Archive for June, 2012
So, I’m still, you know, whatever, or lazy, something. So, I figured why no continue the “Day in Pictures” theme? I mean, it’s easy to take pictures that mostly no one will care about but me, and even easier to post them to a blog. So, yeah, it’s money.
I thought this guy was pretty cool. Way cooler than that lazy MGM lion that’s just been laying around and growling for more than half a century. Come to think of it, I think I need a pair of these to flank my driveway. Because nothing would say, “Welcome to La Casa de Puddin, enjoy your stay under our protection, but don’t touch the friggin’ silver” like the King of the Jungle standing guard in the suburbs.
A pair of towels and a child’s swim vest drying in the afternoon sun. Which is a lot of words to simply say, “summer.”
Sir Feasts-in-the-corner just hopes the Queen will relent and let him out of the “Punishment Corner of Shame” before the pheasant course is served. He always loved the pheasant most, and if he’d known Her Grace would have taken such umbrage at the remark about her knickers, he’d have thought twice about it.
It wouldn’t be a day-in-pictures without nachos. And look, these haven’t been eaten yet! Oh! Hai, tasty, tasty jalapenos! Get in mah Belly!
Good work, jalapenos. Top marks for following directions. Cleary these nachos were terrible. So terrible they could not be allowed to exist in a big pile. Separating them—via consumption—seemed the only reasonable choice.
You can’t tell from the picture, but this statue of lady Liberty is a glass mosaic. I couldn’t help but be a little struck by seeing liberty represented by something shiny, beautiful (shut up, it is NOT gawdy) and incredibly fragile.
And that’s enough picture-based nonsense for me.
I know I’m supposed to be a words guy and everything, but there’s no time for the customary 1000-word dissertation on the nature of bar soap today. So I took some pictures. Now, trust me, there’s pretty much no one likely to ever mistake my photography skill for, well, skill.
No one, at least, that isn’t mostly blind in one eye and wearing a patch over the other.
But, something about each of images of the world below caught my eye. And, hey, since a phone with a camera is pretty much a birthright at this point, I figured, “why not photograph that?”
So, I did.
This is one of the most serene ponds I have ever personally seen. Right up until the Creature From Serenity Pond rose up and ruined everyone’s day. You can’t see it in this shot, but he’s totally just over to the right off camera. I’m telling the truth, I swear. Big teeth, pointed ears, fish gills, wicked bad breath. I’m lucky I made it out alive.
Fountains are cool. Grotesques are even cooler. Horned Grotesque Fountains, tho? Bloody jackpot, mate. For real.
There was hunger. The nachos arrived. Mistakes were made.
And then repeated.
This is a terrible shot, but that bridge is all kinds of pretty. I’d blame the camera, but I think we all know it’s a poor plumber who blames the tools. Hey, let’s see how well you take pictures with the Creature From Serenity Pond on your tail.
Now, say Goodnight, Pud’n.
As is probably apparent, I’m running pretty behind the usual Saturday Debate posting schedule today. Actually, considering it’s currently 8 PM and I usually post around 2, I supposed “pretty behind” is kind of an understatement.
It might also be commentary on someone’s derrière, but that’s neither here nor there.
So, this is the first time today I’ve had a chance to sit down and bang out the Saturday Debate. The rest of my time seems to have been spent doing, um, stuff. You know, errands and whatnot. The kind of stuff you never plan to make a day out of, but somehow manage to lose the entire thing anyway.
The Puddinette looks more fondly on these types of things, but it means there was a to-do list involved, and in all likelihood, items were checked. As we’ve discussed in the past, she very much likes checking things Off The List.
I, on the other hand, pretty much live with the sloth as my spirit animal. I could do without the to-do list wholly and completely. Seriously, I never met a set of tasks that needed doing that took precedence over Saturday nap.
Lucky, I guess, the Puddinette, after years of dogged rehabilitation, has finally managed to break me of my inherent lethargy. While I still don’t get a case of the warm, fuzzies from crossing stuff of a notepad, at least I don’t ignore things that need doing anymore. Which is to say, I no longer wallow in my own filth, playing the world’s lamest game of chicken to see whether my home might fall apart before I was compelled to do anything about it.
Which brings me to today’s debate:
The To-Do List: Shiny, Necessary, and Good, or the basis of all Evil in the World?
I look forward to your to-do related thoughts.
And no, I didn’t forget, here’s your poll!
Now, I’m off to relax and ignore as many responsibilities as possible. Wish me luck!
Surprisingly, even after putting that title up there, I’m not going to go on and on about a bar today. I am, however, going to talk about beer. Because it’s Thursday, right? And I talk about beer on Thursday.
Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure that Thursday is beer day…or something. In fact, isn’t that one of the two key pieces of the Mayan Calendar? You know, that a) the world has a finite end point and b) Thursday is Beer Day?
Well, it ought to be. I’m going to write my representative. If they can’t do anything else I elected them for, at least maybe they’d get this done. I mean, who’d stand against a proclamation for Beer Day?
Anyway, last week on Beer Day (aka Thursday), I happened to be killing some time in the neighborhood of my most favoritest beer store EVAH. Sadly, I don’t make an effort to visit said store nearly enough, so I hopped at the chance to make amends while perusing the store’s wares.
Well, I’ll be doing that for a little while, at least. Later on, I’ll probably make another excuse to visit that very same beer store again.
It is, after all, Beer Day.
If I recall correctly, tomorrow, June 20th, is the summer solstice for those of us here on planet Earth. You Beta Hydroxians only have one planetary revolution every 60 years, so I’m afraid your next solstice is roughly 23 years off. But that’s okay, you can have a pint or six of bitter with us as long as you promise to bring a towel. Oh, and no more abductions or cow experimentation.
Seriously, It’s kind of rude to mess up your host planet’s wildlife, especially when you’re just here for a solstice party. If we wanted to witness that sort of bad behavior, we’d invite Lindsey Lohan to our house parties. Trust me, I know you can be better, so no more acting like frat boys in Tijuana for the weekend.
Anyway, so the solstice is tomorrow, and not a moment too soon, if you ask me. I mean, I know it marks the official start of summer and all, and summer isn’t really my bestest buddy among the available seasons. But I’m totally willing to overlook that this one time, because it’s the longest day of the year.
The sun and I? Yeah, we’ve had enough of each other already this season. It’s like Oscar and Felix up in here and I’m really getting tired of the cigar smoke and the messes everywhere.
Well, maybe that’s a bad example. I don’t much mind cigar smoke and make plenty of messes myself.
But still. STILL.
Not happy with the sun.
See, it’s just now June and I’ve already gotten my requisite early-summer irresponsible burns out of the way. Nothing really too bad, mind you, since the Puddinette sees to it that I regularly apply a reasonable coating of SPF-ery. Nevertheless, I’ve still managed to acquire a bit of extra-pinking of the back of my neck and my forearms once or twice so far.
That doesn’t bother me. It’s my own fault for being, well, stupid, and either not being thorough or not reapplying. And if my mother taught me anything, it’s that if you’re gonna be stupid, be prepared to own up to it.
Which, by the way, is a tiny nugget of wisdom I think most people could probably do with applying to their own lives more regularly. Politicians, especially, but I won’t get into that since they’re an easy target an all.
Anyway, all that said, I’ll still be plenty happy to know that the daily duration of exposure to our closest active star will be lessening day by day after tomorrow.
You know, because of the top of my head.
If you’ll recall, I spent yesterday out in the ridiculous heat playing a round of very bad, yet very entertaining golf. Which, of course, is the only way I play 18 holes. The problem is that when it comes to doing much of anything in the foolish heat, it’s best if you don’t cover your head lest you retain heat bodily.
Sure, putting a cap on in the dark, murky, frigid depths of January makes plenty of sense, but it when the thermometer reaches deity-forsaken “stupid” levels, not so much.
Problem is, the top of my head isn’t exactly otherwise well-protected. My hair is…inconvenient. I’m not exactly balding so much, but the thick, wavy locks of my youth have become somewhat, um, sparse. In other words, my follicles block sunlight about as well as Rachel Ray’s shiny orange pasta pot holds water.
Still, though, my hair is thick enough to prevent the functional application of sunscreen. Ever try to apply lotion to a cat? Didn’t really get down to the skin part did it? Well, unless you’ve got one of those creepy, wrinkly, hairless things that looks a relative of the guy from that old timey Nosferatu movie.
But I’m not that kind of cat. Er, well, any kind of cat, but you get the idea. Sunscreen, no matter what I do, doesn’t get down to my head. Unless, that is, I apply enough to make it look like I left the house with mayonnaise on my head, but I think we can all agree that’s not a good look, even for “middle-aged software/writer-guy”.
I don’t want to scare the people at the coffee shop, you know.
This, then, is why I’m looking forward to the solstice: because the sun is a cruel, cruel star, nobody’s come out with an SPF-rated hair gel yet, and, thus, today I find myself with an angry pinkish scalp. And if we learned nothing else from the PowerPuff Girls, it’s that we should avoid all things angry and pinkish.
So, uh, Suave, Pantene, or hell, white-labeled “Hair Gel”, makers, I implore you, perhaps a little help for those of us stuck in between the Beiber and the bald?
That’d be swell, thanks.
PS: You can’t really put aloe on a cat, either. I’ll let you figure out how that’s relevant.
I’m so sorry there hasn’t been anything in the way of a Monday post today, but I was busy. Busy, recreatin’, that is. I took the day off from work and beat a helpless and otherwise undeserving bunch of golf balls around a course today with my brothers and dad.
Sure it was nearly 90 degrees and I might have resembled a porcupine that accidentally fell into a pond afterwards, but great fun was had by all regardless.
So, instead of the decent post of which you all deserving, I give you, instead, this golf haiku:
Puddin on the Links: A haiku
Tiny, dimpled balls
Fly straight and true for others
Fly sideways for me
What did everyone else do today?
Image courtesy of jimbouton.com
I suppose I could take the easy way out with today’s Saturday Debate, since Father’s Day is tomorrow and all. If you’ll recall, last month for Mother’s Day, I stooped so low as to offer you this silly thing.
But, as I am a father and also, not coincidentally, have a father, it seemed wrong somehow to concoct any sort of debate on the matter. The idea seemed a little self-congratulatory to me.
Luckily, though, today was game day for the Puddin Pop’s baseball team, so I had 3 long, sunbaked hours to consider selecting a topic. Of course, instead of doing that, I seem to recall spending most of the game talking to a purple spotted giraffe named Austin about the nature of Man vs. his darker half.
Then again, Austin might have been a hallucination based on the sun and heat. If he was, he’s not talking about it now.
Regardless, I did actually spend a little time, the seemingly interminable 3rd inning, to be precise, considering something that is absolutely fundamental to something like baseball that I hadn’t given much thought since I was, oh, 10 or so. Which brings me to that topic of the day:
Chewing Gum: A imperative for a full life or positively pointless?
I for one, am a proponent, and believe Big League Chew (Wild Grape flavor, of course) to be the pinnacle of mankind’s evolution in the vein of candy goods with recreational ties.
I suspect opinions will vary. Why not share yours?
As always, I encourage you to enjoy a related poll:
For more than a year now, I’ve had a post about twitter in mind. I was considering perhaps an explanation of what I find so appealing about it or a piece comparing/contrasting it with facebook. Yet, all that time, the wordless draft has been sitting on the server, alone and seemingly unloved, just like me at the fifth grade sock hop.
I just couldn’t bring myself to write the thing.
One might wonder, considering all the other nonsense I come up, Oompa Loompa references, terribly stick figure pictures, Seussian beer poems, weekly “debates” which are really nothing of the sort, and ridiculous rants about selfish women in Pepto Bismol colored shirts included, why I haven’t had the gumption to follow through yet. I mean, I’m the guy the goes off on 1000-word yarns about the worms that end up on the driveway after an evening rain having fallen from the hooves of invisible unicorns, so surely I could spit out a few paragraphs about twitter, right?
Hell, doesn’t damn near everybody has something to say about it anyway?
Granted, though, much of what I hear are complaints from people who obviously haven’t really given it a chance. Those people grump and moan that nobody really needs an FYI in 140 characters or less about Gramps having trouble with his corns or an update on Kim Kardashian apparently falling for some new guy, whom she plans to marry for roughly the same amount of time most of us suffer with a case of shingles.
While I won’t get into why those arguments suggest an incredibly simplistic, dismissive, and utterly wrong way to look at it, I will say that the power and utility of twitter is in who you follow, not who follows you. There’s an incredible width and depth of information out there, stuff that could be really useful to you. But if you’re only going to seethe over celebrities or count your followers, it’s no surprise that your experience was potentially lacking.
For the record, if proving your popularity is the most important thing in your mind, twitter probably isn’t the tool for you. Also, you might want to consider taking down that picture of you being totally awesome at the senior prom. That was like, a decade and a half ago, dude.
Anyway, the whole point of this is that every time I tried to sit down and do “the twitter post”, my brain locked up like a ’65 Chrysler in Wisconsin in February. It’s like I didn’t know where to begin, how to proceed, or where the post my lead. I felt like I was staring down the rabbit hole after Alice.
But I realized something just recently that helped me out a little with this post: if you’re a writer, you need to be using twitter.
You know, this is important. So I’m going to say it again, just for emphasis. If you are a writer, You. Should. Be. Using. twitter. And that’s especially the case if you harbor even the slightest inclination that someday you’d like to be a paid writer.
Why? Well, there’s a boatload of reasons, the least of which is that writing can be a difficult, solitary process. Writers put a lot of pressure on themselves and often have little outlet to release it. If you’re a insurance claims adjuster or something, odds are good you can wanders a few cubes over and find a sympathetic soul. But when it’s just you, the monitor, and the keyboard, and the voices in your head, well, let’s just say that’s not the world’s best psychological support team.
There’s a reason Jack took a left turn at Sanityville, hit the gas past Concern Junction, and drove head first through the walls of Crazytown in The Shining, you know.
But finding a conduit to your tribe is only part the reason why twitter rules for writers. The bigger thing, for me, at least, is that twitter is full of people that want to help you succeed as a word wrangler and, also, it has some sweet mechanisms built-in to make it happen. The hashtags (a word that lets you follow common themes easily) for writers alone are awesome.
For instance, late afternoon Wednesday, some literary agents found they had a bit of time to answer questions from writers using the hashtag “#askagent”. So anyone with a question that an agent might be able to answer just needed to type it up and add that tag and, if at all possible, they’d get an answer from the horses mouth.
And then, magic happened. Writers started asking questions. Then more writers piped up. And the available few agents answered them. And there were more questions and then even more questions and more and more agents joined in. Soon, the thing became a Q and A version of a great white freeding frenzy. It developed a life of it’s own, and, ultimately, lasted for hours. I’m not sure, but it might have even gone overnight in some parts of the world. Writers and agents, checking in and checking out of the stream, asking and answering questions about querying an agent or getting published.
The thing was an information goldmine, and I’m glad I had the good fortune to catch at least a small part of it.
So, yes, twitter can have it’s drawbacks. It might seem frivolous sometimes and the 140-character limit can feel, well, limiting. But it can also be a serious tool in the hands of someone willing to give it a little respect.
Because, let’s be honest, while being a lonely, pantsless, drunk is a pretty cool benefit to wordsmithery, finding your tribe out there – ready to give you a pat on the back or, conversely, a good chewing out if you need it – is priceless.
So, my fellow scribes, quite dawdling, and I’ll see you twitter.
Let me know where you are out there, and I’ll be sure to give you follow.
You’re welcome to do me the same.
If you’ve read the older posts I wrote for Hoperatives, you might recall that once upon a time, I had a bit of an incident where I accidentally overindulged in a too much very tasty Commodore Perry IPA from Great Lakes Brewing Co. The next morning, after I realized my mistake, I swore off ever drinking that beer again.
But as I hope that the Puddinette will always have “one more chance” in her heart for me to get it right – it being whatever I’ve screwed up most recently, of course, which changes more often than Katy Perry’s hair color – I decided last week that perhaps I should give the Commodore a second chance of his own.
So I did exactly that. The big question, of course, is how did it go? Did my advancing age and accumulating wisdom equate to a new-found maturity prizing good sense and moderation, or did I end up with a lamp shade on my head and another headache reminiscent of an elephant standing on a grape? That, my friends, is the point of my latest Hoperatives post, which is just waiting over there for you to read all about it.
Which I’m really hoping you do.
You know, before they realize I’m a huge fraud and shouldn’t be writing for anyone but cobbler elves.
And nobody wants that, right?
It’s a miracle, I tell ya, a datgummed miracle! I never thought I would see the day dawn, but here we are: tonight, after my rush-hour traffic commute, I get to stay home.
Let’s all say that again, together. I. Get. To. Stay. Home.
No baseball games.
No dance classes.
No Scout meetings.
No Hunger Games-style Reaping to attend.
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Tonight I get to enjoy dinner with my family and then afterward, go absolutely no where for any reason.
I might even put on my slippers and my smoking jacket.
One might think my enthusiasm for doing, well, nothing might be a tad misplaced, or at the very least overzealous. Oh, it’s not, I tell you, it’s so very not.
For some reason, I thought that when school let out, the nearly daily requirement that our evening be directed at some sort of external endeavor might be replaced with some sort of pleasant summer ritual. Like, enjoying a cold beer on my porch while listing to the Cincinnati Reds on the radio while the sun crept toward the horizon.
Yes, I realize I have neither a sittin’ porch at the moment nor an outdoor radio, but, just…hush. I’d have worked around that somehow.
Instead, it seems that just about every evening of early summer, the part I like to consider the Firefly Nights, will instead be dedicated to taxiing (not, by the way, at all the same thing as “taxing”, which is what I wrote first) children to and from various and sundry activities.
That’s not to suggest, though, that I begrudge them their fun. What would a life be without childhood memories of little league baseball in June, etc? I’m pretty sure that’s how you get evil, crazy dudes like Dexter, Charles Manson, and Simon Cowell. You need summertime stuff as a kid.
Image via Wikipedia.org
Especially the baseball. Baseball makes everything better.
Don’t believe me? Seriously, think about this: how much better would The Phantom Menace have been if it had dropped all that Trade Federation nonsense and played out like Mighty Anakin at the Bat? And yes, even overlooking the fact that the poor kid playing young Luke’s father was slightly more wooden than Howdy Doody. Hell, and even if Lucas still really had to have Jar Jar, he could have been the opposing team’s error-prone outfielder that trips over his remarkably big ears in the bottom of the ninth, allowing Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and the kid to score for the big unlikely, come-from-behind win.
Darth Los Muerte or whatever his name was – you know, with the horns and the devil face paint – clearly would have been the opposing (losing) pitcher. And then, instead of shaking hands after the game, everyone (of course) would pick up a bat and you’d have light saber duels with them just like the kids have always done to the consternation of coaches everywhere.
Ahem. Anyway, even as awesome as baseball is, especially to a kid, my point is that tonight, nothing and/or no one is going to ruin my leisurely staying-at-home.
Not even Darth La Mancha.