants to wrap them neatly so the following year they can be utilized without damaging your cerebral cortex?  Where's the fun in that?)

This also inspired me to want to wrap Cressy, our daughter, up in Christmas lights for our annual Christmas photo, but I was outvoted by HIM and Cressy.  HIM didn't want to unwrap the light in order to wrap them around a squirmy seven year old.  Cressy didn't want the lights wrapped around her.  Cressy also suggested that we wrap them around HIM instead, but HIM mysteriously vanished in the moment I turned my head away.  Thus I was outvoted and outmaneuvered.  Bah, humbug.


Anyway, the lights were retrieved from the attic.  The boxes were opened.  Various balls of light strands were extracted.  Groans at the messiness were emitted.

HIM mentally designed his supreme composition.  Strands of multicolored effervescent lights would adorn the fence draped in delicate scallops.  Wisps of red brilliance would dance along the eaves of the roof.  More multicolored lights would wind around the columns, showing their dazzling LED-edness.  Ah, the artistic flair.  The wonder.  The post-Christmas surprise of the amount of the electricity bill.

Upon assisting HIM with his vision I discovered that HIM wanted the strands in a specific order.  Apparently I put the male end on the wrong side.  (Silly me.  Male end with two little prongy things.  Female end with the holes.  How could I get that mixed up?)  Everything had to be reversed.



The reversing happened.  Then I "helped" with another cord.  Hahaha.  Just because the other cord was the male end on that side DID NOT mean I had it correct the second time because HIM had a special plan for that set of lights.  The reversing happened again.  Low pitched grumbling commenced.

Extension cords were retrieved.  We did not have enough.  Browning out the neighborhood would not suffice.  We had to cause a black out of epic proportion.  We had to show planes where to land.  We had to signal the Martians of our holiday intentions.  We had to go to Home Depot for more extension cords.

After I asked HIM to explain his "plan" for the third time and HIM had the following expression on his face, I decided to go inside where I could watch from the window and drink spiked eggnog.  (Oh, I kind of skipped the eggnog part.)


Then HIM got the big ladder out and proceeded to extract the staple gun.  HIM and staple gun, hmm.  My mind boggled.  (What does that mean anyway?  I mentally picture someone shaking up my brain in a plastic container and dumping it on the floor to see what it spells.)   I turned on the Christmas music channel and then turned on the volume.  I also put my phone in my pocket for faster speed dialing to 9-1-1.



HIM came in a while later and said, "There's wood rot on the eaves."  How, you might ask, did he know?  Well, the short answer is that when he stapled the lights to the wood, the wood fell apart.  (Let me come up with the long answer.  When HIM decided on his ultimate design of masterful Christmas artistry to shame the neighbors and suck the electric dry of all of its energy, HIM briefly considered that we're about to have our roof replaced.  So HIM opted not to use the little plastic doohickeys that attach to the shingles and to use the staple gun.  HIM might have also been shooting staples at squirrels but I'm not saying that officially.  So HIM thought if he stapled the wires to the wood, all would be well.  Also HIM wouldn't let me staple the wires because one time in 1994 I stapled Christmas lights to our house and accidentally stapled inside the wires, thereby shorting out the entire set of lights in perpetuity.  Yes, that is a long answer, Virginia.)

Anyway, here's the picture of the lights at night.  They won't be up long because we're taking them down to have someone fix all the wood rot HIM discovered.




Anyhoo, hope your Christmas light experience goes better than ours.  Or if you're really smart you said, "Eff that, we're going to Vegas."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stuff That Amuses Me OR Things That Make Me Snort Peas Out of My Nose and Not in a Good Way

My daughter, seven years old, Cressy, brought home an art project she did last week.  As an artist, I'm always interested in what she does.  She showed me the project.


The wings are attached by little metal dohickeys that allow the wings to go up and down.  So it can fly.

I said, "So, you did an eagle.  Good job."  But UH-OH! The mother train had derailed dramatically.  I did not automatically see the artistic visionary process that a seven year old had portrayed in crayola a la carte.

"It's not an eagle," my little budding Van Gogh announced to me.  Her tone was deadly serious.  As a mother and parental unit, I had made a grievous error in judging too quickly.  I looked again.

"Looks like an eagle to me," I said, wondering if I was stuffing my feet into my mouth.  (Contrary to popular belief, fat women can, in fact, insert both feet into their mouths AND at the same time.  I ought to know.  I do it frequently.)

My daughter cast a death glare upon me.  Sometimes I forget she's only seven.  She's got that glare down to at least sixteen.  Maybe even thirty.


"It's not an eagle," she said again.

"Oh kay," I said carefully.  The death bell had tolled for thee, me, whatever.  (Dead mommy walking.)  "What is it?"

(Here it comes.  It's a good one.)  "It's a zombie eagle," she said with a straight face.

I looked again.  "There's blood coming out of its mouth."

See.  I've pointed out the blood.  One can see how I might have initially missed this important aspect to the drawing.  One can see, but obviously a daughter CANNOT see how I missed it.

But Cressy wasn't done outlining her artistic creativity with the national bird of our country.  "The pink stuff is...brain juice."  (She paused for melodramatic effect.)

You see, if you previously read about the Cressy rules concerning zombies you would instantly comprehend her reasoning.  See 'The Origin of Zombies OR Why We Must Never Drive Past Graveyards at Night.'  Specifically, Zombies eat brains, brain juice and cereal.  (Not any icky kinds of cereal like Wheaties and Corn Flakes.  But the good stuff like Captain Crunch and Count Chocula.)  Therefore if they eat the brains there's going to be brain-stuff all over the zombie eagle's chest.  (Mommies are, apparently, clueless concerning zombie eagles.)

"You mean brains," I said.  Obviously I had missed some integral details on my daughter's magnum opus.


"No, it's brain juice," my only offspring announced as if I was stupid.  (I suspect to her I was.)  "The zombie eagle ate the brains, so it's only juice on its feathers."  (There was a silent, "Dumbass," on the end of that statement.  What was I thinking?  After all, it wasn't a zombie eagle with a bib.)


Now I'm picturing a restaurant just for zombie eagles.  (Maybe zombie turkeys or zombie pelicans, if they're lucky.)  Red Brains?  Pink Brains?  I'm certainly open for suggestion.

Again, I've come to the realization that no one switched my daughter at the hospital.  This is all on me.