Monday, December 19, 2011

Baby Boomer Santa

Abbie Hilton linked to a graphic about how Christmas is aging on Facebook the other day.


It took me a while to figure out what it was all about, but when I finally deigned to actually read the information on the graphic, I saw that it was trying to tell me that all the Christmas songs that they played on the radio for the last ten years were written in the forties and fifties, and that we were only trying to recreate the Christmasses that baby boomers experienced. That would probably be just fine according to Pierce.



But it gave me pause. Is Christmas getting old? Is it something that's already on its way out? When I'm old, will it be looked on as passe, uncool, stupid, imperialist, racist, or something like that?

I can see the point a little bit. If you look at the decorations that people put out, they definitely strive for that chintzy, fifties vibe a lot. Tinsel is definitely a fifties thing. I drove down the main street of a local town, and they had tinsel drapes stretched over the road. When you mixed that with the old-time look of their main street, I felt like I was driving into a movie screen that was showing A Christmas Story (one of my favorite Christmas films of all time, and heavily reminiscent on fifties nostalgia).

But I feel like rebelling against this idea. I love Christmas, and I don't want it to go away. I think it probably won't anytime soon. I've noticed that recently, Christmas songs from later eras are starting to be remade and played on the radio in place of some of the older ones. "Last Christmas" by Wham has had at least four remakes in the past year or two. I think the real explanation behind this is that music artists want to remake the songs they loved as children when they make their Christmas albums. So, it drags twenty or thirty years behind.

The other day, I noticed that Amazon.com was doing their 25 Days of Free songs again. They've done it every year since they opened their MP3 store. I always check them out, because, well, I like Christmas music, especially free stuff. I noticed that December 9th's song was a Duke Ellington song. I love big band jazz, so I downloaded it only to discover that it was actually a DJ named Robbie Hardkiss's remix of the Duke Ellington song. I expected not to like it, but I tried it out. I was actually surprised that I in fact, did like it. Maybe it was Abbie's pronouncement of the aging of Christmas that influenced me, but I really liked the modern spin put on the classic song. It sounded to me like an old Soul Coughing song, just minus Mike Doughty's awesome lyrics.

Couldn't find a version of it on YouTube, so here's another song from the album that's pretty cool as well.



Now, maybe it just confirms her comment, after all, Jingle Bells is not a new song (nor are any of the other songs on the album), but this remix seems to deny that whole idea completely to me. If we can groove to Christmas music on a club's dance floor, as well as rock around the Christmas tree, and sing of the first noel too, then I think what Christmas really is, is timeless.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What I Always Wanted

Rish and I got together the other day for our usual recording session, which means a very, very late night followed by a very early morning. Going to bed at 3:00 or 4:00am then getting up at 8:00am always makes me grumpy. I try my very best to not yell at my kids the next morning as we get ready for school/work, but I'm not always successful. Anyway, that's a long preamble for not a lot of substance. The point of all this rambling was that when my daughter asked me what the box was in the living room wrapped in HO HO HO paper, I didn't even give it a second thought.

"I don't know," I said, "Ask Mommy." After all, she's the one who dominates all the buying and wrapping of Christmas presents.

A few minutes later, when my son asked me what the box in the HO HO HO paper was, I gave him a similarly short answer. "I don't know, ask Mommy."

Then, when my wife came home and said, "What's that box in the corner in the HO HO HO paper?" I knew something was up. If she didn't know what it was, then who would? It was time to investigate.

I found that the box said that it was to me, from Santa. How kind of Santa to send something my way early. "It must be from Rish," I said.

"What is it?"

"I don't know, it's wrapped," I said.

"You're not going to open it?"

I didn't know if I should. It was a Christmas present, after all, and that was still about two weeks away.

"You're really going to leave it till Christmas?"

"All right." I ripped it open, and a shock ran through me. "Oh, no you didn't," I said.

One time, years ago, I saw an episode of America's Funniest Videos in which a guy opened his Christmas present, and started bawling. He'd gotten an Oakland Raiders replica football helmet. "It's something that I've always wanted," he sobbed. I remember laughing at that guy while in the back of my head sort of understanding how he felt.

There's a very few things that I've "always wanted" through my whole life. Once I became an adult, I thought I could finally get those things, because, well, It's my money now, right? But once I became a father, there wasn't money left over for those kinds of things. There's so many other things that money goes to. In fact, a lot of the things that I had already, have had to go into boxes in the basement because the space that I did have was taken from me to give to the kids.

But one thing that I've always wanted, and never gotten, was (yes I'm a nerd) an AT-AT. That's a Star Wars toy. It's kind of the holy grail of Star Wars toys. It's the biggest thing I think they make. It was the biggest thing at least when I was a kid. But I didn't want it just because it was the biggest. It was also, by far, the coolest thing they made, perhaps the coolest thing about Star Wars altogether. But, because it was the coolest thing and the biggest thing, it was also the most expensive thing. I was never able to get it, because I couldn't afford it as a child. As an adult, well, like I said...


Then, I pulled the paper off that box. Underneath, you guessed it, an AT-AT. Rish made my dreams come true. Since I know he reads this, I'm here to say thank you. I probably would never have gotten it for myself. I'd have grown up an old and bitter man, and as I died, and the snow globe fell from my lifeless hand, my final words would have been, "AT-AT."

I didn't cry, like the guy in Funniest Home Videos, but I could have. One time, we got my son a Superman toy when he was four. He opened the present and said, "Superman jet! It's what I always wanted!" He was four, however, so it was cute, but it didn't really mean much. I'm way older than four, and when I shout, "it's what I've always wanted!" It's true. Thanks, Rish.

Unfortunately, the present I got for you isn't nearly as cool. Hope you like it all the same, even if it isn't something you always wanted.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Still Going

Yesterday wasn't quite as good as the day before. I only managed to put in another 395 words on the background of my collaboration with Rish. But I did something, and that matters. Today, I think, will be better, since yesterday I was able to get a bit of a head start on work that I would have had to do today, thus leaving me more time for writing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Okay, Trying Again

Sweeps is over, and I'm going to try to get back on the horse. I said at the start of November that I was going to try to write every day for a year, but circumstances overwhelmed me, and I only wrote twice in the entire month, if I remember right.

So, now that I have a moment to breath, I'm going to try it again. I think I need to adjust my goal a little, but I'll talk about that in a different post.

Today, I'm just here to report that I wrote 723 words on the background of a story (or more likely a series of stories) that Rish and I are going to collaborate on. It'll probably be a while before we get started on it in earnest. For now I'm writing the bible for the series.

I'm excited to get back to it though. I had a good time writing what I did. Yeehaw.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Trot

My daughter wanted to do the Turkey Trot this morning. It's a 3.7 mile fun run/walk. Any chance I get to get my kids out and active instead of planted in front of a TV or video game console, I take. So, at 7:30 AM this Thanksgiving, I was at the starting line to run a while and earn my annual pig out dinner.

We walked mostly. My daughter is not in shape for a long run like that, but I did get her to run a bit. Of course, we had it easy. We could have been one of these guys.


Yup, that's the local firefighters, all geared out to run for nearly four miles. I'd surely not like carrying one of those tanks on my back for a run like that. Firefighters are studs.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another One For Ya



It was another beautiful dawn this morning on my way to workout, so I thought I'd snap a pic and post it here for those of you who are into those kinds of kinky things.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Twabble

Not that this counts as writing, since my goal is to get much more than 100 characters written per day, but I wrote my first twabble for the Drabblecast. Who knows if Norm will use it or not. But in case he doesn't, I'll share it with y'all here.

Though he'd never been a particularly hairy man, now that the ice age had returned, he regretted the laser hair removal.


Strangely, it required no editing. I expected it to be way too long, but once I realized that spaces didn't count, I was golden. Without editing, it was exactly 100 characters.

It'll probably be my last twabble as well, but you never know what inspiration might strike and when.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Writing Update

There's a reason I don't do NaNoWriMo each year. Well, there's a few of them. One is because I'm the lamest piece of crap there is. But aside from that, November is not a good month for me. Work always ramps up big time in November each year, and, conversely, my free time goes away. This year is worse than most though, because one of my colleagues became a father the other day. He is taking time off to be with his new baby, and we are now short-staffed on top of having more to do than usual.

All of that makes me wonder why I chose November to be the start of my big "I'm going to write 500 words a day for the whole year" thing. I guess I had to start sometime, but it seems like shooting myself in the foot to pick one of the busiest months of the year as my start month. I should have given myself a chance to build up some steam and get some good habits before facing a challenge like this month.

I haven't done very well so far this month. I've written 2,500 words of the 5,500 that I should have written so far. I've got a lot to make up for. On the plus side, I finally put a "THE END" on the story that I spent half of September writing called, "Sepia Tone Prison." It's really long, a little north of 11,000, but it's done. By the way, the offer is open to anyone who would like to read it (and offer constructive criticism if you'd like, though that's not necessary). Just drop an email to editor at dunesteef dot com, and I'll send the story out to you. I was going to post it on the blog, but some people said that it would be a bad idea, making it unsalable later on. Of course, they haven't read the story, to know how unsalable it already is, but whatever...

So, I've got a lot of work to do to catch up. I think I have several double days to put in. Hopefully, I can start with those tomorrow.

Rish and I have been talking about collaborating on a space opera story about an independent space trader ship and its crew. We're still hashing out the details on how it will go, but we're both fairly excited about it. We want to make it a very rich universe, leaving room for many adventures and multiple stories. I suppose I can write a bunch of my words as the background and character bios for this tale. (Or maybe these tales!) Lots of world building to be done.

Then, I suppose I ought to get a story started that I could write on the days that it's Rish's turn to be writing on the space opera. I started a story earlier this year, that I think I might dive into again. It's a juvenile story (I think that's the category, right? The one that comes before YA) about a young man whose computer spontaneously develops artificial intelligence. I've started this story several times now. Once it was an older guy as the main character, but that didn't seem to work. So, I changed it to the younger kid, wrote for a while, and realized that I hadn't planned quite well enough. I bailed on it again, but knew I'd return. I think it might be time for that.

The main thing I needed to do was deeper, more in depth character bios. After flubbing that second attempt, I went and studied how to develop good characters, and I made up a document with dozens of questions that should be answered about a character before starting a story. That will surely give me enough work to write a bunch of words too.

So, it's going to be the adventures of the crew of the Cheshire Cat, and the third attempt at writing Prime. Let's see if I can get caught back up to the spot I should be in: 5,500 words. Sadly, that number keeps rising each day, unless of course, I make it smaller with the work I do each day.

Flash Mobs Are Cool

This video cracks me up. There's been several times when I've gone to Target wearing a dark red shirt and khakis and realized that I look exactly like the employees. Imagine what it would be like with 80 people doing the same thing. Check out what happened at Best Buy...

11:11 11-11-11

Got this picture a few minutes ago. I looked up, wondering how much time I had before I had to leave for work, and realized that the moment had arrived. It was a mad scramble to get the camera before the minute changed, made worse by the fact that the reflection of the flash obliterated the first attempt. But here it is:


Happy 11-11-11 everyone.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The New Year

After my successes of August and September, and my colossal failure in October, then arriving at and leaving behind my 37th birthday, I figured it was time to kick it up a notch.

Birthdays always tend to do that kind of thing to me. Like TMBG say, "you're older than you've ever been, and now you're even older." That's always true. You're not getting any younger, and your life is not getting longer (unless science-fiction replaces actual science sometime soon). So, if I want live my dreams, fulfill my goals, and fight off regrets, I'd better get started.

F#@* the 500 words a day for a month thing. The minute that month ended, I stopped writing. I wrote a total of 500 words in the entire month of October, because it wasn't my goal anymore. F#@* it. It's 500 words a day for a year.

Starting November 1st, on which I wrote 322 words. No, that wasn't 500, but I was in the world's worst mood that night, and couldn't make myself do more. It hadn't worn off on the 2nd either. I didn't even try. Just spent the night watching soccer on TV.

It wasn't until this evening, when I forced myself to write, despite not feeling like it again, and found myself turning out 1,383 words, and enjoying every minute of it, that I finally got motivated. I could probably have gone on further, but I gotta be up early to work out tomorrow, so I'm going to get some sleep.

But I'm off. 500 words a day for 365 days adds up to 182,500. I'm betting on many days, like today, I'll get more than that. But that will be my goal for the year. And it should put me well along the way to my million words of crap.

Wish me luck.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dawn's Early Light


Folks, that is a picture of dawn. And I was awake for it. It was particularly pretty, so I took a picture of it. I'm not really a morning person, so it makes me proud that I manage to get up before dawn several days a week to work out. I know most people get up before dawn once winter comes around, and Rish is the only person who will be really freaked out by a photo of dawn, but I couldn't help posting about it. Rish has probably seen dawn from the other end of the day more often than most people do, though, so I guess he's got that on all us poor saps who get up early in the morning.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another Version

Another version, because I can't get the song out of my head.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October

This song comes to mind every year at this time.



And it's so very true, as depressing as it is, it's all true.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Failure

My last post on here was all about my super new goal that I was going to do in the month of October. I said I'd take a day or two off, and get right on it. That day or two stretched into almost three weeks. Today is the 20th, and I've done nothing this entire friggin' month. Grrrr.

I'm amazed with how easy it is to blow it. It was such a big time effort for me to write 500 words for a whole month, but it took no effort at all to let that progress piss away.

But there's no sense bemoaning the past. I've just got to look forward, and get back on the horse.

So, today, I wrote 681 new words on my story, "Sepia Tone Prison." It's coming very close to a finish. I've only got two scenes left to write, but they'll probably be worth 2,000 more words, making this story over 10,000 words long. Too long for most places, but oh well. It was the story I wanted to tell.

I'm going to write again tomorrow as well, and see if I can't get this story done soon. As soon as I finish it, I'll get a story submitted somewhere, then start writing another one. I've learned that it's go go go. If you take your foot off the pedal, the engine stalls. What a crappy car I've got, huh?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My New Challenge For October

I took the weekend off, and now it's time to start into the new challenge for the new month.
For an author, the biggest danger isn’t that someone might not like your work–-it’s that they might never encounter it at all.
That is a quote from this blog post that I read a few weeks ago. There were many other interesting things to learn from it. They asked several editors to tell people why they needed to stop rejecting their stories before they even get sent out to an editor. I know that I'm guilty of this. I've sent a couple of stories out, but barely any. I've whined on the show about how it's hard to take rejection, but the only real rejection I get is from myself.

So, in October, I have a new challenge for myself. That is to take all the stories that I have written in the last few years, and submit them to publications. And, in the spirit of not rejecting myself, I'm going to start with the highest profile publications and work my way down from there. I'll probably submit several of Rish's stories as well, once I've burned through all of mine. Because, really, it won't take long. I don't have that many.

So, tune in here each day, my friends, and follow my progress, if you'd like. I'll report which of my stories was sent to which place, and then, eventually, I'll let you know what happened with it. You can all join me in the fun of butting my head against the wall until I finally bust through the bricks to see what is on the other side of that wall. I've heard the grass is really green over there. No, I mean, like, a lot greener than it is over here.

I'm going to do my best to continue to write 500 words a day as well. And, if I can manage, I may even up it to 750 or perhaps 1,000. But while I'm sending out stories, I'll stick with 500. Won't take but a week or so to get them all out. Looking at my stories folder, I have this list:

  1. The Battle Of The Ideas
  2. Last Contact
  3. The Mirror Sometimes Lies
  4. Sepia Tone Prison (nearly finished, not quite)
  5. Through The Din Of Silence
  6. Queen Bea (which I suppose has to be a reprint since we published it for BMSE 2010)
  7. The Tenth Album
  8. Little Caesars Ghost
  9. Straw and Sawdust (Another BMSE, 2009 this time, maybe I'll rework this one before sending it out)
  10. Euthanasia

And maybe a couple of other reprints or some really old stories. Although, I don't know if I want to go as far back as 2002 in search of stories to submit.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Annual Flower Post

Today, I went to the front yard and pulled the dried out stalks of our sunflowers, and threw them away. Summer's over, school's been back for more than a month, and it's starting to get cold at night (still warm during the days, but that won't last long). Seems as though I've waited a little too long to write my annual post with the pictures that I took of our flowers from our garden. So, here it is.

This year, with my wife and I both working full-time, we weren't able to get many flowers planted. Nature had to do most of the work for us. We have a few perennials in the yard, and they bloomed beautifully. Then there were the sunflowers. They reseed themselves for us. They didn't grow where we wanted them to, but they made up the majority of our flowers for the year, so we just let them grow and flourish.



As you can probably tell, I really like the red ones.



And this is my other favorite, the really big-headed ones.


I pulled the heads off of several of my favorite sunflowers, and scraped the seeds from them out into the spot where we want the sunflowers to grow next year. We'll see if the birds got them all before they could take root or not. Hopefully we'll have tons of sunflowers again next year, and they'll be mostly my favorite kinds.


These lilies are a few of our perennials.


Another perennial is our clematis bush.


It really bloomed well, and made some beautiful flowers.

And it creeped its way over the trellis that my wife put out for it, and a few vines found their way to our bedroom window. I thought that was interesting.


Lastly, is our trumpet vine, which has grown quite large this year.


It provided us with no end of fun, because of the hummingbirds that would come to visit and drink from its nectar each day. We tried to get some pictures of the birds, but that never worked well. (I posted those earlier this year if you want to see crappy pictures of hummingbirds, just scroll back a few pages, too lazy to find and link). Here are pictures of the flowers themselves.

Day 29 & 30

Yesterday, I wrote 536 words. Today, 629. And that's that. I win. 500 words a day challenge for one whole month is over, and I win. Sure, I had to fudge it a little here and there. Making up for days when I'd blown it. But I wrote at least 500 words for every day in September.

I wrote one full story, and I'm getting really close to finishing the second, which is long enough to count as a novella. I think I'm only three or four scenes from the end. If anyone would like to read them, let me know, and I'll email them to you. Just ask, the email address to ask me at is editor at dunesteef dot com.

I'm going to keep on with this. But I have a new challenge planned for October. I'll let you know about it tomorrow. For now, I've got to get to bed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 27 & 28

Totally slacked off again, and found myself needing to write 1,000 words to make up for the missed day. I managed, getting 1,126, but I need to stop with the slacking. I only have two days left here, and I am going to make sure that I write 500 on each of those days.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 25 & 26

Boom, baby! This afternoon, I wrote 1,073 words. That was 500 for today, and 500 to make up for my laziness from yesterday. While I actually wrote 1,700 words yesterday, they were catching up on my family blogs and stuff like that, things that I've let slide all month long. Then when it came time to write on my story, I didn't feel like it any longer.

But now I'm caught back up, and it's not even 2:00 o'clock yet. That may be a record. I wonder if I'll be able to finish "Sepia Tone Prison" before October starts. Well, if I don't, it doesn't matter, because I'm going to keep on writing either way!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 23 & 24

Okay, I wrote 1,426 words tonight. That's not quite the 1,500 that I was shooting for, but I'm going to say it's close enough and declare myself caught up.

I'm one scene shy of the turning point in my story, which is looking as though it'll end up being a novelette, since it's already upwards of 4,000 words and not quite halfway done. Ah well. I never have been able to tell a short story. maybe I'll make that my goal with the next thing that I write. Or maybe I should just go all out and write a novel. Maybe that's what I should be doing here. I don't know. Anyway, I'm back on track. Tomorrow, I'll get my 500 in on time, so I don't have to do any of this crap again.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 22

Yeah, I know, it's not the 22nd. But I'm just finally getting around to getting my 500 words written for that day. This week has been hellish. A lot of stress at work, working a different (crappier) schedule, and have found it nigh on impossible to carve out the time for any writing. So here I am, with three days worth to catch up to.

Well, it's late, and I really ought to get to bed, but I think I'll see if I can write a bit more. So far, I've written 500 of the 1,500 words that I owe today. I'd like to cut that down a bit more. Maybe combining today and tomorrow, I can get all the backlog filled in. Unfortunately, I work tomorrow as well. Yes, boys and girls, I get a fabulous one day weekend this week. I could really use the day off, but someone else is on vacation, so I'm filling in instead. I just hope it's a quiet day at work for once. No more stress. My shoulders are so damned clenched I can barely stand it.

Okay, done with the whining. Upward and onward!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Haven't Done Them Yet Today, But I Will...

...Why? Well, I found a quote in an article by comic book writer, Ron Marz, talking about what a writer must deal with that kind of explains it, and gives me encouragement. He said that you are "a better writer today than [you are] yesterday," and you "will be a better writer tomorrow than [you are] today." But of course that will only happen if you are working on it, you know like by writing 500 words a day or more.

So, it's off to write 500 more. Like the Proclaimers said, "I would write 500 words, and I would write 500 more..." or maybe that's not quite what they said, but it's close.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 21

Woohoo! Managed to get all the way caught up and then some. Wrote 1,317 words today, and I'll have a clean slate to start with tomorrow. Nice.

Oooh, I Got A Better Picture

It's still a little fuzzy, because it was taken through the window screen, but this time the bird was on a flower that was much closer, with less other things around to steal the focus.


Oh, and I did manage to get some of my words written too. Still have to catch up for yesterday, but I'm already 450 into the 1,000.

Distractions

I'm trying to write my words for today...and yesterday, and right outside my window there are several birds fighting over the seeds in what's left of our sunflowers.


It's pretty cool to see them hang upside down from the flowers while they peck out the seeds. I tried to get some good pictures of it, but my camera's zoom lens is not really made for wildlife photography. Can't even manage to get the birds in focus rather than the plants.



Oh well, time to stop paying attention to that, and get writing.

Day 19 & 20

The 19th was a bad day for writing. I never got a moment to put any words down. I went straight from work to meet Rish, and we recorded our stuff all night long for the show. By then it was around 3:00 am, so I gave up and went to bed. I figured I'd write 1,000 words the next day, like I've done a few other times so far, to make up for it.

Only, on the 20th, I only managed to write 575 words. I guess that means I need to write 1,000 words today, to make up for my lack from yesterday. We'll see how that works, I guess. Here it goes...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 18

Oh, I came this close (imagine something that is very close) to just saying screw it, and going to bed. I was damned tired, but I hadn't written my words yet. So, I dragged my lazy carcass to the computador, and typed out 704 words.

Now that I fulfilled my obligation, though, I'm hitting the sack. Good night, everybody.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day 17

Always with the last minute. I need to learn to write in the morning or something. That would surely make it easier, I'd think.

Anyway, I wrote 584 words today, finishing off scene two. Things are coming along.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 16

629 word into my new story, "Sepia Tone Prison." It's a ghost story, but not a scary ghost story, or at least not a completely scary ghost story. There is a little bit of haunting that does go on, but that's for another day. Today, I wrote the opening scene. We're on our way, and I think it's going to be a fun ride.

I think I might get two stories completely written before the month is out. That may well be a record. Goooooooo me!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 14 & 15

Last night, I was moments from sleep, when suddenly my eyes popped open in alarm. I'd just realized that I'd forgotten to write my 500 words. Crap!

Well, as important as my goal is, I was moments from sleep, and I was going to go ahead and stay in bed. I could make up for it in the morning.

And so I did. I did my writing for both days today, working on the characters for my next story, "Sepia Tone Prison." I'm excited, because I think I'm ready to get started now. I know enough about my characters, and the plot that they will follow, to start writing it.

So, tomorrow, I will start into the actual words of the story. That's the fun part, so, I can't wait.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 13

I posted the new episode, then sat down to write. It flowed much better than it has for the last two days. Work on the new story started as a trickle on Sunday, grew on Monday, and now, Tuesday, it is like someone turned the hose on full blast. I wrote 762 words on the step outline this evening, and had a great time doing it. I want to put in some more work on the character outlines still for the next couple days, to make sure all the characters are interesting enough to care about, and then it'll be time to write for real.

Writing is work, especially on days that the words won't come easy. But on those days when it flows like magic from your fingertips, it's just so damn fun. I just wish every day were one of those.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 11 & 12

Working on my new story now, but still just the planning stages so far. As I work on the character bios, though, the ideas are starting to flow, and I'm starting to see how this story might come about. I'm a little worried about how well I can write it, because the characters are, although living in the modern world, old fashioned or out of time even. I'm wondering how believable I can make that. I may have to rent a bunch of old movies or something and watch them to try to pick up some speech patterns and the like.

It's a really good idea, I think, I just hope I can execute it well.

Anyway, I'm still on goal, after 12 days. Last night, I almost said screw it. I had a bad sinus headache, and I was just going to put off my writing till the next day, doubling up and writing 1,000 words. But I just didn't feel right doing that purposefully. So, I stayed up, suffered through, and I'm still on goal.

Is it becoming a habit? Maybe. Just maybe.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 10

Waited till late again, which is stupid, but I still managed to type 505 words, two of them being the words THE END.

I'll have to start something new tomorrow, which daunts me, but I'm going to plunge ahead anyway. Tomorrow's words may only be character backgrounds and stuff, but they count too. My next story, I think, will be called "Sepia Tone Prison" or maybe "Sepia Tone Prison Break." That second one just came to me, and it might be better than the first. I'll have to see as the story is written.

Hopefully that one will be better than the one I just wrote. I'm proud of myself for finishing it, but it doesn't feel very original or special to me. But maybe that's just me being too harsh a critic of my own work. If you'd like to read it and give me comments on it, send me an email at editor at dunesteef dot com, and I'll forward it out to you. I'd like to see if other folks think the same of it that I do.

My Second 5K Race


I ran my first 5k back on May 21st. At the time, my goal was simply to finish the race, and I did. I was proud of myself for getting that far. I had just started working out consistently with my crossfit trainer in May as well, so I was on a good trajectory.

Now, after a whole summer of crossfit, I decided it was time to try another 5k. I was pretty worried, because I'd just bought some new running shoes, and they were giving me really painful shin splints when I ran. I didn't know what might happen at this 5k. I was worried that I might have to walk half of it, once my shin splints started hurting too much, but I was going to go for it one way or another.

All I really wanted, my goal this time around, was to beat my time from my first 5k. Last time, I ran it in 40:48. Anything less than that would be an achievement.

Well, I'm here to tell you that I again achieved my goal. My final time for this race was 32:36, a full eight minutes less than last time. I feel pretty good about that.

On top of that, my shin splints never bothered me for even a moment. I wore some long socks that I bought the night before. I don't know if that was what did it, or just the resting of my legs previous to the race, or what, but I did just great. No pain at all.

I probably won't run another race until after winter passes us by again. We'll have to see how I can improve by then. Excelsior!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 9

I was so worn out from podcasting until 3:00 am with Rish last night, that I wanted to just throw in the towel and skip my writing tonight. But I didn't. I forged onward, and managed to put in another 602 words.

Now, though, it's time to get some friggin' rest. I'm supposed to run a 5k in the morning after all. I might need a bit of rest.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 8

I'm sitting there on the couch, relaxing and watching the first NFL game of the season on TV, when I suddenly realize that I am running out of time to write my 500 words. Rish and I had been unable to get together for our normal Monday night podcast session, so we'd rescheduled it to this evening. The clock is telling me that I am supposed to be meeting him in about a half hour. Crap! Can I even get 500 words written that quick?

I dash to the computer, put in headphones to drown out the cartoon that the kids have now changed the channel to, and start pecking away at the keyboard. 30 minutes later, I've succeeded in typing 557 words. Sure it was just, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," over and over again, but I'd done it. I'd hit my 500 words for the eighth day in a row.

I was likely going to be fifteen minutes late meeting Rish, but I was willing to bet that he'd be less angry with me for that than he would be if I told him I'd left my words unwritten to make it to our meeting on time. So, I was not worried at all.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 7

Wow, I've done this for a whole week now, cool.

Today was another busy one. We had free tickets to the minor league baseball team's game this evening, so straight from work, I took my kids out to see it. Which, of course, means I didn't get home until late again, but it didn't matter. It's starting to become a habit. Hopefully, there won't be another day where I just completely forget it like I did on Sunday.

I sat down to the computer, after the baseball game, and wrote another 696 words on my story. It's a fantasy story called "The Mirror Sometimes Lies," and I'm nearing the end of it. Which is good, because it now runs 4,230 words, and it seems that nobody wants stories that are even that long anymore, and this one isn't quite done yet. It'll probably be a bit over 5,000 when it's done.

I guess I need to start planning what I'll write next, because that's always the hardest part, starting the next one, and if I want to continue achieving my goal, I'll need to be ready.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day 6

Does it have to be hard every time?

Today, work was much too busy for me to squeak even a moment's writing in. So, I figured I'd put in the time in the evening when I got home. I went out to my crossfit workout, and my trainer writes on the board that we will be doing 3 sets of 33 goblet squats, 33 push ups, and 33 abmats. The goblet squats and the abmats aren't too bad. Those are things I can handle, but push ups...99 push ups would be tough.

We're tough. By the end of the workout, my arms and chest were so tired, I could barely move. Now it was time to go home and write. Did I want to? I sure as hell didn't. I wanted to go home and sleep.

But I'd made the commitment. So, instead of sleeping, I wrote 543 words. Just enough to fill my quota, and now I'm going to hit the freakin' sack. My shoulders are killing me typing this post right now. Aaaarrrgh!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Day 4...and, uh...Day 5

I'm not sure how I totally blew it like I did, but I did. I was supposed to work the early morning shift on Monday morning, starting at 4am, in place of someone who took Labor Day off. So, when 9pm rolled around Sunday night, I figured I'd better get in bed. Hopefully, I could get a full night's rest that way.

Got up at 3am, and got ready for work and realized, on my way out the door to the car, that I never wrote a word on Sunday. I'd just gone to bed, and it had never occurred to me that I was totally blowing it. I could have been a real writer, and I bleeeeeeeewwwwww it!

So, I vowed to write 1,000 words today to make up for the day that I skipped. I got right to it the minute that I had my first chance, and I'm here to report that this morning I wrote 1,017 words. I redeemed myself for yesterday, and wrote my 500 for today, and it's only 9am. How you like me now?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 3

Had a lot of stuff going on today, so I was up late finishing my wordcount again. Not as bad as last night, but I guess I haven't completely learned my lesson. I could have done it sometime in the morning, but instead, I waited to the last minute again. Sooner or later that will bite me, and I won't manage to complete my 500 words in time. But for now, I continue to be successful. I wrote 533 words today, and I'm having a good time doing it. Weeee!

Day 2

Okay, it's really late, but I stayed up, because I had to write my 500 words before going to bed, right? I just finished typing up another 633 words on the story that I started yesterday. It's called "The Mirror Sometimes Lies." I've been telling Rish that I was going to write it for 6 months, and I hope that I'll actually succeed. Writing 500 words a day on it should finish it up in a week or so. I just got to keep at it.

I learned an important lesson tonight, though. Get the writing done early, when you have a moment. That way, it won't be after 2:00 AM when you're eyes are drooping, and you hate everyone and everything when you finally type you 500th word. I don't think I'll save it for last again.

But the streak is still alive. Two days and counting. I won't stop until I reach 30, and by then, I hope it'll be a habit, so I never stop again.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 1

Okay, one day in, and I've written 784 words. I may still write more this evening, if I have time, but it's not likely, so I'm putting in my report now. Success for day one. Yay!

Hummingbird

We've got this trumpet vine outside our back door. It has lots deep, bell shaped flowers on it. The perfect shape for, say, a small bird with a long, narrow beak to get nectar from. So, it attracts a lot of hummingbirds. I've been hoping to get a picture of one of them all summer, but they're so quick, and they dart about so fast that it's almost impossible.

Just the other day, however, my wife had the camera nearby when two hummingbirds came to the trumpet vine at the same time. It was the perfect condition for picture taking. The pictures still suck, unfortunately, but they're likely to be the best ones that we can get. So, I share them with you.

I had to crop the images considerably, or you'd probably not have even noticed the bird in the picture each time. Enjoy.





Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Success And A New Challenge

This month, at the behest of the woman that trains me in Crossfit, I took part in a food challenge. It was a diet of sorts that asked me to eschew dairy, carbohydrates, and especially sugar. On the other hand, it encouraged eating a great deal of vegetables, some fruits and nuts and the like, and allowed for a main course of lean meat in each meal. It was to be a 30 day deal. We started on August 1st, and finished up yesterday. It was really hard to do sometimes, and I'll admit, I cheated here and there, but my cheats were small and scattered.

Despite my little cheats, I still consider the month a success. I'm down 15 pounds from what I weighed at the start of the month, a fact that has spurred me to continue, in a limited manner, the same eating habits for a while longer. I think I will keep eating this way until I reach the weight that I'd like to stay at forever. Who knows how long that will be. If I lost 15 pounds a month, it wouldn't be long, but I doubt I'd be able to keep up a pace like that, especially since I don't plan on being quite as draconian as I have been this month. I'll give myself an allowance of cheating, and stick to that. I hope it will prevent burnout, because I really don't want to have to lose these same 15 pounds another time. I've done that a couple of times already, and that just sucks.

Energized by my ability to avoid sugar for so long, I considered other areas of my life, and how I might apply this new found will to them. As I've said on the show dozens of times, I want to be a writer, but I don't write. I'll never be a writer if I don't write. So, if I want to be a writer, I need to start writing. So, I've decided that, like August was with the food challenge, September will be the month of the writing challenge.

How will it work? I am pledging to write at least 500 words per day for the 30 days of September. Every day, without fail, I must write 500 words. And, hopefully, if I get in the groove enough, I may continue on to 750 or 1,000 words. But the requirement will be for 500 words. In 30 days, I will have written at least 15,000 words, and I hope it will work like the food challenge did. Hopefully I'll see how great it was and how well it went, and I will continue on from there, making a positive change in my life, and turning the trajectory of my writing in the direction of accomplishment.

So, after completing my writing each day, I'll post my wordcount for the day. Feel free to keep on my back about it. Comment. Urge. Cajole. My trainer keeps me going in the exercising world doing the same things; I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to have a writing trainer or two. And a preemptive thank you to anyone who does so. Upward and onward. Exelsior!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Lost My Mojo!

When I was in high school, I had probably three favorite bands: Metallica, Van Halen, and Anthrax. (Okay, don't change the channel, I swear I'll make this post interesting to you folks who didn't like any of those three bands, just give me a chance). When alternative bands came into prominence, all three of these bands imploded.

Metallica was first, they sold out. They brought in Bob Rock, a producer who had worked with bands like Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, and Motley Crue. Suddenly there were ballads on Metallica albums, and the band was getting major airplay with rock-not-metal songs like "Enter Sandman." Most of you reading this probably had never heard a Metallica song previous to that, but those of us who liked Metallica already, have never heard a new Metallica song since then. As time went by, Metallica became more and more mainstream, and less and less special. In recent years, they've struggled to return to their early sound, but have been unable to recapture their mojo.

Anthrax was next. They recognized the coming trend, and despite several years of increasing popularity that would one day lead to their band being considered one of the "Big 4" heavy metal bands, they fired their lead singer Joey Belladonna in favor of some guy with a deeper voice that might sound less like a hair band singer. I listened to their first album with the new guy, and found that I no longer needed to purchase Anthrax albums any more, and I haven't heard another new song of theirs since then. Their mojo was lost quite completely.

Then there was Van Halen. Some might say they'd already lost their mojo before I ever made it to high school. David Lee Roth was their original singer, and he left the band in 1985 to pursue a solo career. The band replaced him with Sammy Hagar. This gave them a completely different sound, but it proved to be popular, and they still turned in number one albums and filled arenas for years. Personally, I like both versions of the band. Each one has their positives and negatives. But they couldn't keep it together. Just like with Roth, Hagar left the band after a fight. Hagar claims he was fired, the band claims he quit. It only got worse, as they tried to reunite with Roth, then instead installed Gary Cherone, ex-singer of the band Extreme. Then they got back with Hagar. Then they got rid of Hagar and got back with Roth. It's a sad story, and these days there are two bands out there, one called Van Halen with the Van Halen brothers and Roth. The other called Chickenfoot that includes Hagar and the old Van Halen bassist and background vocalist Michael Anthony. Mojo is thoroughly gone.

So, anyway. Today I discovered by chance on the interwebs that Anthrax has brought Joey Belladonna back in as their singer, and they are a few weeks away from releasing the first album with him as their singer since 1990. You can hear the first song off the album here, it sure sounds a lot like their old stuff. I suppose the band is trying to get their mojo back. Who knows if they'll succeed. I'm kind of excited about it though. I'll certainly check it out, and see if I can call one of my teenage favorites back for real.

This leads me to the question. Are there any bands you can think of that have simply weathered the storm of the years and never fallen apart and lost their mojo?

The only band that comes to mind for me is U2. Although some might say they lost their mojo in the nineties after they did their album Achtung Baby. Zooropa and Pop seemed to take the band in a direction that people didn't care to hear. They managed to return to their roots successfully with All That You Can't Leave Behind, and haven't seemed to lose it since, so you could make an argument for them. I can't think of any others, but I'm sure there's bands that you, dear reader, like and could support a claim for them never losing their mojo. Lay it on me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Men's 5K

That's right. I just signed up last night. I finally graduated to the men's 5k this time. Or, maybe I should say that this time around the website got it right, and there was a men's 5K option as well as a women's 5K.

I'm excited to give it another shot. Last time around, it took me 40 minutes and some odd seconds to finish the race. My plan is to see if I can improve that time. I'm hoping that I can improve it by five minutes. I don't know if that is an outlandish expectation or not, because I'm not an experienced runner enough to know. But it's my goal, and I'll see what I can do.

Hopefully, after a month of going without sugar, I'll at least have less blubber to haul around with me, so that alone should improve my time, right?

At the very least, the animal shelter has $20 bucks to spend on poor defenseless puppies because of me. So, even if I fail miserably, I can still feel good about that.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's Not All Bad

This is a picture of my breakfast from this morning.


I took the picture because I was actually quite proud of it. I may be on a diet of sorts, but it's not all bad, if this is how I get to eat for breakfast, right? Although, I bet many people will still find it horrible, I kind of like it. This is a plate of eggs that also includes chopped onions; red, orange, and yellow bell peppers; mushrooms; tomatoes; and avocados.

There were so many vegetables in the bowl that I poured into the frying pan, that I decided to add an extra egg just to give it a better ratio. It was pretty tasty. It's what I've been having for breakfast for nearly three weeks now.

I also made a strawberry, blueberry, and kale smoothie to go with it. I probably overdid it a little with that. I wasn't hungry for lunch until something like 2:00 pm.

Anyway, like the title says, it's not all bad, this diet thing, and I'm losing weight as I eat this way too.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Just In Case

I linked to this on Twitter and Facebook, but just in case you didn't see it there, I'll put it here too. See, I love Nathan Fillion.



And I love him all the more when I see him in things like this.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Stumbling Upon Something Cool

So, after seeing the thirtieth tweet by folks that I know referencing this thing called Get Glue, I solicited an explanation from Josh Roseman as to just what the heck Get Glue is. He tried to explain it in 140 characters or less, and then referred me to his home page, because it might explain at least how he uses it.

I browsed his home page, and while I don't really understand get glue any better than I did before, I did see a couple of his reviews. One of them was for someone named Julia Nunes. If anyone reading this blog is less in-the-know than I am (quite a feat, I'm told), then allow me to introduce you to Julia Nunes. She's a Jonathan Coulton type singer, in that she releases her music for purchase on her internet site. Check it out here. She doesn't sing nerd songs, like JoCo, but her songs are pretty darn good, and her voice is very interesting to listen to, very characteristic, which I've always held is the most important thing for a singer. Oh, and she also has a cool nickname like Coulton, she shortens her name to JuNu.

She also does tons of really fun YouTube videos of her songs. I really enjoyed the following one, a great mixing of two songs with similar choruses (no, I refuse to call it a mashup, I hate that stupid term, mostly because most mashups suck). Anyway, check it out, and then check out some of her other videos. That is, if you haven't already, which you probably already have.



Oh, and thanks for this, Josh.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Gathering Storm


I just finished listening to "The Gathering Storm" by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. I know, finally. It came out a while ago, and I"m just now getting around to it, but the cool part is I can go right into the next one.

Anyway, I was losing hope for this series. It seemed as though it would have no end. In several of the last few books, nothing happened until the last page. Which is hard to deal with when each book runs about 800 pages. Then I found out that Robert Jordan died, and I figured that would be that. But his widow asked Brandon Sanderson if he would take up the banner and bear it the rest of the way. Jordan had extensive notes on the story, so Sanderson knew what the original finale was supposed to entail.

So, I finished the first of the final three books that Sanderson plans to write,and the problem that was ailing the series has been remedied. Things finally happened. Things they've been hinting at for five, six, seven books maybe even more. At last things are happening, and I'm excited about it enough that I will definitely read on to the finish. I was close to giving up on it, so this actually means something.

By the way, do you have any idea how long it takes to listen to a Robert Jordan book on audio? So many discs I could open a store.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tougher Than Leather, Or Samoas

So, I'm on week two of this damned food challenge, and, as is always the case when sugar is discouraged, I have been assaulted on every side by free treats.


Often, it's not a big deal to turn them down. It's a treat that you don't have a particular affection for. But let me tell you, I love those Girl Scout cookies called Samoas almost as much as I love my own children. They are simply divine in nature. And yesterday, as I continued to limp my way through this food challenge of eating no sugar, I was eating my lunch in the breakroom, when someone came in with a whole box of Samoas (minus two cookies), put them on the table in front of me, and said, "here, take these, I can't eat any more of them."

I was like Roger Rabbit. My eyes bugged out of my head, I screamed and jumped in the air with my hands grasping my head, and I shouted, "P-p-p-please, Eddy! Ya gotta help me!"

Of course, all the guys sitting around the table with me should have pounced, but they didn't. They calmly continued eating their lunches, as though nothing had happened. One of them did say that he was going to be all over those cookies, but apparently he was waiting until he'd finished his dinner; like a proper, well-raised child; before continuing on to dessert.

And so there I was, eating my salad and broccoli, in a standoff with a box of cookies. They stared at me, daring me to not make a move, laughing at the inevitability of my eventual failure of will. They mocked me and my tomato slices with every chew. At last I could stand it no longer!

I grabbed the box, and started handing it around to everyone at the table, waving it under their nostrils. "Please, eat some of these. I can't take it much longer."

I managed to pawn several off on the others. The one who had said he would be all over them lived up to his word, eating six or eight of them. But after all takers had taken, there were still two beautiful, perfect cookies waiting in the container, begging me to partake. What could I do? Surely I couldn't let a golden opportunity like this go to waste, right? I could be forgiven for giving in. Anyone would, right?

I felt like Russel, in Up, when he asks Carl if he can keep Dug. "No," Carl says. Russel tries to appeal to his sense of reason, "But it's a talking dog!" How could you pass up the chance to have something that great?

But they're free Samoas!

I picked up the remainder of my lunch, my Gladware containers and stuff, and walked away.

That's right, I'm stronger than you, Samoas. I win this time.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Glutting The Market

I figured that since I've been glutting the market with perty pictures, I'd go ahead and continue that trend with this one.



This is our first sunflower of the summer. There will be many more to come, but not so many of the other flowers that we usually grow. The wet spring, lasting through most of June, combined with our job schedules, made planting those flowers a problem. So this year, we only have the perennials, or the ones that manage to replant themselves, like the sunflowers.

Look forward to my annual "Check Out Our Flowers, Aren't They Neat" post at the end of the summer. Just don't expect a lot of variety. This picture is just a sneak peek.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Leaving You Hanging

Just so I don't leave you all hanging, I thought I'd follow up on my post entitled: Uuuunnnngggghhh.

Yes, it's now been nearly a week, and although I still find myself a little more tired than usual, I have to admit that not eating sugary foods, fatty foods, or drinking soda, has been beneficial for me.

I weighed myself this morning (even though they don't want you to do that until the month comes to an end--they want you to notice the changes in your body by the way you feel and how your clothes fit), and after less than a week, I'm down nearly ten pounds. So, you can't complain with dramatic results like that.

Now if I could only manage to make it a permanent lifestyle change, then I'd be getting somewhere.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Uuuunnnngggghhh

Two days into my food challenge and I'm friggin' tired, and I have a mean headache too. I think my body misses being loaded up on caffeine from all that Mountain Dew. I hope the healthiness hits me soon, because this is rough.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm A Survivor

My CrossFit trainer has decided to rope all her clients into a food challenge for the month of August. I believe the purpose is to help folks like me, who are addicted to eating badly, to change their relationship with food, and see how different we might feel if we fueled our bodies properly.

Of course, once the deadline approached, like a hedonist at the end of the world, I indulged in every last gluttonous thing that I could. Pizza, cheeseburgers, Mountain Dew, donuts, candy bars. It was funny, because it didn't take long for my body to object. "What the hell!" it seemed to say, "I can only handle so much of this before I have to puke it up!"

The words from that Survivor song from Rocky IV came to mind, however. I believe the song was called "The Burning Heart" (fitting, since eating like this was giving me heartburn). The song says, "In the warriors code, there's no surrender. Though his body says stop, his spirit cries--NEVER!"

With Survivor egging me on, I refilled my 52oz. mug with Code Red, and plunged ever onward. My body couldn't master me! I would make it submit to my will.

I expected to have gained 5lbs. from my gluttony, but I guess my body is a little smarter than me, and it just flushed all that stuff out where it belongs, and I only gained about 2lbs. through my self-destructive extravagance.

And now, the end of the world has arrived. I had fuggin' vegetable for breakfast this morning. For breakfast!!

Now I need Survivor to help me make it through the next thirty days. Hopefully it'll be the beginning of a lifetime's change.

If need to be inspired in some pursuit you are striving for, I suggest clicking on this link, and watching the video for "Burning Heart" on YouTube. It'll make you stronger.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What I Saw When I Was On Vacation 5


Lastly, this is a sunset from my in-laws back porch.

Friday, July 29, 2011

What I Saw When I Was On Vacation 4

Not sure why, but I have a compulsion for taking pictures of flowers. My wife wasn't able to plant any flowers this year in our garden, so we'll only have the perennials. So, I decided that I would take pictures of all the cool wildflowers that I saw in Waterton.





This last one is the world famous Alberta Wild Rose, I believe. What do you mean you've never heard of it. Wild Rose country? Doesn't ring a bell? Ah well, I suppose I can't blame you. I wouldn't have known if I hadn't been there.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What I Saw When I Was On Vacation 3

In Waterton, there was a lot of perty water features, like Cameron Lake:


And Red Rock Canyon:


And Cameron Falls:


And Blakiston Falls:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What I Saw When I Was On Vacation 2

In Waterton, We also came across two bears. I only managed to get a picture of one of them though.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What I Saw When I Was On Vacation

When I was on vacation, we went to Waterton National Park in Canada. There were several intrepid squirrels there, who feared not human beings...






If only I knew an animal, like, guru of sorts that could tell me what kind of squirrels these were. Alas...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Here You Go


A beautiful sunset for you. Now don't say I never did anything for you.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Really!?



Yeah, I thought that too. 70% off plus take another 30% off, so that must make these clothes free, right?

Well, the girl that worked at the store assured me that was not the case. She also assured me that I wasn't the first jagoff who had asked her that same question. You had to be good at algebra to figure out your price on this one. You take your original price, we'll call it X, and take 70% off, then take that resultant price, (X - 70%) and take 30% of that. It looks like they had enough annoying folks like me asking about it that they worked it out for us on the sign. That's good, because I don't think I'm smart enough to work it out even if they gave me a calculator.

It's a sad statement on the state of the economy that 100% off was still not enough of a deal for me to buy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Dad Is Smarter Than Your Dad

The other day, my daughter was complaining about a fight she'd had with a neighbor kid. She told us that she was mad at the kid, so she insisted that he get of our "proferty." She became extra mad at him when he wouldn't get off our "proferty."

It devolved into meaner things. This kid had the gall to say, "My dad is smarter than your dad."

My daughter admitted, "I don't even think that's true."

"Oh, really," I said, "You don't think his dad is smarter than me?" I wondered what she might use as an example of my intelligence. What was it that I had said or done that had proven to her how smart I am?

"No," she said, "He has a really small head. He can't be as smart as you. Your head is really big."

Apparently, being a fathead is good for something. I may have to put my hats on the last clasp to fit them on my head, but it makes me smarter than my little-headed neighbor.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Marketing Failures

Yeah, that's right, I said marketing failures, not marketing fail. I'm not a programmer, I'm a wannabe writer. I can't bring myself to use the word fail as a noun.

Anyway, I found these two products in my bathroom recently, and I had to bring them to your attention, because they disturb me greatly. First:


Yes, that is a "Not Your Mother's" brand hair cream called "Kinky Moves." It's supposed to give your hair that cute curliness that you've been wanting, you know, nice kinky hair. Now I don't know about you, but something called Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves does not bring anything but the creepiest images to my mind. Could anyone possibly feel any different? Who was the marketing genius who thought, "Let's call it 'Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves' because you know, the kids will latch on to that one, right?" Or is it just that they never put the two together. No one ever said the brand name and product name in one sentence, so they never got the problem that comes with it.

All I know is that I don't even want to consider what my mother's kinky moves might be. And worse yet, this stuff belongs to my wife. I want even less to consider what my mother-in-law's kinky moves might be.

Now here's the other thing I found in my bathroom:


There it is, Bodycology brand Body Butter. What the frick is body butter?!?!! What is body butter made from!!?? Real butter is some sort of curdled milk product, right? So...body butter is curdled...what? What liquid substance from the body did they harvest to make this body butter? And why would anyone want to purchase it?

The funny thing is, despite all my ranting, I found these products in MY BATHROOM, not on a store shelf. So, apparently, the marketing still worked.