Posts Tagged ‘humorous storytelling’

It’s all fun and games, until you end up in the blog

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

If my dad is adamant about one thing, it’s that he doesn’t want to show up in the blog…which is a sorry shame, because I would have so much more material if he would ease up on that rule.

What a photogenic bunch. (And Dad, if this is a problem, Photoshop some other heads onto yours and send it to me, and I'll replace it!)

What a photogenic bunch. (And Dad, if this is a problem, Photoshop some other heads onto yours, and I'll replace it!)

Regardless, I still have to tell you this little story (and I don’t think it makes anyone look bad, so hopefully I won’t get in trouble for doing so!)

After a quick break, a slight digression: Have you ever gone to the bathroom and tried and tried to zip your jeans only to realize they’re already zipped? How the hell did that happen? How did I get them off and back on zipped up? Or did I zip them somehow without ever consciously realizing it? Weird.

So back to the story, we’re here in Wildwood and (to everyone’s chagrin) there’s some kind of motorcycle rally in town, called Roar to the Shore (Not to be confused with Roar at the Shore in Erie, PA. The shore being Lake Erie, I suppose, which is actually kind of sad. I’m not into trying to convince myself that a lake – no matter how large – is the same thing as being at the shore).

Point being, there’s an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 rough-looking people on a mix of motorcycles and choppers, and if you’ve ever seen Gimme Shelter, you have a healthy respect for (and certain amount of fear of) the Hell’s Angels.

This is what you get when your brother takes pictures for you. This is the best shot of the bunch. Unfortunately.

This is what you get when your brother takes pictures for you. This is the best shot of the bunch. Unfortunately.

However, before they got here and started intimidating us (or me, anyway. I have no idea if anyone else is intimidated, but I figure any man in his sixties in a 100% leather outfit and wispy white  hair down to his butt is trying to warn me that he’s got some screws loose. And the lady with the Cruella de Ville hair? Also trying to send me a message akin to a fluorescent orange frog to a potential predator. I have been warned, and I will heed said warning). So anyway, before they all got here, we were checking out the convention center where they were setting up for the festivities.

I personally have never been to a convention where there’s a Jack Daniels semi-truck offering ‘free tours’ (free bourbon???), but I guess that would be a tough sell at a banking convention (or maybe not. Some of those people can throw them back like you wouldn’t believe. One of the drunkest nights of my life occurred at the Bank Administration Institute’s Retail Delivery conference in New Orleans. I spent the next day barfing in the convention center bathroom…but not before drunk dialing my boss. True story.)

Anyway, if you’ve ever wondered why I’m so sarcastic and inappropriate, I’ll have you know you can blame it on my family.

You see, there’s a Miss Roar to the Shore Biker Babe contest, and my dad is egging me on to enter it. Actually, to be fair – and accurate – he’s urging me to be a double winner (“Everybody loves a double winner!!!”) and take that trophy as well as a Walking Poker Run (whatever that means. How can you walk and run and play poker at the same time?)

Then, in jest, he was trying to get my brother to change his flight to stay and support me.

“Just tell them, my sister is in a wet t-shirt contest, so I have to change my flight. It’s going to be classic!”

Then there was some discussion of my dad’s girlfriend going up against me (with the pseudonym of Candy, due to her passionate love of The Fudge Kitchen), but I’ll stop the anecdote right there to protect the innocent.

Unfortunately, my dreams of being Biker Babe 2009 are probably not going to come true for a number of reasons:

1. I don’t own a leather (or even a pleather) bikini.

2. I don’t have a single tattoo, and the only temporary tattoos I could find featured fairies.

3. I’m afraid of bikers.

The t-shirt looked a lot like this. Except it was a drawing. And there was foam around his mouth. But you get the idea.

The t-shirt looked a lot like this. Except it was a drawing. And there was foam around his mouth. But you get the idea.

I’d rather this town was hosting a wild mongrel dog convention than a biker convention. I’d feel less intimidated. Nonetheless, in the spirit of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” I went in search of some clothing that might help me fit in. Although I found a t-shirt with a horrible, scary, snarling Rottweiler with a spiked collar and the words “Till Death Do Us Part” (What the hell does that mean? Because from the looks of that dog, one of us is about to die any minute now),  I ended up buying some Cookie Monster booty shorts instead (blue shorts with the Cookie Monster’s face on the butt. Very mature and appropriate for fine restaurants) and red child’s hoodie (that fits me perfectly! And for only $12 because it’s kids clothes. This could revolutionize my clothing budget), which is probably proof of a latent desire to not fit in with that crowd.

If anything (reviewing what I just read above), it sounds more like I’m trying to fit in with the elementary school set instead. Emotionally, that’s about right. As I’ve already told you, I have the taste of a 12-year old boy. The other upside? At least I’d live through competing to be “Miss Sesame Street 2009″ without getting shanked…

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I feel it in the air, the summer’s out of reach

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Dammit!!!

It IS out of reach! It’s slipping through my very fingers as I type these words.

I’m heartbroken and grief-stricken: How did Summer figure out it’s September!?

Who told her!?!?

I thought I firmly instructed you to say nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip.

Traitors!!! All of you!!!

This is maybe a LITTLE more sun than I need. But only a little.

This is maybe a LITTLE more sun than I need. But only a little.

Okay, okay. Sorry about that. I’ve composed myself. Seriously though, who does that woman think she is? It’s only September 7th, for crying out loud.

Why did she already start passing the baton to Fall? And when I tried so hard to fool her: Hiding the fallen pine needles and random leaves in my pants. Sleeping with the windows open and nearly freezing to death. Braving some highly unpleasant and distinctly northerly winds (was that snow???) in a bikini.  And, who can forget, slathering on SPF 50 even though there was zero trace of Summer’s warm, happy sun?

And all this pretending and posturing and outright lying and for WHAT?

Another freaking winter, that’s what.

(Dear Hawaii: Save a place for me at the table.)

Meanwhile, it’s ironic that I’m quoting The Boys of Summer, because I have always hated Don Henley’s The Boys of Summer. I think it has something to do with the melody, and definitely there’s a long-standing beef with the synthesized noise of seagulls.

Seriously, who would want to listen to seagulls if you don’t have to?

It’s not even like they’re localized to the sea anymore. Seagulls are as equal-opportunity as pigeons.

Don’t believe me? Name any American lake, and listen for the hideous squawk.

Lake Michigan? Seagulls.

Lake Mead? Seagulls.

The Great Salt Lake? Seagulls.

A large puddle at your average Wal-Mart? Seagulls.

Speaking of which, I got crapped on by a seagull yesterday, and I am so not making that up. I wish I was, but it’s the 100% USDA-certified truth.

What’s white and brown and warm all over? My crotch and upper thigh area. (Sorry. Is that horribly vulgar? I now realize it is – which wasn’t my intent at the time – but now that it’s written I find it a wee bit funny, and I’m kind of inclined to leave it.)

So back to the non-vile point, it was not a small amount of crap either – a solid two tablespoons/half a shot worth. Admittedly, I was sitting on the beach and there’s a certain amount of risk inherent. At the same time, it seemed like there was more than enough unoccupied sand to use for target practice, in lieu of my privates.

Jerk seagulls.

I’ve heard people say that if a bird poops on you, it’s good luck. If you ask me, that’s rationalization in its purest form.

Some random lame thing happened to you?

That’s a sign that some random good thing is going to happen to you!!!

As if.

Moreover, as further proof to my pudding, nothing particularly good happened to me yesterday in light of my bird crap shower.

Oh well.

At least I’ve still got the disenfranchised Boys of Summer (who are these boys, really? Punk teens? Guidos? Old men with metal detectors [given the name in jest]?) to keep me company through the short, cold days and dark nights ahead…

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Some people

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

As if we needed further proof that people are nuts…or easily angered…or both, along comes this guy to make my day.

“Who is this man?” you ask. Well, let’s do some deductive reasoning together.

They say your nose and ears keep growing your entire life, and obviously they do.

They say your nose and ears keep growing your entire life, and obviously they do.

Look at this snarly mug. Does this man look angry?

Yes! Yes, he does!

Does he look like he forgot to take his meds?

Right again!

And does he look like a man capable of delivering a beat down onto a stranger’s two-year old child in a Georgia Wal-Mart?

Well, it should, because he did.

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – Police say a 61-year-old man annoyed with a crying 2-year-old girl at a Walmart slapped the child several times after warning the toddler’s mother to keep her quiet.

A police report says after the stranger hit the girl at least four times, he said: “See, I told you I would shut her up.”

Roger Stephens of Stone Mountain is charged with felony cruelty to children. It was unclear if he had an attorney and a telehpone call to his home Wednesday was unanswered.

Authorities say the girl and her mother were shopping Monday when the toddler began crying. The police report says Stephens approached the mother and said, “If you don’t shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you.”

Authorities say after Stephens slapped the girl, she began screaming.

I think the saddest sentence of this article is the last one, because it highlights the audacity of arrogance: Here this man was bragging about his ability to shut up babies, and when given a chance (or seizing a chance…either way) to demonstrate his skill, he failed miserably and made the baby even MORE upset. And then he decided to applaud his failed efforts by tossing a saucy, “See, I told you I would shut her up,” out for all to hear.

But you didn’t, Roger. You didn’t shut her up, you made her scream more.

On the other hand, just looking at him, maybe he didn’t know the difference? Or maybe general screaming sounded more pleasant to him than whining for cookies? It stands to reason he hasn’t had much contact with kids. Or at least I hope he hasn’t.

At the same time, there is a silver lining to be had. Now I’m not saying the toddler deserved this, but let’s break it down objectively here:

1. Kids are annoying. You know they are. You’ve met kids. You may even have kids. In either case, I can guarantee you’ve been annoyed by kids. And if you haven’t? Watch two minutes of that “Nanny 911″ show (whatever it’s called where the British nanny comes and straightens out the hopeless, raising a brood of horrifically spoiled brat parents) and prepare to be ANNOYED. Look, I’m not picking on kids: We were all kids once. We were all annoying. I’m not saying they’re ALWAYS annoying and don’t have their cute or charming moments, I’m just saying that a screaming two-year old – no matter how you slice it – is annoying.

2. In a way, Roger Stephens, Wal-Mart shopper and occasional looney toon, was doing this toddler a favor. The next time she sees a face like that? She’ll know what to do: Shut up and get the hell out of Dodge as fast as humanly possible. There’s no need to lecture this little one on ‘good touch’ or ‘bad touch’ or ‘getting a funny feeling about people.’ Just remind her about that time she was at Wal-Mart, and was physically assualted by a stranger, and she’s good to go.

3. In my opinion, any time you enter a Wal-Mart you really are on your own. All bets are off. Never wanted to see a 400-pound woman in a halter top? Too bad, because there’s one waiting for you by the toilet paper. Have no desire to be hit on by a toothless man in his 80s? That’s a shame, because there’s one hovering around the mangos hoping to pretend that he doesn’t know whether they’re a fruit or a vegetable in order to extract unnecessary cooking advice from you as part of a poorly constructed come-on. Don’t want to be bitten by a pygmy rattlesnake? Well, as we’ve all learned, stay out of Wal-Mart, because you are shooting your odds way up, baby.

And as for you, Roger Stephens (whose name I keep typing as Gary Stephens for some unknown reason)?
I can’t wait to see you making the talk show circuit once you get let out of jail. I’m sure there’s someone somewhere that’s interested in your views on child psychology and will extend your 15 minutes just that much more! Yay for America!

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Some thoughts on nature

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Not all nature, actually. Just bugs.

Not even all bugs, in fact. Just vespidae.

You see, part of my process for getting through this book (and writing anywhere from ten to sixteen pages a day) is that I go outside and lay in the sun. I am such a big fan of our solar system’s star, that just being outside soaking up its heat is reward in itself (hopefully the reward stays a reward and doesn’t decide to punish me with a nice case of melanoma. On the upside, I’m one of those people who tans like a fiend and almost never burns. The summer I was 18, I went to Florida for a couple months. When I got home, I was so dark my high school boyfriend didn’t know who I was when I showed up at his door, and later compared me to ‘Pocahontas.” This would make sense if I was Latina or something, but I’m actually [as you may already know] half Irish, quarter Czech, and quarter Lithuanian…so go figure).

Anyway, the second upside of the whole outside lounge chair sunbathing writing thing is that I can’t get wifi out there. If writing a novel has one nemesis, it is the evil known as the Internet: Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo Mail, Wikipedia, online window shopping (I have no money, so I’m reduced to filling a shopping basket with things I would like…and then abandoning it. Considering how many clothes I already have, this is actually a win/win/win situation for me, my wallet, and my closet.) Anyway, when I’m outside I can’t f-ck around.

Something like this is hanging under pretty much every surface within a ten-mile radius of my house.

Something like this is hanging under pretty much every surface within a ten-mile radius of my house.

On the other hand, nature poses its own unique challenge to my daily task (minus weekends when I do not write, lest I lose my mind).

Specifically, wasps.

Paper wasps, to be exact.

I know this, because I spent last summer thinking they were yellow jackets, and killing them on sight. And then for some reason, I suddenly felt bad about that. And, considering the rampant pet death/disappearance in my life, I also developed an issue with all the Raid or related bug poisons.

So anyway, I ended up getting on my old buddy – The Internets – and learned that my primary foe is not yellow jackets (who build their nests underground and are in the neighborhood, but not a particular problem in my yard) but paper wasps. Paper wasps make these delicate nests that (when you beat them down with a tennis racquet) are wildly intricate and seem to be made of a grayish paper. Moreover, they’re not completely nonfunctional and vile pests like yellow jackets (which are totally useless and in a category occupied in my mind by cockroaches, silverfish, and the aliens from Alien.)

The paper wasps are here because they’re eating caterpillar, flies, and beetle larvae, and they are here because many of my neighbors have backyards that I refer to as ‘weed farms.’ So the insects are here for the weeds, and the wasps are here for the insect. Voila. The circle of life.

Thus, because I try to be respectful of such circles of life, this year I am on a campaign to let the paper wasps live. And they are not just living, they are THRIVING. Which, at long last, brings me to the lament behind this post: Now, when I sit outside for an hour or so every day as a reward during the final hour or two of book writing, I find myself covered in wasps.

And I do mean covered.

Seriously.

They walk all over me.

And it’s light and itchy in that vague way a stray hair or house fly walking on you is…but it’s a WASP.

Here's another one. They're bee-ish...but they're not bees. Wasps don't pollinate.

Here's another one. They're bee-ish...but they're not bees. Wasps don't pollinate.

So everything I’ve read says they’re not aggressive (and I would generally agree), but they are ridiculously fascinated by me. Or just trying to intimidate me. Or something.

And then I worry that they might just spontaneously sting me just for sport or just because I’m there or smell weird or just because they can.

And it’s not the pain of the sting (and make no mistake. The stings hurt. I’ve been stung three times this summer), it’s the five days of itching that accompany it. The itching is so intense that I have woken up more than once having scratched myself until I bled. The itching is UNREAL.

And thus, my thought on nature is that it sucks.

You try to be nice to the wasps, and in return they walk all over you.

Ain’t it always the way?

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So this is kind of weird

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

I’ve been having these strange episodes every day around 3pm where I become so exhausted I have to nap. And I never nap.

In fact, I think there’s a whole blog post about how much I hate napping.

But my body doesn’t care that I hate napping. It just goes into full shut down like a laptop with a worn out battery. Basically, my body starts an automatic hibernation process and refuses to take no for an answer.

So anyway, I’m presuming that’s some lingering after effect of last week’s e. Coli nightmare, and some type of recuperating/healing…and thus that’s not the weird thing I’m referencing in the title.

The weird thing is that I was sitting outside yesterday trying to get my 12 pages done (I’ve upped my daily quota on my book to 12 pages so that I can absolutely be done next Friday and then immediately get down to the business of editing), and I suddenly realized that I was falling asleep and had to shut my eyes for a minute. Okay, that’s not weird either, that’s the ‘new normal,’ but the weird thing is coming. I swear it is.

So I was on my stomach on the lawn chair and fell asleep in one of those light, still kind of aware of what’s going on around you ways – although to my shock, I later realized that I managed to burn through an hour like that –  and heard a noise that sounded like something in my beach bag might’ve fallen over. Since my computer was there, perched semi-precariously in the bag, I propped myself up on my elbows to see what was going on.

It looked like this. Except it's beak was pointed at the sky.

It looked like this. Except it's beak was pointed at the sky.

Everything looked normal EXCEPT about two feet from my head, sitting on the concrete was a robin. And without my glasses on, I can’t see jack sh*t, and so my brain pasted the face of my dog on the face of this robin. Generally speaking, my dog’s face isn’t terribly descriptive. It’s bright white with two little beady eyes (they’re a beautiful amber color, but let’s be honest here: In proportion to the size of his skull, they’re kind of small and thus I feel ‘beady’ is an accurate description) and a big black nose and sometimes a pink-tongued smile. But not always. And the non-smiling version was what seemed to be looking at me from this bird’s face.

So I sat there and ‘looked’ at that for a while (which was rather surreal), and wondered if this was some kind of strange spiritual messenger and why had it taken the form of a hybrid between my dog and a bird, and then decided that enough was enough and I needed to get my glasses and see what was really going on here, because even if it was just a common robin, why wasn’t it flying away?

So I sat up slowly and reached over and got my glasses and the whole time the robin just sat there, literally within reaching distance, and I restored my vision and realized it had it’s beak straight up in the air. It was a small robin, and it’s chest was orange-ish with lots of brown spots all over it. (And in my hunt for a suitable likeness online, I have learned it was a juvenile robin.)

(more…)

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