Universal Truth Of Adulthood, Number 87: MegaUltraUber Glue

At some point in the course of your adult life, you will—possibly against your will—be required to use SuperAmazeballsHolyCrumbsInsanity Glue to put one thing back into (hopefully) semi-permanent  contact with a second, more stationary/stable thing. However, when the moment arrives to break out that tube of uber gel with the adhesive properties so mind-blowing it almost has to be an abomination in the eyes of the Creator, Bob Vila, and even Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, you can rest assured that whatever that one thing needing the glue is, it won’t be a something of reasonably manageable size.

For instance, it surely won’t be as big as a playing card that you just need to gum up to a wall. Nope. It’ll be a smaller thing, for certain.

It won’t be something this big:


And not a something this size, either. Goodness, no, this would be easy to handle:


Even this wouldn’t be impossible. Tricky, sure, but still big enough you could get it stuck to the proper thing without filling your kitchen with words requiring a lavish deposit in the Swear Jar:


No sir, when it comes to needing SuperWackyPsychopath Glue, that sad fact is that you’ll only ever get the chance to use it on something so tiny, you’ll be wishing you had a magnifying glass.  You know, a miniature piece of plastic something, kinda like this:


Oh, and it’s not like you get to put that clear adherent witch glue on the largest surface of that tiny little thing, either.  Nope, there will be just a wee little part to slather that stuff on, like a contact point or a edge so slim you’d need an electron microscope to see it clearly.


Which, of course, leads to one inescapable conclusion.  The only thing getting glued in this scenario is going to be…


your finger.


If you’re lucky you’ll glue the damn piece to it like I did, instead of gluing your fingers together (yes, I’m a master at that, also).


So keep that in mind, puddintopians. And good luck with all your adhesive projects, especially for ones calling FuzzyKittenKooky Glue. 

Hopefully you’ll have better luck with it than I do.


Everything You Need To Do Regarding Net Neutrality But Maybe Didn’t Realize

Unless your neighbors mostly consist of those rolly-poly bugs and you generally only see the light of day if a giant comes by and lifts your home up off the ground, odds are good you’ve at least heard the words “net neutrality” at some point recently. More importantly, though, you might not know what it’s about or why you should give it anymore thought than you would the hair clippings on the floor of the local UberCuts Style Emporium.

Thing is, isn’t just another talking head issue where your “government at work” is doing anything but. Rather, it’s an issue that not only matters, but you have the ability to affect the outcome. And should mean something to you, unless you’d want to end up dropping a fat sack of cash and probably head of cattle or two just for the right to watch season three of Orange Is The New Black.

Before I go any further, if you don’t know what in rambling on about, watch this video of John Oliver from his weekly HBO news show, This Week Tonight.

Okay, you with me so far?  In my opinion, when it comes to net neutrality, the real problem is that currently, the FCC categorizes internet service providers as an information service. Which, on it’s face, makes sense, right? After all, what do you get from the internet if not information, whether in the form of emails, family photos of last week’s picnic at Grandma’s where you got drunk and hurled all over the volleyball net, or YouTube videos where a guy tries to eat a live snake on a dare.

The problem, though, is that your internet service provider (ISP) isn’t an information service. Sure, ISPs used to be, back in the day when the only way online was with something a service like AOL or CompuServe, where what you got was part and parcel of who gave it to you. If you got an email, some freakish voice intoned “You’ve got mail”, if you wanted to learn about the reproductive habits of aquatic sea life, you typed “go seahorse sex” into some AOL keyword search box, and if you want to post statuses to make your former high school girlfriend think your life was awesome, well, you couldn’t. To do that, you had to run into her to at the mall, pretend not to see her, and then buy the extra large double chocolate caramel cookie at the Cookie Factory to make it seem like you were rolling in the fat cash instead of living in your parents’ basement.

Nowadays, though, things are much different. And not just because hopefully you’re not living in your parents basement anymore. These days it doesn’t matter if your internet service provider is Comcast, Time-Warner, or Big Bob’s Bargain Bytes. Whoever it is, they aren’t giving you information services. Your email comes through Gmail, you have Facebook to let you know when that one uncle is being embarrassingly racist and homophobic again, and your obsession with kitten pictures is fulfilled by, well, all the things.

The point is that your ISP isn’t providing you content, it’s just carrying data from other sources to you, much the same way your cell phone service carries phone calls to you. Yet, because T-Mobile is classified as a carrier service, it can’t just decide to charge you more for calls from your mother than ones from your friends hanging at the bar.

I’ll let you decide whether that’s a good thing or not.

The point of all this is the FCC has internet service providers classified all wrong. They ought to be treated like your cell phone company and not like a content service, and they shouldn’t be able to arbitrarily decide to charge you more for twitter access than for netflix videos.  But if the current slate of proposed rules is adopted, that’s exactly what they’ll be able to do.

So what can you do? Well, it’s simple, but you have to act fast.  Go the the fcc.gov comments form and tell them these proposed rules need to be dropped like a jar of fuzzy salsa, and internet services providers should be reclassified as common carriers.  Hurry, because the FCC is accepting comments on this issue only until Friday.

Go, then! Do it now! Before your access to web sites like Puddintopia and (even worse) Emergency Kittens starts hitting you right in the pocketbook.


A Helpful Guide For Navigating The Weekend


The picture above contains a popular brand of carbonated soft drink.  Well, it’s also of my desk earlier today, and the door to my office.  And a window showing sunlight and the outside world where I would have preferred to be at 3 PM today.  That’s not to suggest that I don’t thoroughly enjoy my job and instead feel that each passing moment in that chair is crushing my soul like a pus-covered sewer troll, because nothing would be further from the truth. I very much enjoy my work, and my soul is quite free of dead weight supplied by oozing supernatural critters, thankyouverymuch.  That said, at 3 PM on Friday, it’s pretty much a given that everyone who is not a six-eyed, 14-handed, work-devouring accomplishment beast with magma breath wants the weekend to get started.

Because, well, weekends.

As I waited this afternoon, as patiently as possible (i.e., like a toddler who’s expecting a long-promised a trip to the toy store for new bubbles) for those glorious, precious, not-going-to-be-responsible-for-two-whole-days hours to get underway, I realized I was somewhat parched.  And not only that, but, more specifically, craving a certain beverage. And, surprisingly, no, not the one made with malted barley and hops.  That one pictured in the green bottle above.

Now, make no mistake. I do not consume this particular beverage often. Back in my younger days, when I was a crazy twentysomething with a bit of a bad-boy streak and a devil-may-care attitude*, I would toss 20 oz bottles of the stuff back like it was yellow-tinted liquid gold.

Err…maybe bringing yellow liquids into this doesn’t paint the right mental image.

Anyway. As I’ve gotten older—and theoretically wiser—I’ve tried to curb habits that aren’t necessarily recognized by science as part of a reasonably healthful lifestyle.  I’ve stopped main-lining buffalo wings, I no longer look at an all-you-can-eat taco bar as a challenge, and, may the gods of the ancient Mushroom People help me, I’ve even started thinking about my fiber intake. Likewise, I try to limit my consumption of corporate carbonated soft drinks because, as far as I can tell, they’re basically a mixture of unpronounceable chemicals capable of turning your brain into a molded jello filled with orange slices**.

Every once in a great while, though, I get an urge. A Friday afternoon hankering for a taste of fond memories of my youth. Sure, it’s not exactly on the Mayo Clinic’s list of super foods, but, dammit, there’s more to life than hiding from the world in your bed with nothing but celery, kale, and dry oatmeal.

So this afternoon I went to the vending machine, offered up a sacrifice of quarters, and received a cold green bottle that brought a smile to my face, however briefly. It’s not something that’s really all that good for me, but for a little bit of time, it made me happy nonetheless.

And that, if nothing else, is a good piece of advice for what to do with your weekend from time to time. Get out and go a little crazy. Do some stuff that’s maybe a little scary, and possibly even not that healthy in the long run. Have a good time doing it anyway.

Because, if nothing else, I’m pretty sure the weekend was made for cannonballing, sky diving, or just eating ice cream straight from the carton. And not even feeling bad about it.

After all, this is your only shot at Life, puddintopians, no reason to live it like you’re just wanting for the Grim Reaper to come and get it over with.

Now go get a bottle of something for yourself and have a great weekend while you’re at it.

And, uh, try not to set the place on fire.


*The author would like to fully retract the suggestion he’s ever had either a “a bit of a bad-boy streak” or a “devil-may-care attitude”.
**The basis for the fruited jello mold assertion is scientifically inconclusive.

Nothing Remained But A Heap of Ashy, Sulfurous Paper Bits And The Aftertaste of Sausage

Welcome back to the real world. The Matrix has belched us all out again, and thus the Song of the EveryDay—a hymn of low, mournful tones—fills the air as those of us in the USA look past our weekend of summertime revelry. Time to set aside those incendiary devices for another year and we can now only ponder if it would, in fact, be possible to consume any more beer or chargrilled, tubed meat than what we gorged upon over the past three days.

Yes, another Independence Day has come and gone. And with eyes blinking against the blazing light of the sun dancing overhead, we must get back to work.  Literally, like, a lot of people have to put on shirts with actual collars and frown as they pick up their shiny work shoes instead of sliding the dogs into a pair of sandals that are as comfortable and well-worn as an old, reliable friendship.

Indeed, this morning most of America is coping with the dreaded Summer Holiday Hangover. We took a day off, and made some extra bonus weekend fun.  We played in the sun, we beered, we boated, we blew stuff up, and basically had a shiny good time.

But now it’s over, and I didn’t even have a chance to make some ice cream*. 

Even worse than that, my oldest son has begun to realize how little fun it must be to live as an adult, yoked to The Man for cash and prizes.  Indeed, he actually chuckled at me last night as he headed off to bed, knowing I’d be up before him, shuffling off to work in my business casuals. Because when you’re a grown up, summer isn’t one weekend-esque day after another punctuated by trips to amusements parks and possible a beach.

It was almost enough to make me sad, but then I remembered something he won’t understand for another 20 years. Sure, he got a chance to revel in my somber adult responsibility today, but little does he know that summer is effectively over. For an eleven year-old kid, it might not seem that way, but as a man with 41 complete trips around the sun under his belt, I am the wiser. You see, to me, it was just last week that I remarked about reaching the second week of summer break. And now, in was little more than the blink of a sun-blind eye, we’re wading into the sixth week of it. That is, already beyond the halfway point.

Those meddling kids have merely five more Fridays to enjoy before the dark specter of The First Day of School will beckon like a witch with a candy hut in the forest.

Laugh at me, will you, Oldest Son?  Your laughter will be short lived! Now that the fireworks have been lit and the potato salad days are in our past, we begin the slow/fast creep down the hill towards a new school year.

Mock now, I say, while you can. Because tomorrow, or very very soon, I’ll be buying your notebooks. 

And the more you laugh, the more likely I’ll be getting you the glittery pink ones**!

Hope everyone had a great Independence Day (if that’s a day with meaning for you).

Now get out there, have a gallon or two of coffee, and have a great week!


*I will be remedying that oversight soon enough!
**Okay, not really. He’ll be starting Middle School and even I’m not that kind of monster.

The Puddinette Got A Year Older Today And All I Gave Her Was A Crummy Lunch Sack

On this day, exactly mumblecough* years ago, the heavens opened wide, and in a breathtaking expanse of starlight and trumpets, my wife was born unto this Earth.

Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly how it happened. My research departments suggests there was actually a hospital involved.  And doctors. And some nurses or whatever. Nervous-excited expectant parents who are awesome people and eventually became my in-laws. That kind of thing, i.e., more hot water and towels than actual trumpets.

Exaggeration, aside, though, today is, in fact the Puddinette’s birthday. And yes, it’s kind of a Big Deal.

The thing is, the Puddinette isn’t just my wife or the mother of my remarkably cute and smart-alec-y kids. She’s the glue that holds us together as a family, and the thin, protective barrier that prevents the forces of dirt, chaos, and decay from overwhelming our already complicated life.

Seriously, if she up and decided to go on strike or something, they kids would be wandering around the neighborhood gutters with shoeless, dirty feet, even dirtier faces, and clothes that looked like they might have been new around the spark of the industrial revolution and then worn constantly for a century of work in a coal plant. That is, of course, I didn’t just dress the kids in Hefty bags. I mean, if I got the “Odor Lock” kind they probably wouldn’t have to shower or whatever but once a week!

Anyway, today, then, is for the Puddinette. She’s the jelly to my peanut butter**, the cream for my coffee, the ala mode that makes my apple pie-ness better than those frozen Mrs. Smiths frisbee puck things.  Or something.

Point is, we’ll do our best to pamper her, and the kids will try (it’s the thought that counts) not to bicker amongst themselves too egregiously so she can enjoy her day in relative peace.  Admittedly, the moments of calm will come and go like the eye of a proverbial storm, but such is the way of summer birthdays when you have a bunch of kids.  It’s probably for the best anyway, because too much quiet makes a mother twitchy about what’s going to get smashed, and too much time to think will inevitably give her a chance to remember all the projects I’ve promised to do around the house that haven’t miraculously completed themselves yet.

Oh, and in case you’re curious about what I picked out for her, I got my lovely wife this beautiful Coach bag for her birthday:


Well, okay, so that’s not actually a Coach purse.  It’s a picture of a Coach purse stapled to a lunch sack.  But bear with me! There’s a good explanation!

Thing is, the Puddinette digs her purses. Like, as much as I dig sandwiches and beer.  And just the same way I hesitate to have her pick out a six pack for me (because she’s much more concerned with what’s on sale than what has Centennial hops),  I understand that I am woefully inadequate to the task of buying her a purse. At least without specific instructions, photographs for reference, a train schedule for when the the purse in question might arrive, and a card with words “Puddinette’s Purse” scrawled in marker on it like a limo driver at the airport. Were I to attempt to choose a new purse for the Puddinette without any of that, after several hours of flailing about like a rag doll, a fifth of bourbon, and some (misplaced yet understandable) concern for their own personal safety from store employees, I’d end up with a hangover and some green-orange monstrosity that I liked because it reminded me of the Hobgoblin, but wasn’t so much something she’d love to show off at Parent Teacher conferences. Instead, I’ll let her pick out her Birthday Purse of Joy while I go to the beer store for a new IPA.

At any rate, a very Happy Birthday! to my wonderful, beautiful, tolerant, and much-suffering wife, the incomparable Puddinette. I don’t know what I’d do without you, besides live a ditch. And nobody probably wants that.

Well, except you, possibly, when I’m snoring at 3 AM and keeping you awake. But no sane person would argue that’s not justified.


PS: iFeliz Cumpleanos, Querida! Te amo mas que…

*The Puddinette is not the kind to be over concerned with who knows how old she is. She doesn’t go for any of that silly “Look, it’s my 29th birthday again nonsense!”  But the internet never forgets things, and I don’t want there to be any evidence of her actual  age available when I’m trying to get the senior discount at the movies when we’re only 53.
**I’ll let you debate whether that’s Extra Crunchy or Smooth

That Big, Beautiful Space Above Your Head

pink sky

I will largely be off doing things today, important, non-interwebsy type things, such as being an act-first-think-later style international master spy equally at home wearing a tuxedo as carrying a sniper rifle. Or maybe I’ll be out tracking that black bear that’s been making cameos in suburban Cincinnati this week. With luck, I can reunite Yogi and Boo Boo, and then the three of us can share a pic-a-nic basket.

Okay, so maybe not. Regardless, I won’t be online much, which means no time for rambling out a proper post.  In its stead, I hope you’ll enjoy this picture of the sky I took last night, just about sundown, right as storm clouds were about to roll in.

I thought it was kinda pretty, at least.

Have a great Monday. We’ll chat soon!


Games Writers Play: Seven Lines from Page Seven

A few days ago, I was tagged in a one of those chain-style Facebook memes where someone is chosen to do something very specific and then post evidence of it a status update, at which point they’re free to tag some non-zero number of other friends, family, and/or in-laws to carry on the cycle.

In general, I kind of enjoy these kinds of things, especially the writing-related ones. For one thing, it means getting picked for, well, something. Sure, that’s gotta sound a little strange from 41 year old dude with a  penchant for attention seeking and more than his fair share of egotism. But you have to remember I was the kid frequently not picked for things back when my lack of skill with a whiffle ball was rivaled only by my lack of speed around makeshift bases. Thus, it’s still nice to get picked for stuff occasionally, even now.

Well, except for, like, jury duty, or when the Puddinette picks me for extensive home projects. For some reason those things don’t give me quite the same thrill.

Moving right along….

My agent represents a whole host of brilliant writers, and we’re a pretty close knit group, as far as these things go. So I wasn’t surprised one bit when, after watching this particular meme circulate among writers on Facebook for a few weeks, one of my agency-siblings tagged me. Thus tagged, I’m more than happy to  play along.

The way this particular chain meme works, once you’ve been hit up, you’re supposed to go to either page seven or page 77 of your current work in progress, then proceed to line seven, and post the seven lines of your work that follow.  And I was pretty excited to do that, especially after reading what I had to share on page seven of my current novel (page 77 is still blank, I’m afraid).

The only problem, though, is that I’m a bit of the foil-hat type when it comes to posting things to Facebook.  I mean, I don’t mind spilling whatever’s on my mind in the occasional status update, but putting anything out there that I consider Copyright, 201X, Puddin makes me more nervous than an arachnophobe at an arachnology convention during Halloween.

See, Facebook likes change its legal Terms and Conditions from time to time and do things like, oh, claim everything posted in a status update is property of Facebook to do with as they like.  Now, admittedly, the likelihood of that happening in this case is roughly the same as me flapping my arms and flying to the moon where Captain Morgan himself would offer me a shot of rum.  But, better safe than sorry.  Also, sometimes I just like to be the contrarian.

But! Then I realized that if I post said sliver of the work-in-progress here, everybody wins, right? So, here it is, then, seven lines of page seven, from my current work in progress, codenamed Project Hermey:

The door was swinging closed, but no one had come in or gone out. Bones and Chee were still waiting outside by the light, and Chee was scrolling through something on his phone. Probably checking his online dating profile, which, after a bit of hacking, Molly had uncovered was nothing but a sackful of lies from the words, “Welcome to Chee-ville, hot stuff!” Apparently he liked to tell potential—that is, unsuspecting—dates that he was the owner of a chain of booming coffee houses and that he enjoyed thought-provoking, sad books, spa days, and long walks along the beach. Truth was, the last time he’d been at the beach, it had been with her family, and he’d gotten stung by jellyfish.

The other patrons of the laundromat had looked up at the mysterious door too, but finding no one, had already gone back their folding. The pair of kids though, barely more than toddlers, were now giggling together in the far corner of the shop.

With that done, now, I’d say that’s more than enough rambling about spiders and tin-hats from me for one week. Look me up on Facebook if you’re curious who, if anyone, I tagged to continue the chain.

Now get out there and have a great weekend!

And, uh, try not to set the place of fire.



Some Days

Some days, the life of a part time writer is not so much about red carpets, adoring fans, or even pantlessness, midday whiskey, and the endless struggle to find a few perfect words to describe a simple thing with subtle elegance.

Well, okay, so life is actually never any of those things for the part time writer, except for maybe the last one. And some days not even that one is on the agenda.

Some days, instead, you spend your morning and afternoon sweating the details that come with rolling out a new project at a customer site.

Some days, a part time writer is left with roughly twenty minutes in an airport terminal to fire down a 4 PM lunch consisting of the wrong package of M&Ms while waiting for a plane to come fling him home.

Some days are actually today.

But that’s okay, because by the time anyone but that part time writer reads this, he’ll be back at home, grilling dinner for his family.

Some days turn out perfectly okay in the end.