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".

31 December 2012

You Can't Make Great Wine with Sour Grapes aka My Look Back at 2012

You can't make great wine with sour grapes.

Well, maybe you can, I don't know as I'm not an oenophile...but I know one thing's for certain: If you lie on your back long enough "woe-is-me-ing" the day away, not much gets accomplished.

I was going to write a catchy little end-of-year blog...a summation of what I experienced in the past year. I was going to do it really interestingly like my friend, Meleah, did with hers...but as I laid there, on my bed, woe-is-me-ing" away...I realized, "By God! I don't have anything really worthy to say!"

Oh, sure, I participated in Ziva's month-long "30 Days of Photographs" non-contest in April...and I enjoyed he heck outta that one, but, other than that...what could I say?

In September my daughter accomplished being named "National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist". Yep...it's all MY fault right there.

October brought Hurricane Sandy ashore to mess up parts of New York, New England, and my beloved New Jersey. Even with the devastation, I longed to be back there. Geez, I miss Jersey.

Then in July and December I cried a lot - I don't like mass shootings...so shoot me. Yeah, not so funny, anymore, is it?

I also had plans of talking about a wonderful person, a stranger really...who wanted to remain anonymous and be given absolutely no thanks whatsoever. This person showed up out of Internetland...and made my daughter and I cry again...but this time it was with tears of joy and love. I won't go into details as that is what they wished...but what transpired showed me that there truly are wonderful people out there. The only thing this person requested...was that one day...I should do a like kindness. Perhaps not the same kindness...but a kindness...a kindness which I can do in some way. I will, one day, honour that request.

I had all those plans...but there I was, still lying around like a dead carp -- and still thinking about how pathetic my little life was and how I was rather looking forward to the demise of the world, Mayan-style, on the 21st of December. It would have solved a lot of the world's problems, mine included, but then I got some much-needed sense knocked into me.

I started thinking about the ills of mankind throughout the ages...and what "age" I rather would have been born. I thought about this thoroughly. I went through all the countries, too. France, England, the US...and all the others I had some vague historical knowledge about...and thought where I would have been happy...and most importantly, when.

This progressed to visions of political imprisonment -- thrown in and left to rot...just for voicing that you were against...and then, later, were for...Napoleon (or any of a myriad of tyrannical leaders). I thought about the strife of coming over to a new land, kicking people off theirs, and claiming it as your own. I thought of poor little Dickensian orphans, working their fingers to the bone in the dead of Victorian winter like so many Hans Christian Andersen "Little Match Girl" characters.

I thought of so many wars throughout the world...throughout history...and throughout my lifetime. Where would I feel safe? Where could I go? When would I pick? When are things in MY life going to get better?

Then I thought how I probably would have died from Black Plague in the 1600s, succumbed to Tuberculosis in the 1800s, been a statistic in the 1918 pandemic, or just even one of the unremembered thousands upon thousands who died during childbirth. More realistically, I would have been dead at 41 because of my lung...had I had my lung problem prior to the mid-to-late 1900s. And -- I would surely have died living in the brutally cold and hostile environment of the Russian Ural Mountains since I can't even tolerate the temperature in my house getting down to a "frigid" 69.8.

Lastly, I will stop "woe-is-me-ing" (or at least greatly curtail) every single time I read about the fortuitous happenings regarding a viral blog writer, or a blog writer turned book writer, or a book writer turned blog writer, or anything with the word "writer" in it...because it's only my own damned fault I'm not famous because apparently I'm not sticking these things, called words, in the correct order.

Plus, first and foremost...I'm just not sticking to it.

But...I'm going to really try this year...basically because I'm just so tired of swallowing that bitter whine of mine...and there's no better vintage than now to get started.

06 December 2012

Just A Holiday Cat Blog

It's almost Christmas - and that means that some of you will put up a tree. Some of you who put up a tree also have cats. Some of you who put up a tree who also have cats are also uninformed about things, so I'm going to chime in at the risk of sounding like a jerk. I do love cats...so that's why I'm saying it.

Tinsel. Cats are notorious for doing things like going after strings. I've had to yank a yarn piece out of my cat's mouth once that was about two feet long. About a foot and a half of it was way "inside" of my cat. I love the film "While You Were Sleeping" - but I get so mad at the part where Sandra Bullock goes to open her door and drapes the strands of tinsel over her cat's head. Tinsel doesn't "digest" like a natural fiber and can strangle a cat's intestine and doesn't always pass right through the cat and out into their litter box. Please, if you have cats, use something else that isn't so fascinating for a cat.

Dangling ornaments. If you are going to have them, and your cat is prone to knocking them off the tree...please just use string instead of one of those metal hooks to tether them to the tree. Trust me...the cats have a much harder time trying to unloop a string than to bat a hook-type ornament off. Plus, the likelihood that your cat ingests a broken ornament or the hook (and we used to use actual fishing hooks when I was a kid) is greatly decreased.

Tree-toppling. Yes, we've had our tree knocked over because the cats climbed it. Nothing "better" than hearing a crash sound and seeing a cat running. Do what I do. Buy some of that thicker fishing string (again - the fishing motif here) as it is "clear" and unobtrusive...and hook at least two sides of your tree's top to opposite sides of the wall or ceiling (a triangular pattern is best, if at all possible). If the cat climbs up...and it's prone to falling over...it won't. The most it will do is wobble...this works, I've done it every year since the tree-toppling incident. Granted I don't have 12 foot ceilings or anything - but with a regular-sized tree - they haven't gotten it to fall over since.

And, if someone has figured out how to get a cat who loves to pee on the tree skirt...to stop peeing on the tree skirt...especially while all the pretty boxes are under the tree, absorbing the pee...feel free to let me know. I have one cat that apparently thinks the tree skirt is a fancy litter box to use during the holidays.

(I dispensed with mentioning chewing on wires...as we have wires throughout the year -- and chowing down on pointsettias...because your cat would have to eat a whole lot of them and there are many more poisonous plants to worry about than just those.)

04 December 2012

Having a Weight Problem

I have a weight problem. I know, I know...lots of people have weight issues - but every time I mention mine I get this response, "I WISH I had your problem!"

Um...no you don't. I'm all of about 99 pounds now. Sure, when you weigh 250, losing a few pounds is great, but not when you are about 115 to start with. And when you can see all the bones in your body without needing x-rays, it's pretty much hell trying to gain back any weight no matter how hard you try. Trust me.

Over the past year or so - I've lost enough weight to easily slide out of my pants and I can fit into all my stuff I had (pre-marriage days) when I had a job, only now I don't have a job...and dressing to the nines just to post Facebook posts or clean every once in a blue moon, is pretty weird. But...I'm worried about it - and, whenever I worry...I either do one of two things...or maybe three. Okay, four...but no more than four.

1. I Google. It's on WebMD or MayoClinic.com - so it's not like I'm going to BobsDiseaseoftheMonth.com - but, within three clicks, I'm usually dead. I've been placed on "Internet Restriction" by so many doctors...it's actually kind of comical...in a sick, morbid sort of way.

2. I cry. I cry and then I post on Facebook or I call a friend and cry. Tonite I cried after a friend called me. That was nice for a change. The fact that someone called me...not that I was crying again.

3. I call up an on-call doctor or make a doctor's appointment the next day. See above two reasons. This is my justification for doing this.

4. I think "Hey, that would make a great blog idea!" Unfortunately, I don't ever write these things down and by the time I think about them again, six months later, they have lost something in the time span...mostly the initial funny and the interesting bits.

For example, here is a partial bit - it was much funnier about a year ago when I first thought of it...so add in all the stuff you think would have made it funnier and more interesting, as that's the way it was meant to be.

Being obsessed with weight has been an issue for millennia. It wasn't just those Roman vomitoriums I'm talking about, either.

You have your fairy tales...like the one where Snow White or Sleeping Beauty falls asleep for 100 years...or at least long enough to drop those 50 extra pounds she had before she was "thin enough" in that vain Prince's eyes for him to finally want to kiss her.

Then there's "The Princess and the Pea". Face it, only a bony chick would feel a tiny lump under 20+ mattresses. And only a really skinny chick could have scampered up all those mattresses to start with...especially since they probably made ladders back then out of twigs and vines.

And then there are Greek myths. Now, I love Greek myths - but the Greeks were obsessed with beauty to start with, after all, they did give us Narcissus, who (undoubtedly) basically starved to death after falling in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.

Oh...they don't tell you the "starved to death" fixation...but I am certain it was a running issue with the Greeks back then.

Take Icarus and Daedalus -- no one (in their right mind) who weighs 300 pounds would envision thinking they could make some wings out of a bunch of feathers and wax and actually fly to the sun. Only a person starving to death has thoughts like that. That's probably the last thing you think of before dying of starvation...or dying, period: going toward the light. Well, in this case, that light was the sun...and Icarus, being delusional from not eating for weeks on end...figured he was light enough to fly up to the sun. Sorry...no one's that thin...and, yes, you CAN be too thin -- so much for that myth.

Then, to round out my point, there's poor Persephone. Persephone was kidnapped and taken to the Underworld by Hades...but, she didn't want anything to do with him...and her mom, who just happened to be the goddess of the harvest, pined away until Zeus finally fessed up that Hades had her. (Zeus was a jerk and liked to screw with people, by the way.) Somewhere in the bargain Persephone is given a pomegranate to eat, and unbeknownst to her, the number of seeds she eats is the number of months she has to live in the Underworld. Let's just say everyone was lucky she could only kick back a few seeds.

Do you have any idea how fattening a pomegranate seed is? No one does. It's like negative calories...like celery. It takes more work to eat it - you expend calories just trying to eat the edible bits. She must have weighed all of 99 pounds...and was probably in her own personal hell just like I am...

...but in more "weighs" than one.

02 December 2012

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Well, all this month I am challenging myself to start writing again by attempting to do a blog every other day. Yes, I've seen people do that "blog a day" thing - but I don't like being a sheep...so I decided "every other day" would be much, much, much more original.

I must admit that I used to have some belief in myself that I could write a book...but upon going to Barnes & Noble the other day, I have decided I have no chance in hell as everyone has a series and no one writes just one book at a time anymore. You have to have a set - and they have to be all about sex and clowns and vampires and horror...and basically, I've had the life sucked out of me by a clown I used to have sex with and I don't want to relive that horror by writing about it over and over again.

So, here goes my feeble attempt at writing again. Bear with me...I might take a few tries to get back in my stride, that is, if I ever had one.

(Some of the blogs this month were thought of quite a while ago...but I thought I would write them anyway.)

The Times They Are A-Changin'

So, I laid in bed again until the sun was set. This is nothing new as I'm not a morning person...which baffles most people altho I haven't a clue why. I can totally understand someone going to bed at 8:00 and waking up at 4:00 regardless of the a.m. or p.m. factor.

The only problem I have with it is that other people like to phone me up whilst I'm in my Ambien coma...and then they expect me to carry on a normal conversation which they expect me to remember later. I pretty much answer the phone with a disclaimer, "Hello...uh...since I'm Ambien right now, could you possibly call back later so I can have some idea of who you are or what we just said...or just leave a message on my answering machine?"

But, most times they won't understand, and they keep on talking altho it is clear to anyone listening to me...that I am not listening to them. Now I know I am prone to droning on and on and rambling - but usually not rambling incoherently like I do when I take my Ambien. Then, when I call them later (usually doctor's offices) they act like I should remember my conversation - but they are well aware of what Ambien does to a person...and I find that disconcerting as I am entrusting these people with the welfare of my health.

Anyway...I do digress...

...another problem with waking up much later than everyone else has to do with the time change. Why they still flip-flop the clocks back and forth is beyond me. Supposedly it was because of farmers and the daylight and their sheep being startled when the sun set earlier (like who hasn't used that excuse with the sheep...am I right Scotland?)...or something dealing with their crops and plowing.

But, as I get no sunshine in my body because I see no sunshine...I am left probably feeling like I do because of a huge lack of Vitamin D in my body. Truth be told I could easily be a vampire if it wasn't for that whole biting the neck and drinking blood bit...not because I dislike the taste of blood - I find it kinda tasty, at least my own...but I would be all germaphobic and would have to wait until the tests came back and by that time my victim would be long gone and I'd be toast as the only time the doctors ever call back is during the daytime.

But...honestly, why do they need to switch the clocks around anymore? They've found (the same "they" as always - "they" know stuff we don't) that losing that hour makes people more prone to health issues, causes more traffic accidents, and makes everyone pretty unbearable for half the year. And just when everyone is getting back to normal...they switch it again and everyone is off kilter again.

The strange thing is that not everyone observes it...and you could be working in a place up the road that doesn't...and just think how incredibly annoying that would be half the year. Also, why does Alaska even use it? Isn't it dark half the year there anyway? How would they even know what time it was by looking outside? Why would they care? They could shave off three hours and no one would be the wiser...and it's not like they are plowing a whole hell of a lot of crops in Alaska with the no hours of daylight...unless they are a big mushroom producer (because mushrooms grow in the dark), which they aren't...and I know this because "they" have told me that Pennsylvania is the mushroom capital of the US.

Heaven help me...I know trivia about mushroom production...and with that, seriously, I need to catch up on some sleep. That was sleep, not sheep...so don't you all try to blame it on the Ambien as we are on MY time now and I know what I'm saying even if you don't remember what I've said.