The Best Monday Of The Year (or Revisiting The Start Of The 2015 NCAA Tournament)

Yeah, you heard me right: yesterday was the best Monday of the year. Ordinarily, I’d argue that suggesting any one particular Monday could possible trump it’s 51 brethren was crazy talk on the highest order. Like, seriously, you’d be better off taking stock tips from the “magic” fortune teller that made Tom Hanks Big. It’s like evaluating 52 piles of browning banana peels and attempting to pick out The Best One when no matter which you pick, it’s still just a slippery mound of mushy yuck, you know?

So why on Earth would I possible suggest that yesterday is the best Monday of the whole year?

Because there aren’t any NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games again until Thursday.

Now, hear me out. I know the tournament is awesome. I do, I swear. But Not having any games until Thursday gives me three whole blessed days when my bracket won’t be getting any worse. That’s a far cry, mind you, from what happened the four days prior to Monday.  From noon Thursday until late Sunday night, every time I checked my bracket results and place in the groups standings, my hopes and dreams of being this years Big Pool Winner slid closer and closer to becoming, well, this year’s big poo winner.

As in, I’m not going to win sh….  Err, I mean, you probably get the idea.

Yet therein lies the magic of the NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracketizing. Before that first tip-off Thursday afternoon, millions of children, women, and men across the globe (probably?) stood breathless, poised over a precipice leading to glory or ruin one, clutching a gleaming sheet of paper hope in their hands. The NCAA Tournament Bracket is the Great Equalizer, where everyone, for that one moment, can stand all on the same footing, shoulder to shoulder, with four regions of selections unmarred by error.

That is, until the games begin.

After that, hoo-boy, things get uglier than a guy like me in a Victoria’s Secret two-piece quicker than you can say, “for the love of your eyeballs, children, look away.”

Because that’s when upsets start rolling in, underdogs clinging to scrappy wins and clearing out whole swaths of expectant victory.  Soon after your (my) bracket sheet looks like a editor took a red pen to that Chuck Norris Commando fan-fiction I wrote when I was 10.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t good. Just like my tournament picks.

This year’s lesson, it turns out, is that if you’re going to try to pick some underdogs, it helps to pick the right underdogs.  Because otherwise you’ll soon be weeping over the lost dream of a Villanova/Oklahoma Regional Final, and swearing no child or grandchild of yours will ever set foot on Villanova’s lazy, no-good campus, no matter what kind of scholarship they offer*!

At last, though, after days and days and days (what? it was only four? What sort of time vortex sorcery is at hand here? I’ve surely been watching my picks get axed for at least a fortnight!), Monday, sweet Monday arrived, ending the endless siege against my bracket. And as the dust settles, I can now take a moment to gather up the tattered remains of my 2015 NCAA Tournament Picks and do what 90% of us do this one week of year.

Look forward to the 2016 NCAA Tournament, and swear that next year we’re picking every stupid game via coin flip.


*Totally kidding here, Villanova. You’ve got a great institution of higher learning there, and we’ll gratefully accept whatever scholarship money you’d like to fling at us.


Getting Busy And Old And Exploiting Taylor Swift Songs

I have to apologize for not posting sooner this week. I was out of town doing that work thing Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, off having middle-aged dude adventures in Greenville, SC and Wallingford, CT (which is not too far from Hartford). Oh, and, for the record, “middle-aged dude adventures” means having too much curry at the faux Irish Pub and then binge watching Parks and Recreation in one’s hotel room.

Yes, I rock that hard. 

Today, though, is a different story. No travel today, but, still, it hasn’t exactly been routine. See, coz its my birthday. Today I turned 42 years old. But, I swear, I still feel about half that. 

Well, except for the first half hour after waking up. 

Of course. I’m not half that. I’m decidedly middle aged now, which means I spend more time being responsible that foolhardy. But that okay, there’s still plenty of time in my days for a bit of shenanigans. And I do make a point, still, to routinely make poor life decisions at 2:45 AM. 

Heck, chances are, I’ll do that later tonight. 

But, for now, I thought that being officially 42 today, this would be the perfect moment to name drop Taylor Swift and refer to the parody I wrote of  her hit track, 22.

It feels like a perfect night to put on my p-jays
And rub my sore feet, ah, ah, ah, ah
It feels like a perfect night to turn in early
Gotta work at daybreak, ah, ah, ah, ah

So go read that post.It’s chock full amusement. Or, least, it amuses me. But, then, maybe it’s because I’m aged now. Either way, with that, I think I’m going to call it a night before Nurse Pratchet brings in the sleepy time pills. 

Have a great night and an awesome tomorrow, and whatever you do, stay young at heart.

Well, unless you can stay 22. Then stay 22. Duh.


PS: Have some brownies too. Because that’s what I’m gonna do. Because brownies rule, obviously. 

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Daylight Saving Time

Don’t forget, most of us living in the United States will be turning our clocks forward Saturday night. And while losing an hour of sleep is never one of my favorite things, I don’t mind admitting that I’m very much looking forward to the neighborhood being a good deal brighter outside at 6:50 PM next week.

Who’d have thunk that at almost 41 years old, I’d finally have an opinion on Daylight Saving Time.


PS: Don’t forgot to check your smoke detector batteries this weekend, too!


It’s Snowy And School Is Closed Tomorrow

Also, Grammy Puddin’s birthday was yesterday, so The Attitude and I did what any right-thinking father-son combination should do. We made oatmeal cookies to take her this weekend. 

Hopefully the snow that’s falling right now will accommodate. 

If not, we’ll be forced to eat them all ourselves and make more later. Because clearly only a monster would take a grandmother stale cookies.

But I think we’ll be fine. The cookies should arrive safe, sound, and mostly uneaten.

Still, you better believe we’re going to taste-test a few in the meantime. You know, just to be safe.



No Cookie Thursday

For whatever reason, I’ve gotten it into my head over the course of the past six months or so that Thursday night is cookie night, the best night of the week to dig out the brown sugar and a mixer and whip up a batch of chewy goodness. Or at least it is when you don’t have any delicious homemade cookies on hand and ready to eat.

I guess because it’s an awesome way to get Friday started. After all, what kind of deplorable monster would you have to be to not have your weekend propspects improved by a delightful, homemade cookie?  Probably also the same kind that hates puppies, unicorns, rainbows, and double desserts.

Well, I’m not that kind of disreputable hate monger. I love Thursday cookies. But, the thing is, as much as that’s true (and we are out of homemade cookies), I’ve got a project to trump cookie night…a finished manuscript.

Yep, if I put my nose, arms, shoulders, toes–and, hell, follicles probably, too–to the grindstone tonight, I should be able to wrap up this revision phase of Project Hermey. And if that happens, there will be much rejoicing. In fact, I might even get a few swallows of bourbon with my M&Ms. 

Thus, no cookies for me tonight, I’m afraid. If anyone needs me, I’ll be looking at the screen above, getting the words all tidied up and ready for beta readers.

So have a cookie or two for me, then. And think happy manuscript thoughts.


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Of Apples And Dinosaur Ambition

book_logoI’m this close (*presses finger and thumb together*) to finishing this pass of revisions on Project Hermey and shipping it off to interested beta readers who have been ridiculously patient with all the extra time it’s taken me. Huzzah! for that! But, it means I’ve got very little time to post today.

I had leaving you all with nothing but excuses, though.

Instead, allow me to demonstrate one of the many unexpected benefits of having children around the house.  Sometimes, the kids will leave things laying around in places they don’t belong. Of course, more often than not, the practice means you’ll blowing steam out of your ears when you reach into the drawer for a serving spoon and come out with an uncapped glue stick. Every now and again, though, something a lot more entertaining than irritating happens. I’ll find something out of place, and my brain will, unbidden, concoct a caption or a story line to go with it.

I call this Unintended Domestic Toy Theater.

Last night, I found a lonely dinosaur in the kitchen long after all the kids had gone to sleep. The accompanying tale that popped into my brain demanded I get a picture so I could give you this installment of Unintended Domestic Toy Theater, a classic tale of hunger, misguided ambition, and disproportionately large fruit.

The others assumed that Manny the spinosaurus was just lazy because he always refused to join in the hunt. But he had ambitions they could never fathom. Anyone could go out and chase down a few gallimimus, but they would tremble before him when he mastered the Apples of Destiny!

Have a great Tuesday, or whatever day this happens to be for you!

And remember, an apple a day keeps spinosaurus away.


A Haiku For Well-Salted Winter Roads


A white, snowy world
Roads of gray and slush
Washer fluid would be nice


Snowy Days And Shovels

Mother Nature must have heard me when I vowed I wasn’t going to spend all winter complaining about, well, winter. Because it sure seems like she’s given some of us a bit of respite this season all the way around. Sure, we’ve had a cold spell or two, but for the most part we haven’t been subjected to the kind of soul-crushing, spirit-draining, snow-days-beyond-count incarceration that made 2014 extra memorable.

You know, memorable the same way breaking your arm falling off the monkey bars in 3rd grade was memorable.

By that token, this year has been far less memorable, which has been fine with me. Because, really, snow is mostly only delightful during the holidays. Well, assuming you’re not a student or working in education. For this of us that aren’t either of those, yet still have to go someplace every day to make our hunk o’ bacon, snow is decidedly less “glittery unicorn Funtimes”.

So we’ve been lucky so far. But nothing good stays that way forever. Mother Nature wasn’t about to spend all winter away from us this year, off in Florida with the snowbirds, sipping piña coladas and playing shuffleboard. Nope, she came home today, and brought us a Texas-sized bucketful of snow to dump on us.

Clearly, then, I had to take a picture of the fluffy white stuff in the front yard. Well, or half of it anyway. A bunch more fell after I snapped that picture.

That said, I’ll be keeping my vow. At least for today. For now, I’m not going to go all Captain Icerage or chase anyone through the hedge maze with an ax. Instead, I’ll leave you with this one happy thought: yes, it might get a little scary when your kids start to grow up in pre-teendom and spend their days at a terrifying place called Middle School, but on snowy winter days, it’s awfully nice to have a few extra pairs of hands to help shoveling the driveway.

Which is how my driveway came to be mostly clear right now, and yet my back isn’t twisted up like a decaying swamp tree. The looming teen years might try both my patience and my grocery budget, but tonight I’m definitely not complaining that my two oldest sons are getting almost as tall as me.

Because that makes them quite tall enough to handle a snow shovel.


A Movie In 100, Err, 200 Words Or Less: John Wick

john_wick_ver3I don’t remember exactly when it was last week when I watched John Wick. It might have been Wednesday night, possibly Thursday, or maybe even during those sacred few hours after Friday ends and before Saturday truly begins, when a middle aged guy can enjoy a pint or two of IPA in a dark room while reclining before 40+ inches of glowing, high definition wonder. It was probably then, but the when here isn’t important.  What is important is that instead of continuing to my methodical near-nightly Netflix campaign through the whole of Parks and Recreation (yes, I’m watching it from the beginning), I decided to watch a movie.

And John Wick had just last week been released for streaming rental.

Perhaps it was coincidence.  I’m choosing to believe otherwise.

John Wick

John Wick isn’t a perfect movie. There are a few that defy reason, even in a movie where the suspension of disbelief is achieved so easily. But whatever its faults, I feel they’re but tiny criticism of a movie that was overall very well done. It’s not an original concept, to be sure: assassin is wronged and vows revenge, even though it requires dismantling an entire criminal enterprise. This movie, though, is a textbook example of how the presentation of a story matters almost as much as the story itself. The movie begins exactly at the moment necessary to tell it, rather than dumping backstory on us with immediate flashbacks or exposition. No, in John Wick, we start with only what we need: a vulnerable, deeply hurt protagonist. Doing so breeds sympathy for someone who easily could have been an anti-hero at best, or an unsympathetic character at worst. And that makes watching his almost bezerker-like charge for vengeance that much more compelling. Oh, and the action? Yeah, that’s pretty solid too. All things considered, this might be my favorite Keanu Reeves in a long time. In fact, I sort of forgot it was him for awhile. And if that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what else to add.

So if you happen to find yourself in possession of a couple of sacred hours , or it’s just Tuesday and you feel like an action thriller, I definitely recommend John Wick.


A Limerick For The Revision Quicksand In Chapter 30

The latest of my books is called Hermey.
While revising, I’m mired in Chapter 30.
With great fury, I’m rewriting,
But the words, they are fighting!
If I don’t fix 30 soon, I’ll go loony!


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