A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

30 April 2011

Remote-ly Interesting

My son always wants me to play video games with him...but I cannot.

You see, my "video game expertise" ended with Space Invaders" and "Asteroids"...all played on the Atari game system...many, many, many years ago. The Atari system had a controller which consisted of a little toggle joystick and one button off to the side of it. I believe it was red.

The controller my son has for his Playstation 2 and Wii, etc., etc., have about a hundred buttons...and sometimes the controllers vibrate. I'm not too sure for whose pleasure (certainly not mine)...but...they do.

I just went into my son's room and asked to see one of his "more complicated" controllers. Of course, as is customary by him, he retorted, "You mean anything more complicated than Atari??" He knows all too well my gaming skills died about the same time Ms. Pac-Man came out. The Atari and all the games (you know, Skiing, Pong, and Breakout) I had were eventually relegated to the attic and that was that.

This controller by Sony, has four keys on the left, then...on the right, four more keys with circles, squares, and other geometric shapes I haven't seen since Geometry class in 1975. Kind of around and below this layout are a few other miscellaneous switches, and a couple toggle thingies up as well to occupy your "second set of thumbs" apparently. If that wasn't confusing enough, it has two sets of two buttons which might be controlled by your index and middle fingers...or, sadly, in my case, just pressed randomly along with all the others.

I am, for lack of a better term, a "complete dork" when it comes to trying to play anything with this. ANYTHING. I also have no clue how to play any game even IF these controllers were to be simplified (extremely simplified). It's always "Jump through hoops, spin around, put your left foot in, take your left foot out, grab the cherry...don't touch the mushrooms...fly through the air at warp speed and pick a bale of cotton. Jump up, spin around, pick a bale of hey...what the heck am I DOING???

I have no clue. A small monkey on acid would get a better score. And that's not even taking into consideration the aneurysm I'm sure to get because there are more lights flashing than at a 1970s disco.

But what does all this have to do with anything?

I'll tell you...

My TiVo died a couple months ago. My first tier TiVo (get prepared for this - I tell everyone) that I won at an AOL Dennis Miller NFL Rant Contest with my one and only entry. Week 6 to be exact. I loved that silly machine. I didn't realize how much my life changed in about ten years of owning that stupid thing. It made holding your bladder until a commercial a thing of the past. It made dinner possible. It made not hearing what someone said the first time...an archaic annoyance. In essence...the little magical box was indeed my mini Pandora. Once I opened it up...I could never get all I was now accustomed to - to go back inside. Once I tasted of the forbidden fruit of technology...I was a giddy drunk. When it died...I went into withdrawal.

I am ashamed to have become so reliant on something so incredibly unnecessary...especially when others have dealt with so much more horrific things lately than their damned TiVo dying.

But I couldn't deal with the cold chicken in the fridge and the cold chicken from my TiVo withdrawal - so I called up the cable company to inquire about adding a DVR. Two days later...just in time to watch (and pause and rewatch) the live broadcast of Prince William and Kate's heavily replayed nuptials, I had one installed. Thousands without cable all around me, but since I was in the queue before the bad weather, mine was installed without any pomp or circumstance.

It also was installed without any written or verbal instructions. I basically had a Playstation 2 installed to replace my Atari...and I was all thumbs.

The dinosaur TiVo I had...was easy. It had an easy to follow remote...with prompts and words on the screen and you couldn't do anything without it asking "Are you absolutely SURE you want to do THIS???" This was now some mutant alien replicant...and I was awoken to the 21st century after being frozen since the late 1900s.

I am able, so the literature tells me...to be able to record two shows whilst watching a recorded third. Able to switch between two shows and watch them both by swapping between them. Able to even watch things I haven't seen back in time to an hour ago...but, for the life of me, after having done it once and being amazed...I have not been able to replicate it again.

I believe I recorded a show last nite. I believe I can probably figure out how to get to it...but other than that...I am clueless.

But I wasn't as clueless as the guy who installed it as he told me my ten year old remote would "still work with it" as it was "universal". Keep in mind this is my ten year old remote which made a plasticy-tinkly noise when shaken. This exact same remote, which, when I took it up to the cable company after the wedding ceremony...was promptly and ceremoniously tossed in a drawer and replaced by something...most regal.

But prior to this "changing of the remote" , I sat, almost as wooden as the Queen's Guards, when I watched the "Royal Wedding" a few hours earlier -- afraid to click a button lest I push something I couldn't "undo" - all the while in possession of this mismatched remote.

I sat, and literally "played" Playstation 2 with an Atari controller while watching the grandeur on TV...and it made me think...

The last time I played my Atari...about 1981. The last time I watched a "Royal Wedding"...1981.

Time goes by so fast. It's almost like I'm sitting here on a sofa fast-forwarding through my...and others' lives.

I'm still baffled by it all...how so much can change from one generation to another...how fast things (and people) grow and become so outdated...and how fast things are obsolete and don't work anymore in a world you once thought you knew. A world that was once so new. And then you realize that no one should be expected to be content to live life with a wonky remote.

And with anyone's life...just like trying to navigate blindly around with a new DVR and remote, there's just so many combinations of things that can go right...and so many that can go wrong...

...but without pushing a few buttons...you'll never ever know.

(Okay...on a different note...does ANYONE out there know how to work a CLIKR-5 remote? No online instructions...nothing on-screen like a TiVo had. I'm so incredibly lost - I'm pushing buttons at random like on my son's video controller. I'm so lost. Sometimes things work...and other times...nope. And I don't remember the "combination" of things I did...to get it to do it again - or not do it again. I can't find anything online which is remotely (yeah, ha ha) helpful, either.)

25 April 2011


I'm sitting here watching the film "Enchanted" on The Disney Channel and there's this commercial that comes on talking about high school proms. And how people wait four years for it to happen and only three people enjoy it and blah blah (I stopped listening at this point) and then this one girl comes on and says something like, "C'mon...when do you ever get to ride in a limo...that's something you remember your entire life!"

So...I thought about my prom. I didn't go to my prom, per se...but I did go with my boyfriend at the time to his senior prom...when I was a junior.

I sat and I sat and I tried to remember if I rode in a limo or not. For the life of me I can't remember what we rode in...I don't even remember much of the prom. And it's not because I have a bad memory. Seriously, I have bowel movements which have been more memorable. How incredibly sad is that?

I remember who I went with...and I remember (sorta) who I went home with. I didn't go home with the same guy. How even more incredibly sad is that? Boy...I must have been a jerk...perhaps I just blocked the whole sordid thing out of my mind. Who knows. All I know is I went to the prom with one guy...got into an argument with my date...danced with another guy...and came home with him. Did he go to the prom alone? What happened to the guy I went with? Did he go home alone? Did he end up going home with the guy's date? Most people don't buy one ticket to the prom...and now I'm actually wondering.

All I know is that there were no "detours" on the way home. Nothing worthy of any circa 1980s "coming of age" teen movies. Nothing "Porky's-ish". Nothing "Revenge of the Nerds-ish". I've never seen "Pretty In Pink" but I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was nothing like that, either.

But I do remember every single guy thinking he was "going to get lucky" after the prom. Some rode on down to the shore (the very same Jersey shore on the show) and rented hotel rooms. And I always thought "How could anyone's parents be 'okay' with that?" Furthermore, how did that conversation take place?

"Hey, Mom, Kevin asked me to the prom!"

"That's terrific, honey! Have you guys thought of a really good place to go to 'do it' afterwards?"

"What, Mom?"

"You know...it's an unwritten law...you get taken to the prom...you have to 'put out'. (Insert little knowing laugh here.) You didn't know that?? That's how we got YOU!"

"Oh, Mom...that's wayyyyy TMI."

"What's TMI, honey? 'The Mating Instinct'? Because if that's what it is...yeah...your father and I really went at it like 'bunnies in an Animal Planet documentary' when we spent the nite at this seedy little motel in Seaside..."

"Ewwwwwwwwwww...Mom...seriously...wayyyyy TMI!"

"Yeah...that's EXACTLY what I told your father after the THIRD time..."

"MOM! Seriously...that's disgusting. How can I EVER have a good time at the prom NOW?? All I'll be thinking about is...ewwwwwwwwwww...you and DAD! Ewwwwwwwwww!"

"Yeah...okay honey...you just keep remembering that...especially AFTERWARDS." (Insert evil grin here.)

Well...my daughter's not going to the prom this year...but I'm sure I'll "remember" something "really special" to pass along to her to make her enchanted event even more memorable when it rolls around. ;)

14 April 2011

Scaling Literary Heights and Other Fairy Stories

My totally elegant Soehnle scale.

I just weighed myself and I gained weight. I know I did as I have a swanky scale from one of those Norwegian, Swiss, Swedish or other such Norse-type land where they're typically renown for growing beautiful, lithe women whose skin glows with the dewy innocence of one of those ethereal fairies in that "faked fairy photographs" hoax perpetrated by two little English girls. Those sweet little "innocent" girls, along with the "prim and proper" British doctor who snapped the infamous, but equally fabricated, Loch Ness Monster photograph...admitted years afterwards they duped unsuspecting people whose only fault in life was hoping too much for magical, wondrous things.

Whilst innocence lost is a sad, sad thing...weight loss is another thing altogether.

Anyway, my nifty scale lets me know how much I weigh, how much body fat I have, how much water's in my feet (I guess - as that's the only part that goes ON the scale), and how much muscle I have. It does this all in a couple minutes...going to a doctor to ascertain all this would take hours...and then you'd have to wait for the test results they never tell you about unless they were bad...or they forgot...or they said they called but they didn't as you have caller ID and you know damned well they didn't call at all and "just didn't leave a message" because you weren't there to have it delivered personally.

So, I now weigh a whopping 110.8 pounds.

I can hear that collective sigh of contempt mixed with hatred clear across the Internet here. "One-hundred ten pounds??? Are you insane??? I WISH I weighed 110 pounds!"

But, you don't see my plight. Oh, yeah, I have one. Listen...

...I lost about 15 pounds here in the past year. Of course it comes straight off the boobs...but even without that bit of "too much info" - a person who is tiny to start with doesn't have a lot of room to lose weight. When I got down to about 107 I started to worry...when I got down to 105 I started to freak.

When you weigh a bunch, losing a pound or two or five or ten doesn't necessarily cause a sense of panic... I'm sure it's more like a feeling of elation. When you weigh 107 or 105 you wonder "Just how much more weight CAN I lose before I really have to worry about it?"

So, when I stepped on the scale just now and saw I was almost...almost 111...I felt really good.

You see I've never had to exercise. Never had to jazzercise, never had to aerobocise, yogacise or Tae-Bocise. In fact the only "cise" I do where I think I'm any good at...is criticize.

That I do extremely well. And you can lose a lot of weight doing it...especially if you "worrycise" at the same time.

Mostly I'm critical of my own self...but when I, as a wannabe writer, get a whiff of another "writer's" work, especially when I could have possibly done that work and done that work a LOT better (or at least "quite a bit" better) - I go into criticize mode.

Anyone who fancies themselves a writer knows exactly what I mean. You never read a news article as "just a news article" - you read it as a news article with an inordinate amount of grammatical mistakes. You read all comments below these articles and inwardly complain to yourself, "People who really want to be taken seriously should at LEAST know how to SPELL correctly!" You peruse the book aisles in any massive book store and continually balk and roll your eyes and say extremely naughty words under your breath. You can't conceive of anyone actually making money on something you'd have been embarrassed to show your own mother when you were in third grade...but there they all are, as bright as day. Or day to any vampire who could attest to it in any of those 20,092 books they're selling there that has a vampire as a protagonist or an antagonist or a misogynist. All I know -- is the gist of it...is nearly pure crap...as I could surely do better...

...you know, if I actually tried...or knew someone...or lowered my standards enough.

So, after all my criticism is eventually vented out and all is said and done and I finally drift off to la-la-land in my Ambien-induced coma...I'm hoping the only thing I don't lower, other than my perceived high and mighty literary standards...

...is my weight.

And, I do believe in fairies...I do believe...just like I do believe I'll be a real writer one day.

(Thanks again to my friend, Phil, for planting that "cise" seed in my brain and egging me on to write this after listening to me vent...for the umpteen-millionth time.)

03 April 2011

Of Facebook and Other Wonky...er...Wonka Things

Okay, I, against my better judgment and immense personal dislike of it...have succumbed to hanging out a bit on Facebook.

No, I haven't joined any "Mafia Wars" or "Vampire Covens" or whatever they call them. I don't grow virtual vegetables and I don't ask people to give me any sheep.

What I do is type things in my "status" line like "I'm having a chocolate truffle!" or "I wish onion rings grew on trees." - and people reply back.

Oh, sure, I reply back to their nonsensical posts as well...but it passes the time in what is a less than ordinary life...and the mere fact that people will reply back to my doing the laundry or smelling around for that "weird smell in my house I can't find" - makes me happy.

It makes me happy that people also have less than ordinary lives, too...and that we aren't all getting showed with flowers and wined and dined at the most ritzy restaurants. We aren't all jetting off for private showings at the Louvre...and I don't even know if there are such things, but I'll never get one, so I'm not that curious to Google to see if they do indeed...do such things.

But there's one thing which boggles my mind even more than people who are willing to reply back to my mundane antics...and that's the weird stuff that pops up on the right side-bar each time I go there. I copy/pasted a few below (and didn't alter anything)...and commented accordingly, not always according to what people think is correct...but c'mon, you know we're all secretly thinking them if we're totally honest here.

Here goes:

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Rachael Ray likes to eat. She's also a little porky...and her fingers look like sausages about to burst out of their casings...but they're probably tasty, so I'm not faulting her. Rachael could probably lose 18 pounds just by skipping two meals. Oh, c'mon, it's true. Did you ever see the amount of food she puts down her gullet in that show on the Food Channel where she goes eating in restaurants all over the world? She's always saying how cheap these places are...but they're not that cheap if you order one of everything on the menu that's under $10. And those "2 old diet tips" they mention? One is "NOT EATING" and the other is "EXERCISE". There's no other magical way than those other than getting your stomach downsized or being extremely depressed.

Remember that old "Grapefruit Diet" from years ago. Why it worked is because no one can eat more than two grapefruits at any one sitting. No one in recorded history has ever bought more than two at any one time...ever -- that's why there's always a surplus of them at the store. Look around - all the plums and apples are gone and there are three oranges left, but there's like half a truckload of grapefruit all nicely stacked like there are "secret grapefruit fairies" on the ready - replacing one each time one is removed. But there aren't "secret grapefruit fairies" - plus you can't stick more than two in that plastic bag anyway -- and no one's going to expend the energy to walk back over there to grab another baggie in order to buy that third one.

First off...I refuse ever to use the word "groupon". I won't use "staycation" and I won't use "interrobang". If you don't know what an "interrobang" is...good. You shouldn't. There's no earthly reason why anyone should. It's stupid and whoever coined the name should be taken out behind the woodshed, stripped naked, covered with honey and left for the ants to get. But only after their photo is distributed across the Internet with a "WTF?!" caption Photoshopped on it.

Secondly, there aren't 365 things to DO in Montgomery...and if there were I wouldn't want to do them all. I certainly don't want to die here...so at the very most I'd do 364 and stop. I'm not stupid.

And, if I'm not mistaken, I'm pretty sure I saw Rachael Ray eat what that guy's eating in that above photo on one of those shows of hers. She also washed it down with some Portuguese Kale Soup afterwards.

Okay...so they know I'm old because I have my age listed somewhere online - but to assume I just want to meet some "senior" guy is a bit premature on their part, isn't it? I mean maybe I'm a "cougar" - and then again maybe I'm a "cougar who's NOT faithful". Again with the assuming on their part. And then that "...need female attention now" bit sounds a little too much like a horny Veruca Salt from that Willy Wonka movie if you ask me. "I want female attention from an Oompa Loompa, NOW, Daddy!"

Okay, that didn't come out right...but you get the idea.

I think.

Okay, I really have to hurry up and end this blog...so I can post this blog...so I can get back on Facebook to let everyone know. "Everyone" being my 268 friends I've never met...but who are anxiously waiting for me to say something.

I think.