Saturday, August 30, 2008

Little Johnny loves to Wordzzle

We had a great night last night. Went to the circus and had an absolute blast. I'll probably do a post about it tomorrow, but for today it's time for a couple of Wordzzles.

Most of you already know the routine, but if you're new, here's the shtick. Raven gives us an assortment of words each week and we come up with a paragraph or short story using all of them. Here's what we had to work with this week.

Ten Word Challenge: pogo stick, ant farm, psychic, tin box, wall safe, Waterloo, surge protector, pneumonia, ravages of time, turtle

And for the Mini Challenge: Swollen ankles, opera singer, toothy grin, oil paints, potter’s wheel

~~~ The Ten Word ~~~

It didn't exactly take a psychic to know
what was about to happen. The ravages of time had reared its ugly head and although it had only been two weeks, to a house bound little boy of six years recovering from pneumonia, it felt as if it were a lifetime. Boredom had taken over long ago and little Johnny decided it was time to get creative. He'd long since grown tired of his pet turtle Manchester, and even the tin box full of his prized collection of army men no longer kept his interest. What he really wanted to do was to go outside and bounce on his pogo stick, but his mother wasn't about to allow that just yet.

Then it came to him, looking high up on the wall, safe from his reach, so his mother thought, was the ant farm he'd been instructed not to touch. This was just the type of challenge little Johnny was looking for, and with a couple of strategically placed pieces of furniture, it was in his grasp. "Next", he thought, "I need an energy source." Then it came to him, reaching behind his desk, he pulled out a surge protector and placed the little plastic home of about a hundred and fifty live ants on top of it. Now the only thing left to find would be his Waterloo brand "Super Soaker Squirt Gun", but where the heck had he put it?

Desperately he searched every nook and cranny of his cluttered room until, "PING!" the light bulb went on. Suddenly he realized the critical missing component to his "energize the ants" plan was outside, across the yard, in the shed. Tiptoeing down the stairs, Johnny tried to be as stealthy as possible. He'd nearly made it to his goal when he heard footsteps coming up behind him, and then the voice of his mother stating more than asking, "I hope you're not going after that pogo stick again young man."

Without thinking he replied, "No mom, I need my squirt gun so I can make my ants dance!"

As soon as the words left his lips he knew he'd been caught!

~~~ The Mini ~~~

Who'd ever heard of an opera singer with swollen ankles and a toothy grin? Well that's exactly what Herman created with oil paints at his eclectic little art studio, "The Potters Wheel".

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Plop, Plop - Fizz, Fizz

If any of you ever make it out this way (Portland, Oregon) and you have young kids with you, a great place to spend the day is at OMSI, which stands for "Oregon Museum of Science and Industry". We purchased a family membership to it at the beginning of summer, and man-oh-man has that ever been a great deal. For a little more than what it would have cost to go a single time, we are able to go as many times as we like for a whole year. So far I think we've gone at least six times and perhaps a few more than that. Lots of hands on experiments to do and plenty of fun things to occupy the mind with.

Last week we went to go see a planetarium show and as we were waiting for the next one to start, we looked outside and caught a glimpse of a guy setting up what I instantly recognized as the "Mentos meets Soda" experiment. Anthony had never herd of doing that before and Lisa, although knowing about it, had never seen it done in person.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, I''ll give you the quick version. Mentos are a candy of sorts. In my humble opinion they taste kind of like chalk dust mixed with peppermint and then compressed into a gacky tasting tablet. I truly think the following experiment is all they're good for, but I digress...back to the story. Take a large plastic soda bottle (high acid content) then drop in about a half a dozen Mentos (High carbon dioxide content) then run like hell!

The photos below will give you a pretty good visual of what to expect.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Portrait of Words - The Kick Off

Thank you all for casting your votes in the recent poll determining the name of this new writing challenge. As I'm sure you can ascertain from the title of this post, "Portrait of Words" gathered the majority of the votes, eking out "The Writers Block" by a single vote. Your input, both on the name, and the structure of this challenge have been greatly appreciated. At this point I think I have a pretty solid set of guidelines to kick this thing off with and now I'm looking forward to seeing what you all come with for stories. There may be some minor tweaks to it along the way, so if you come up with any suggestions to improve on it, by all means, let me know.

I used the phrase "new writing challenge" above and that of course is a relative term, because if any of you participated in R.E.H.'s "Picture Fiction Challenge", then you know this is more of an adaptation of that one rather than something completely new. Well... I made the executive decision that since over two months have gone by without a new post from him or even a comment, that he has decided to forgo carrying on this "responsibility" or even his blog in general for that matter. I do sincerely miss the guy and truly hope he's alright, but at the same time, I also miss this writing challenge. Obviously I can't bring him back to blogging, but I can start, or at least re-start, this exercise again.

I've made some modifications to the original format, i.e. new name, graphics and slightly different categories, but the general premise of it is the same. In a nut shell here's how it works. Each Month I'll give you set of photographs with five different categories to use them in. The challenge is for you to create a story using the pictures as inspiration. It's really that simple.

The most important thing to remember is this; it's supposed to be a fun experience for everyone, and viewed simply as a writing exercise designed to stimulate creativity and camaraderie between fellow bloggers.

Listed below are more specific details of how it all works, complete with the first series of pictures to get us started. Even if you decide not to participate in the story writing, I hope you'll enjoy reading them and leave the authors constructive comments. These comments are a tremendous source of encouragement to the writers and are also a way for you to express feedback in a positive way.


The Categories:

Main Character(s): Your story can be told through or about this person(s), i.e. first or third person. Either way you go, their involvement in the story should be a focal point. Have as many or as few additional characters as you wish, but at least one of the ones pictured should be central to the overall story.

Backdrop: This will create the setting for your story. It can take place at the location depicted, be a destination to it, or be a journey from it.

Purpose: This is what drives or motivates the main character(s) to action. It can also be viewed as the objective of the story.

Item(s): The object(s) should have a significant value to the main character, backdrop or purpose of the story.

Wild Card: Writers choice here. Choose one of the three options to use in your story anyway you see fit.


General Guidelines:

Your story can be of any length or style. Long or short, comedy or tragedy, fact or fiction, etc,etc... it's up to you.

Use each of the picture representations in your story. (one from the wild card options)

Whether you're a seasoned writer or just beginning, everyone is invited to join in!



This month's stories should be posted between Sept 15-17. (FYI - It will be the first Mon-Wed nearest the 15th of each month) Knowing we all have busy schedules, this three day "posting window" should give everyone a chance to submit their story without feeling like they've missed the only day it's due.

I will post the pictures for the following month's challenge on the Friday after we submit our stories. This will give us approximately three to four weeks to create our next story.

Read the other participants stories only after you've posted your own, and please remember to leave them comments about their writing.

Sign in on Mr Linkey so others can find and read your story. (I will have this at the bottom of my story post each month)


This month's challenge:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Portrait of Words - Writing Guidelines

Welcome to my monthly writing challenge known as a "Portrait of Words".

In a nut shell here's how it works. Each Month I'll give you a set of categories along with photographs to use as inspiration for your story. Look at each of the pictures and interpret them, then create a story based on what you see and feel. It's really that simple. Listed below are more specific details to help guide you through the process.

The most important thing to remember is this: It's supposed to be a fun experience for everyone, and viewed simply as a writing exercise designed to stimulate creativity and camaraderie between fellow bloggers. In other words, don't get too bogged down with the rules. Use them as guidelines to help you, not to confine you.


The Categories:

Main Character(s): Your story can be told through or about this person(s), i.e. first or third person. Either way you go, their involvement in the story should be a focal point. Have as many or as few additional characters as you wish, but at least one of the ones pictured should be central to the overall story.

Backdrop: This will create the setting for your story. It can take place at the location depicted, be a destination to it, or be a journey from it.

Purpose: This is what drives or motivates the main character(s) to action. It can also be viewed as the objective of the story. (EDIT - this category has been removed this month - February)

Item(s): The object(s) should have a significant value to the main character, backdrop or purpose of the story.

Wild Card: Writers choice here. Choose *one* of the three options to use in your story anyway you see fit.


General Guidelines:

Your story can be of any length or style. Long or short, comedy or tragedy, fact or fiction, etc,etc... it's up to you.

Use each of the picture representations from the Main Character, Backdrop, Purpose and Item categories in your story. Use only one from the wild card options.

Whether you're a seasoned writer or just beginning, everyone is invited to join in!


See the current month's challenge for the specific posting due dates. (It will be between Mon-Wed closest to the 15th of each month.) Knowing we all have busy schedules, this three day "posting window" should give everyone a chance to submit their story without feeling like they've missed the only day it's due.

I will post the pictures for the following month's challenge on the Friday after we submit our stories. This will give us approximately three to four weeks to create our next story.

Read the other participants stories only after you've posted your own, and please remember to leave them comments about their writing.

Sign in on Mr Linky so others can find and read your story. I will have a link box at the bottom of my story post each month.


I'll look forward to reading your story!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

You're getting Worrrrdzle...very, very Worrrrdzle

Yep, it's Saturday. Yep, it's time for another Wordzzle. For all the details of how it works and to see who else is writing, please visit Raven. The short version is this. Take these lists of random words and create a story from them. Always fun and always challenging.

This week we have:

Ten Word Challenge: tiramisu, transfixed, evacuation, Queen of the Nile, pillowcase, grammatical, voice inflection, pacified, micro climate, swami

And for the Mini Challenge: maggots, thermal pocket, industrial, bovine, feminized

My ten word is a bit lengthy this week, so I opted to not do a mega. I think it probably qualifies for one anyway.


The Mini

The "Thermal Pocket" was a seedy little pool hall situated in one of the worst parts of this industrialized town, and the maggots that frequented it tended to be more bovine in nature than human. Still, that wasn't going to stop the "Queens Delight" motorcycle gang from bringing they're own brand of feminized brotherhood to it and making it their new hang out.


The Ten Word

The banner above the doorway of the large tent read, "Come inside and be tranzfixed by the hypnotic powers of the great Swami Rashneesh Syram and his lovely assistant Lady Abigail, Queen of the Nile."

After ten minutes or so of pleading from her children and a, "Ya never know honey, it could be entertaining!" from her husband, Darleen decided to give up and step inside. Whispering to her husband, she said, "I wouldn't expect much from this. Did you see that ridiculous grammatical error on their sign? I mean, who spells transfixed with a "z" anyway?"

Darleen had always been skeptical of hypnotists, and now their little word gaffe only seemed to put an exclamation point to her argument. "You know that these traveling fair and circus type of shows are all just smoke and mirrors don't you?" she continued.

Her husband looked at her and replied, "Tell you what dear, I've got a little proposition for you. When they ask for a volunteer from the audience, raise your hand. If you're selected, you can then prove once and for all whether they're for real or not."

"You're on!" she exclaimed, "but you know darn good and well that they're not going to pick me. Everyone knows they have people planted in the crowd to act out the part they want portrayed." Still, she figured, this would pacify her husband, at least for now anyway.

About ten minutes into the show the inevitable "May I have three volunteers from the audience please" came. Nearly twenty hands simultaneously went up, one of which belonged to Darleen. To her complete and utter amazement, she was one of the ones chosen! With a look of "You've got to be kidding me!" she made her way through the crowd and up onto the stage, taking a seat on one of the stools provided.

After all the participants had been seated and introduced, Lady Abigail reached into what appeared to be nothing more than a cheaply decorated pillowcase. What she pulled out of it however, was far more impressive. Dangling from a brilliant silver chain was the most exquisite deep blue gemstone any of the people in the room had ever seen. Slowly, she began swinging the precisely cut sapphire in front of the three nervous volunteers. In a deep and melodic voice, the swami gently instructed each of them to gaze deeply into the object before them. His tone seemed to sooth their ears and with every word they found themselves becoming increasingly relaxed. His voice inflection changed slightly as he eased out of the familiar English and began speaking in his native southern Indian dialect. Although this audible change was obvious to those seated in the audience, it only seemed to draw the three on stage to a more hypnotic state.

"I'll be damned!" Darleen's husband found himself mumbling, "Look at your mother. She's actually falling into a trance!"

A moment later all three of them were completely under. The swami approached the woman seated to the left and instructed her that she was a chicken trapped in a cage. When he said the word, "EVACUATION" she would immediately begin to flap her wings and try to escape. Moving to the center, he explained to the gentleman seated in front of him, that he was a lizard stuck out in the cold snow. When he said the words, "MICRO CLIMATE" he was to start looking for a nice sunny place to warm himself. Stepping to the right, the swami was now standing in front of Darleen. Sitting on the edge of their seats, her husband and kids couldn't wait to see what he had in store for her. He announced that she was to take on the persona of the famous chef Julia Child. When she heard him say, "TIRAMISU" she would begin preparing a chicken and lizard stew.

One by one the swami called out the various key words and the antics on the stage ensued. The "chicken" began clucking, flapping her wings and scratching for worms. The "lizard" dropped to the ground and began crawling on his belly towards the glow of the spotlight shinning down, all the while licking at the air and bobbing his head in typical reptilian fashion. Darleen, aka "Julia", instantly started speaking in the unmistakable voice of her new character. Then, looking to either side, she realized that her two main ingredients were crawling and flapping around the stage with her. Now the chase was on!

Near pandemonium broke out, both on and off stage, with the audience practically falling out of their chairs in uncontrollable spasms of laughter. With tears streaming down his cheeks, Darleen's husband was undoubtedly the most audible in the room.

Just before things got completely out of hand, the swami clapped his hands twice and exclaimed, "Shala!" the chicken, the lizard and the blood thirsty chef froze in their tracks. One at a time, he brought them back out of the trance they were in, and one by one they awoke to applause, coupled with a few remaining giggles and snorts.


And now for the "Shameless Plug" portion of the post.

Don't forget to cast your vote for the name of the new writing challenge coming up this Monday. (Details on the previous post.) Please scroll down for the particulars and use the "ballot" on the side bar at the top of the page for voting.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A New Writing Challenge

Some of you I know, used to participate in a writing challenge known as "Picture Fiction Challenge", presented by R.E.H. of Ramblings of a Madman. Whether you did, or were just a reader of his site, then you know he has been MIA for a couple of months now. His last post said, "I'm OK, see you in a day, a week or a month..." Now, two+ months later, still no word. Hopefully he is fine and has just decided to take an extended break from posting. That's one of the unfortunate parts of blogging. When someone decides to suddenly stop writing, we're left wondering what happened. It's not like we can just pick-up a phone and call or drop by the house for a visit.

Well, aside from missing the guy and his writing, I also miss the monthly writing challenge he hosted. So, I've decided to sort of resurrect it here. It'll follow roughly the same format as before, but with a few modifications so that I (and hopefully you) don't think it's a complete rip off from what he created.

The first thing to do is come up with a name for it. This is the part of the post known as audience participation. I jotted down five possible titles and would like your opinion. With a little luck, I'll have a poll up on my sidebar that you can cast your vote on. Along with the names I came up with I'll have "other" as an a option too. Feel free click on that button if none of the ones listed sound appealing and to offer up any suggestions in the comment section. After the votes have been cast and tallied, I'll go with the majority. If you're from the States, just consider this practice for November.

In case the poll thingy doesn't happen, or you're too damn lazy to look for it, here are the names I came up with:

The Writers Block
Composed Image
Snapshot Stories
Word Collage
Portrait of Words

I'll also come up with a flashy little icon that we can use on our story posts. If you're feeling creative and want to submit an idea, by all means go for it. Just don't cry in your beer if it doesn't get selected.

Now, onto the particulars of the challenge.

I will select a photograph (most likely from Flickr) in each of five different categories for you to use. Your challenge is to look at the pictures and interpret them as you see fit. Use them as inspiration to create your own story.

Here are the categories:

Main Character(s): Your story can be told through or about this person(s), either way, their involvement in the story should be a focal point. Have as many or as few characters as you wish, but the one(s) in this picture should be central to the overall story.

Backdrop: This will create the setting for your story. It can take place at the location depicted, be a destination to it, or be a journey from it.

Purpose: This is the objective of the main character and is what motivates this person(s) to action.

Object: This item(s) should add significant value to the story

Wild Card: Writers choice here. Choose one of the three pictures listed to use in your story.

By creating the wild card category, I'm hoping it will create an interesting twist to the stories. We will each be working from the same pics in the first four, but this one will be subjective to each author.

General Guidelines:

Use each of the picture representations in your story. (one from the wild card)

Your story can be of any length, long or short, it's up to you.

Works of fiction or ones based on fact are equally welcomed.

Most importantly, have fun with this. It should be viewed simply as a writing exercise designed to stimulate creativity, not as a means of creating stress in you. Whether you're a seasoned writer or just beginning, everyone is invited to join in.


The stories should be posted between Monday and Wednesday the closest to the 15th of each month. (I'll specify each month) This three day "posting window" will give everyone a chance to submit their story without feeling like they missed the one day it is due.

I will post the pictures for the following month's challenge on the Friday after we submit our stories. This will give us approximately four weeks to create our next story.

Read the other participants stories only after you've posted your own, and leave them comments.

Sign in on Mr Linky so others can read your story. (That means I have to figure out how to use this feature)


There you have it. At least that's how I see it coming together. I'd really appreciate any feedback your willing to give on making this a fun and interesting challenge to participate in.

I'll give this until Sunday morning to let you all have an opportunity to offer up suggestions, and then on Monday the 25th, I'll post the final version along with the first set of pictures. Ya I know, already breaking the rule of posting on Friday for the following month. Just didn't want another month to go by before we kick this off.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Berry Good

For the past few days here in the Pacific northwest it has been in the high 90's to low 100's with about 300% humidity (no that's not a typo, it just felt that way). Kind of that nasty sticky hot where you dread having to do much in the way of outdoor activity. Today though has marked quite a swing. It only managed to get up to sixty-eight degrees with what do you think? That's right, we've never seen that stuff around here before. Oh well, I guess I wouldn't be a true American if I didn't complain about the weather.

One good thing did come from our recent "heat wave". The blackberries behind my house have started to ripen. This is one of the treats of summer I really enjoy; going twenty feet outside my door and having an endless supply of berries to munch...yummmmm!!

I've loved eating blackberries in a cobbler, over ice cream or "au naturalle" ever since I can remember. In fact, some of my very fond memories are from when my grandmother (Psycho Mom's mother) and I would break out the metal canoe and traverse the irrigation canals through the rice fields at the duck hunting club where she and grandpa lived. We'd pile into the canoe and tool up and down the waterways scooping up handfuls of the luscious fruit as we went. The stalks would arch high above the earthen banks until the weight of the berries would cause the tips of them to pull back towards the water making it quite literally, "easy pickings".

It's funny, I'm sure it was ridiculously hot while we were out there, but I honestly don't recall that part of it. I just remember feeling like we were great adventurers out on a quest to retrieve the golden prize, and in a way perhaps we really were, because the prize that we found, at least for me, has been a cherished memory for some thirty-five or so years.

The sense of smell, and to a lessor degree taste, are two things that can bring back a flood of memories. For me, when I walk out into my back yard in mid August after a spell of warm weather, the smell of ripe berries wafting through the breeze takes me back to a simpler time, back to the Tulle Goose Duck Club. Then, as I pop that first berry into my mouth, I'm whisked back to the living room of grandma and grandpa's house where I can once again taste a warm blackberry cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of it.


These pictures are from my place. In this first one you might notice the nice clearing before the "hedge" of berry bushes. When we moved in, these came almost up to our back fence. After several battles with them over the years, I've managed to keep them at bay nearly sixty feet from the yard.

In this one if you replaced the grass with an irrigation canal full of water, you'd have a feel for what grandma and I would have seen from our canoe.

Ahaaaa...the prize!

This was dessert last night.


Well, tonight's post has been put on hold do to the fact that blogger will not upload any of the pictures I've given it.

So now I got nothing.

Must be Monday.

**Edit...As you can see from the post above, Blogger decided to co-operate finally**

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wordzzle #26

Time for another round of Wordzzle fun. Please go by and visit Raven for all the details.

I skipped the mega this week. I was having a heck of a time making anything legible out of the word combinations. I did manage to put together the mini and the ten word, both with a bit of sinister undertones. That's not typically my writing style, but hey isn't that part of what these exercises are for? - experiment and have fun right? Well good, bad or ugly, here are my offerings for this week.
Ten Word Challenge: exponentially, Nightshade, braces, impossibility, the beginning of time, barracuda, playful banter, delve, automatic, bewildered

And for the Mini Challenge: fragment, hemoglobin, insipid, flourish, juxtapose


The Ten Word

The leader of the not so infamous Nightshade gang, Darth Mater, found it a near impossibility for people to take him serious when his teeth were clad in those shinny braces. Ever since the beginning of time, or at least the begging of his time, he'd wanted to be revered with fear, but was finding it exceptionally difficult to accomplish when every one's automatic reaction to seeing his braces-puffed lips was, "He looks like a barracuda!"

Still he delved deeper and deeper into the dark arts, somewhat bewildered that they thought their not so playful banter would go unchecked. He had already formulated his plan, and when they least expected it, they would all pay for their sneers and jabs.


The Mini-

Bryant's words were spilling out in fragments. Inside his head he knew exactly what he wanted to say, but the state of his condition had taken its toll, making speech nearly impossible. The microbes in his hemoglobin were flourishing and multiplying at an alarming rate. He looked up at Roger with pleading in his eyes as he tried to formulate the words that would save his life. Try as he might though, they just could not leave his lips. His colleague looked down at him and said with an insipid tone, "Quite the juxtaposition, eh Bryant? The spores that you developed are now surging through you own veins."

The last sentence confirmed his suspicions. He knew it was only a matter of time now before he would die a slow and agonizing death, and his lab partner who'd warned him of the terrible consequences of developing such a disease was now the one exacting his revenge.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jeff Needs:

I was tagged by Mimi, the Queen of meme's about a week or two ago and figured I'd better get around to it before it completely slipped my mind. (That's not hard to do BTW) It's a pretty simple one (the meme, not my mind....ok, that too, but I digress), but offers some entertaining results. All you have to do is Google your first name with the word "needs" after it and list the results. I told you it was simple. Here are the first fifteen that came up along with my commentary.

Jeff Needs: fix my cocker
(well this is an auspicious beginning. I'm pretty sure the answer to this one is, "No I don't!") dance
(I think they have me confused with Travis)

3...a tan
(Hello! I live in Oregon. Everyone around here needs a tan) stay away from high profile
(Note to self, "Must lay low!")

5...a nap
(Truer words could not be spoken) food
(feed the fish to the cat...problem solved)
(don't we all?)

8...a counselor
(oh yah, for so many reasons...ha!)

9...a job
(I'd actually prefer to win the lottery.) mellow out

11...a vacation
(I agree 100%) get laid
(You don't think I'm going to argue with this one do you?) introduction
(I do like to make a big entrance)

14...some additional sponsorship
(OK, please send your contributions in now) hang them up after this debacle
(I didn't realize I was in politics)

I don't do the tagging thing, but you are obviously free to give it a go if you like.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Olympic Sports

Before I get to the Olympics, there's one more bit of blogging business to take care of. Yah I know, you thought I did all of that yesterday. So did I, but apparently I'm having a pre-senior moment. I completely spaced the fact that Mary, aka Crystalchick, is celebrating her first Blogiversary! On top of that, she's doing a little give away at her place, so there ya go, two great reasons to go by and say hello. Happy 1st Mary.


The past few nights, the boys and I have been taking in an hour or two of the Olympics each evening. They've never been real big on watching much in the way of sports on TV, but for some reason, the games have really caught their attention. It's been fun watching them cheer on the US teams as they go for the gold. Kind of reminded me of my youth too. Guess there's just something magical about watching the whole world come together and compete through sports instead of wars.

At one point, Lisa looked over at me while I was sitting there snickering. She immediately said, "Dear Lord, now what?" She knows when the yellow note pad is out, the pen starts flying and I've got that twinkle in my eye, that there's trouble on the way. Yep, she knows me too well.

I told her I was just thinking about how the games might look by just modifying the name of the events slightly. The following is a short list of what I came up with:

1. Pole Dancer Vaulting-
Loud music will be pumped through the PA system while exorbitantly priced drinks are served to the spectators. The one who can throw the fake breasted hussy the farthest out of the ring wins the gold.

2. Basket Case Ball-
Patients from worldwide sanitariums will be placed in a round room and be asked to put the orange striped ball into the corner.

3. Butch Volleyball-
Women's only event. Competitors will be required to abandon the typical bikini and play in jeans and a rolled-up flannel shirt. The cutsie pony tail will no longer be allowed. The only acceptable hair style will be the mullet or the flat top. Any athlete weighing in at less than 275 lbs will be automatically disqualified.

4. Men's Gymnastys-
Events to include: Burping, Farting and Ball Scratching

5. Breast Stroke-
Come on, do I need to say more?

6. Overweight Lifting-
This will be the final game of the year. From the opening ceremonies through all the other events, the participants of this table sport will eat a steady diet of doughnuts, chicken fried steak and Mountain Dew. The first one to raise to a standing position wins the gold.

7. Synchronized Spitting-
Sub categories to include: Long Distance Lugies, Lung Butter Doubles and the 10 meter Hock.

As is the custom with the games, a completely new event is added each year. For the 2010 Winter Games I propose:

8. Distracted Driving-
Competitors will be placed in an over sized SUV with three screaming children and a large dog loose in the passenger seat. They will be asked to make a trip through town while navigating the open road during the morning rush hour. All of this must be done in less than ten minutes knowing perfectly well that it would normally take fifteen to do it safely.

The athletes can try to enhance their overall score by adding the following "Degree of Difficulty" factors:

A) Unwrapping and eating a fast food combo meal
B) Dialing and talking on a cell phone
C) Reading the morning paper, a map book, or any other item other than the street signs outside of the vehicle
D) Text messaging
E) Putting on the last of the make-up

A score of more than 10 may be possible in this event by combining two or more of the difficulty factors.

Feel free to add any suggestions in the comment section.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Taking Care of Business

No, this won't be a rendition of the classic BTO song with the same title. Wait, did I just call that song a classic? Oi Veh. Wait, did I just type with a Jewish accent? Alright enough already, let's see, what was I going to say here? Oh ya.....

There's a new blogger among us. A neighbor and friend of mine has recently started writing a blog and I thought I'd take a moment to introduce you to her site. She currently has a children's book in the hands of a potential publisher, so she's in that realm known as, "The waiting game." I wish her well in her endeavors and commend her at the same time for stepping into that arena.

If any of you have been in that position, I'm sure you're aware of how much your emotions are exposed. Excited about the potential of being a published author and apprehensive about the inevitable, "Thank you for submitting your story, but we're not _____ at this time" letters.

Anyway, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that her story will make it into the hands of a publisher who absolutely falls in love with it. She's a real sweetheart and I'm sure an encouraging word from any of you who have the time to visit her site would be a boost. Here's a quick link to her place, Cross Your T's.

In other blog related "business" I was recently bestowed with a couple of awards. One of them I quietly slipped onto my sidebar and the other I will be placing there just ahead of posting this. Figured it was only proper that I take the time to acknowledge the two ladies who took the time to include me in their generosity. As is the custom with these things I am to pass them along to others, but as you may know, my custom is to simply say thank you and let it go at that.

The first is Sandi of Holding Patterns. I believe the hearts in the open hands as depicted in the award paint a fitting picture of Sandi. The open hands reflecting her own openness in sharing her emotions as life hands out its ups and downs to her. The hearts a reflection of her big heart, especially when it comes to her four legged fuzzy "kids", one of which she unfortunately had to say goodbye to after nineteen years of companionship. Her blogging buddy Arial, the cute little black cat that kept a place at her right hand and in her heart is now chasing mice in the great beyond.

Thank you Sandi!

The other is Kimmie of Pretty Amazing Grace. Now her award says brilliant on it, and I must admit, that's a far cry from what I'd label this humble little site, but nonetheless I will gladly accept it just the same. From her creative story telling to the kind words she shares to her stinging sense of humor at times, it's been a pleasure getting to know her. She recently renewed, revamped, recreated (or whatever you want to call it) her blog, so if you haven't gone by for a look "What the heck are you waiting for"?

Thank you Kimmie!

OK, I think that wraps up this addition of business for now. There is of course, still the meme that Mimi has tagged me with and I should probably get around to that one of these fine feathered days or the dungeon will be my new digs. Well let's hope the Queen is not too time sensitive and will let me breath fresh clean air for a bit longer until I get to it.

I have a list started that should be ready to unveil soon, of new Olympic sports I'd like to see. I'm sure you'll all be on pins and needles now, patiently awaiting it, so I'll hurry up and get it posted asap. In the mean time, get off of those things. They're sharp and pointy and will likely leave a mark!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake!

Sometimes a post will just writes itself. Today is one of those times.

I went to visit my mom today and there on her kitchen counter sat a tasty culinary treat. When she told me what the recipe was, I thought to myself, self, you've got to be kidding me, there is no way on earth this could possible produce anything remotely edible. I freely and openly admit I was 100% wrong! There, I said it and you read it. (Just for the record, that's the first time I've ever been wrong) ...stop laughing! really, stop!

While enjoying a piece of the cake she had made she proceeded to tell me the story of how she went about making it and how her version was, shall I say, slightly different than the original recipe. Personally, I think it's probably better the way she made it.

So without further a do, I will share with you the email written by my mom, that awaited my arrival at home this afternoon.


1 Large can crushed pineapple
1 Can cherry pie filling
1 Yellow cake mix
1 1/2 Cube butter
3/4 Cup chopped walnuts


Pour can of pineapple (including juice) into a 9x13 baking dish, spreading evenly over the bottom of the dish.
Spread can of cherry pie filling over the pineapple.
Pour box of cake mix (dry) over the fruit mixture.
Slice butter and add slices evenly over the cake mix until most all the mix is covered.
Top with chopped nuts.
Bake at 350 degrees about an hour -- until the top is brown and bubbly.
Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top.



Same ingredients as above, except:

At home, realizing that you are 15 miles from the nearest grocery store, when opening the can of pineapple, look with shock at the contents and see that you bought pineapple tidbits, instead of crushed pineapple. Toss the wrong kind of pineapple in the food processor, whir it 'till you think it has the consistency of crushed pineapple. Dump it into the baking dish, look at it and think to yourself, "Yuk, I whirred a bit too long and this looks like throw-up."

Quickly, before anyone notices, open the can of cherry pie filling so you can cover up the throw-up looking pineapple. Realize that you didn't read the recipe very carefully and you bought a can of cherries, not a can of cherry pie filling. Notice that about half the can is filled with cherries while the other half is juice. Figure, "what the hell, that dry cake mix is going to need some moisture," so include about half the cherry juice as you spread the cherries over the pineapple.

Open the box of cake mix and spread it semi-evenly over the nasty looking fruit, just do whatever you need to do to hide it.

Slice the butter and place the slices over the dry cake mix, pretty much covering the whole mess.

Look in the freezer for the walnuts you ALWAYS have on hand. Cuss as you discover you have only about a quarter of a cup of nuts along with a handful of nut dust (or whatever it is that remains at the bottom of a package of walnuts. Look further until you find the partial package of pecans you forgot were there. Chop whatever nuts you've managed to scrounge from the freezer and spread them over the top.

Pray that you have not just wasted about $7.00 worth of ingredients as you pop the dish into a 350 degree oven. Bake it for about an hour, 'till the top is brown and bubbly.

When it's cool enough so it won't burn your mouth off, taste it and say, "Well, I'll be damned. This is actually good."

Serve it topped with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream because it won't be near fattening enough with just the butter and whatever sugar is in the cake mix and the canned fruit. Avoid stepping on the bathroom scales for a couple of days.

Love from your Psycho Mom


Now do yourself a favor and give this a whirl and I would go with her version too. I'm pretty sure the pie filling would make it too sweet, and the pecans were tasty in it, and the pineapple was just right, and the name is better and...

You get the idea.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Just Leave Me a Note

After dinner last night Lisa and I (kids were at a friends house) stopped at the local Home Depot to pick up a couple of things. As we were making our way out of the parking lot something bright and colorful caught our eyes. As we got closer we discovered two guys with the biggest s&!t eating grins on their faces that could be imagined. The reason for their amusement was quite obvious the closer we got. They were putting the finishing touches on their masterpiece., a sort of Picasso in Post-it.

I was laughing too hard to get the story of why they were doing this, but I would assume a co-worker was about to be treated by their gift very soon.

As you can see they covered this once black car with hundreds of multicolored Post-it notes!

I then realized I didn't bring my camera (what was I thinking?). So, we raced back home, turned around and were able to get back in time to take these pictures before the "big discovery".

Now this is what I call good old fashioned fun.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Wordzzle #25

Wordzzle time again, so it's time for me to come out of hiding and write something . I won't bore you with the details of why I've been absent, but will let you know that everything is going ok now. Just a bit of a bump we like to refer to as life struck me this past week.

Here's the quick version of Wordzzle if you're new to it. Each week Raven gives us a list of words to derive a story from. It can be short or long, poignant or whimsical, doesn't matter so long as you're enjoying the exercise while you're doing it. You can click on her name above to get all the details.

This week's Ten Word Challenge will be: middle finger, text message. the letter “Q,” Shangri-La, melodramatic, compensate, elixir, band of brothers, quadruped, explicit

And for the Mini Challenge: deposition, monosyllabic, better off dead, dubious, posh

-The Ten Word-

This exotic elixir that had brought them on this quest, was strong enough to energize most quadrupeds, let alone the two legged variety like in the case of this band of brothers. The leader of the group who's name was simply the letter "Q", had brought them safely here to Sangri-La despite himself falling into a crevasse along the way and smashing the middle finger on his right hand. Fortunately, he was able to compensate for his miscalculation by text messaging a guide back home and asking for another route to navigate. In a very melodramatic fashion, the gentleman on the other end of the phone told him to follow his explicit instructions and all would be fine. Much to his delight, the man's theatrical explanation was amazingly accurate. Within a few minutes he found his was out as well as a path that led his group to the magical land they'd set off to find.


So, as most of you know, I've supplied Raven with a list of words for about four weeks worth of Wordzzles. To be fair, I haven't written anything ahead of time from that list. Just thought that'd be wrong to do. As I was writing the list of words onto a new sheet of paper from my original list, I somehow wrote the word feminized down instead of quadruped. That's because that word will come up in a list either next week or the one following that and I must have looked at the wrong line as I wrote it down. End result... I managed to slip it into this weeks list...DUH!

What does this have to do with the price of tea in China you may ask? Well, not thinking anything of it until I started highlighting and checking off all the words, did I realize I'd already written my ten word challenge using the wrong word. Bwahahahaha. So, instead of just scraping it, I thought I'd go ahead and post it along with the others.

-The Ten Word-

Looking down at his watch, Miran was overcome with joy. He could see a new text message coming in and as he had hoped, when he read it, it was simply the letter "Q". This is what he'd been waiting for for the past week. This solitary letter told him that a new shipment of Quark had made it to the swami's house and was ready for pick-up.

His less than impressed wife shot him a dirty look and did the obligatory eye roll.

"I thought I told you quite explicitly to stop trying to feminize me woman!" he fired.

Flipping him the middle finger she fired back, "Oh please stop being so melodramatic! Ever since you've been spending time with your new group of friends, that damn 'band of brothers' as you like to call them, you've been trying to compensate for your declining manhood." Continuing her assault she said, "And what's with that ridiculous elixir you keep drinking? Do you honestly think that overpriced tap water is going to make a difference in your 'short comings'?"

"I'll have you know that 'tap water' as you like to call it, comes directly from untouched virgin snow melt deep in the Himalayas. Some even think it flows straight from Shangri-La itself!"

With yet another jab his wife replied, "Oh, somethings flowing around here, but it sure as hell isn't pure virgin snow!"

-The Mini-

Sitting in the posh office of Mr Wallas T. Pendergrass Esq., who also carried the dubious title of District Attorney, the extremely nervous Pauly "The Finger" Bossco figured he'd be better off dead than to have to provide his deposition in the case against the city's biggest crime boss. When he was asked the first question, he was only able to utter the monosyllabic sound of, "Aaaaaaa...."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It's Wordzzle Time Soilder

Let's see. . . what day is it? Oh ya, it's Saturday and that means it's Wordzzle time! Week 24 and still counting. All this fun is brought to you courtesy of the talented Raven. I hope you'll take the time to drop by and say, "Hey".

This week, as you may know, has been a loooooooong one for me and I think my weak attempt at stories is a direct reflection of how spent my brain is. That and the fact that these words seemed as far apart from one another as they could possibly be. I've found that supplying words isn't terribly difficult, but grouping ones together that promote a harmonious story without forcing it in a general direction is completely different. My hat's off to Raven for having done this for so many weeks before!

And away we go. . .

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: ghastly, excrement, bill of sale, vague, thicket, precarious, life long ambition, gunnery sergeant, posthumous, bellowed

And for the Mini Challenge: lap of luxury, yellow-bellied sapsucker, quinine, generalization, abnormality

-The ten word-

"Come on you little pantie waste!" bellowed out the gunnery sergeant, "What do you expect is going to happen when you're pinned down in a thicket with the enemy all around and you can't even hit the broad side of a barn with your weapon?"

"Sir," replied the new recruit, "your life long ambition may be to rape, pillage and kill as many so called enemies as you can, but I'm only here because of the damn draft!"

"Look boy, I don't give a plug nickle about this peace and love excrement your kind keeps trying to peddle over here, and I'm certainly not going to be vague about the truth either, so let me lay it out for you. You are about to be thrust into a situation that by all accounts, will be one of the most ghastly things you've ever witnessed. So unless you want your damn head blown off and your story of love and touchy feelings being told posthumously, I suggest you wrap your mind around the fact that you are going into war!"

"Sir, I find myself in a precarious position," the bold private responded, "as much as I respect your passion, I I still find myself wanting to ask you for a bill of sale for the crap you're pushing on all of us!"

-The mini-

"Now this is certainly not what I'd call living in the lap of luxury. This is my proclamation, My ultimate destination has been determined by the generalization of my frustration by having to deal with this constant nauseation, all the while while having to ride on the wings of a yellow bellied sap sucker."

"Is this absurd abnormality in his speech normal?" his wife asked the doctor.

"It's fever induced hallucinations brought on by the malaria, but don't worry, the quinine we gave him should ease the symptoms soon."

-The Mega-

Dexter was heartbroken and pissed all at the same time. He was looking everywhere for the bill of sale showing he'd bought his prized yellow bellied sap sucker within the "warranty" period. It was no use though, he simply couldn't concentrate with the ghastly scene in front of him. There under a thicket of branches, at the bottom of the enormous cage, was his beloved bird Quinine lying in a pile of its own excrement with a Japanese Samurai sword pinning him to the floor.

It had been Dex's life long ambition to build a giant cage that would be considered the lap of luxury for most any bird of Quinine's size, and now in a blink of an eye, it was over.

"Where's that darned receipt?" muttered Dexter. "I vaguely remember seeing it just the other day, and I also remember it clearly stating that the exotic pet store would refund or replace my bird for whatever reason . . . no questions asked."

That was a good thing too, because his small yellow friend had not died of natural causes. He then remembered thinking that placing the cage under the precariously perched sword collection may not have been the best idea, but Dexter was never one for following reason through, at least not since his days of the war where he was a gunnery sergeant. The years of battle he'd endured had taken there toll on his psyche and it certainly wasn't abnormal for someone like him to experience the long term effects of what he'd witnessed. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is what the doctors had labeled it, a generalization that seemed to be adopted by so many people now, but in Dexter's case was spot on.

Dexter looked down at his poor stiff yellow bird and bellowed out in anguish. He now realized what a bad idea the placement of the cage was, but unfortunately posthumous thought would not help his little winged friend.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I'm Alive

What's this? A post from the long lost me? It feels like ages sin since I've been around, mostly has. This marks the first day in (I believe) 18 days that I am not working. Yikes!
It's been absolutely nutty to say the least. Some days have stretched into fourteen hour marathons and the ones that have been shorter, when I got home I was just too tired to flip on the computer. So if you haven't seen my mug on your sites lately, that's why.
A brief update on Lisa's mom: She had surgery (again) yesterday and this time they did a complete mastectomy. The pathology report showed that there is currently no more cancer present. Great news! Lisa and the boys went down to Calif to see her and the doctor pulled Lisa aside and told her what a remarkable difference Maria showed from before to currently. She said having her family around was probably the best medicine she could have prescribed. I'm so glad she and the boys were able to get down there. They'll be back home tomorrow evening...yeah!
A little time apart is ok, but it does make me realize how much I like being around my wife and sons.
In my wild bachelor like nights while they have been down south I've really been hooping it up. Last night I went down to the local taqueria and ordered a carnitas burrito, brought it home, cracked open a Dr Pepper and watched "The Bucket List". Do I know how to party or what?
The movie was great, thoroughly enjoyed it. Made me laugh and cry at various times. I know a fair number of critics poo-pooed it but to them I say, "Bite me!" If you haven't seen it I highly recommend renting it.
Well that's about it for now. Psycho Mom forwarded the following to me in an email and I thought you might enjoy it too. See you tomorrow with a Wordzzle or two if I get off my butt and write them.

Ozone created by electric cars now killing millions in the seventh largest country in the world, Mexifornia , formerly known as California

White minorities still trying to have English recognized as Mexifornia's third language.

Spotted Owl plague threatens northwestern United States crops and livestock.

Baby conceived naturally! Scientists stumped.

Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage. Iran still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least 10 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels.

France pleads for global help after being taken over by Jamaica . No other country comes forward to help the beleaguered nation!

Castro finally dies at age 112; Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.

George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036.

Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.

85-year $75.8 billion study: Diet and exercise is the key to weight loss.

Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs.

Global cooling blamed for citrus crop failure for third consecutive year in Mexifornia and Florexico.

Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut.

Abortion clinics now available in every High School in United States.

Senate still blocking drilling in ANWR even though gas is selling for 4532 Pesos per liter and gas stations are only open on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.

Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.

Average height of NBA players is now nine feet, seven inches.

New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2030. IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 percent.

Florexico voters still having trouble with voting machines.