Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm backkkkkkkkkk!


I'm not going to lie and say I'm happy to be back from vacation (especially since I have to be back at work tomorrow and I have a dentist appointment). It is difficult to return to reality and have to actually pay for things instead of signing for them.

But as the song says, I will survive.

Oh, I'm sure I won't get much sympathy from any of you. So what if I got a bit too much of the sun and look a bit like lucifer's spawn. You aren't shedding any tears are you?

Anyway, I just wanted to say hello, I'm back and that I missed my blog friends. But right now I've got to unpack.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Viva Dizgraceland



As many of you may have suspected, I have been unable to blog because I have been kidnapped by a Mariachi band and forced to stroll around this cruise ship singing incomprehensible things. It's an okay gig, but I'm getting tired of singing La Bamba.

Actually the cruise has been pretty keen and Tess and I have been having a great time (though I did have to endure a 20 minute monologue about oatmeal by the guy at the next table this morning at breakfast...more about this when I get back). I did just want to drop a short blog to all of my blogworld friends to let you know I am still kicking. Blogging at sea isn't as easy as I would have hoped. I can't really upload photos. But I promise to share all 400 photos I've taken as soon as we are home.

Sorry, have to run. Bingo is about to start. It's bling bling night and I want to win some gold chains.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Look ma, I'm a pirate!


Swashbuckler: An Elizabethan youth or ruffian often predisposed to street fight and duel, so called by the "swashing" sound created by sword and buckler on the belt as the youth swaggered about town. More likely derived from any person who roved the town, usually in gangs, hitting his sword against his buckler as a way of challenging innocent passers-bye to a fight. The term "swash" also has more than one meaning. In older English swish or swishing, meant "to hit". ...
I am a swashbuckler in my heart. I'm not a fighter, though. I have never considered myself a bully. So maybe I am the a romanticized version of a swashbuckler in my heart. Well, maybe a pirate. I would probably dress like a pirate if I didn't think I would look like an idiot or worse yet, Prince. I also think it would be cool to walk around with a sword. At the very least, I would get my own seat on the bus.

The whole pirate theme is prompted because Tess and I are going on an 8-day Mexico cruise this Monday. And although real pirates probably didn't have a chocolate buffet, cruising always puts me in the mood to sing sea chanties and fantasy about sailing the seven seas (not the salad dressing).

I love being on the water. I love cruising. Tess and I got married on a cruise ship last April. The sea is in my blood (along with fat and cholesteral from fine dining). Cruising is a great way for me to satisfy my love of sailing without having to deal with the hassle and expense of owning a boat. Not that I know how to sail. But I know how to cruise.

My biggest pet peeve with cruising, however, is the people. First time cruisers are the worst. For one, they complain about everything. You'll hear them bitching about the boat rocking, the cabin size, the food and the entertainment. They complain about the crew, the ship and the shore excursions. But you can bet they are the ones with four plates each at the buffet stuffing their pieholes with more food than a small family could consume in a week.

If you can overlook the people (no small feat on a ship with close to 3,000 people on it), cruising is just fine by me. I love sitting on the verandah staring at the water. Sometimes I'll pop awake at sunrise and stand out there watching the sun come up over a nice tropical harbor. It's a little slice of heaven that I will gladly go back for a second helping of.

I may or may not blog while at sea. There will be an Internet cafe but as with everything on a cruise, you pay dearly for the price of staying connected to the mainland. Regardless, I will very likely be accumulating tons of blogging material over the next week and I plan to take tons of photos.

So I leave you with this sentiment, "Arggg...."

Friday, February 17, 2006

That was Zen, this is now


In the not too distant past, I was a Buddhist. I knelt. I chanted. I burned incense and I sought inner peace and enlightenment. It hurt my knees.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciated the Buddhist philosophy and admire those who walk the path. But ultimately it didn't turn on the lightbulb for me. I think most of my friends and family were relieved when I stopped chanting (I became dis-en-chanted, so to speak).

Being a Buddhist was just one of the spiritual paths I experimented with. Having been raised a Christian Scientist, I'd been exposed to the philosophy of spiritual healing. That held my attention until I was 16. When New Age philosophy became popular, I tried crystals, Creative Guided Meditation, astrology, Tarot, Runes, palm readers, and floatation tanks. The Buddhist phase came after that.

Somewhere in there I went through several types of therapy with several counselors and psychologists to help me understand the relationships I drifted in and out as sought meaning out of my life. At various times, I took designer anti-depressants. I read self help books and books about Quantum physics. I listened to subliminal tapes and chanted self-affirmations as much in the same way I'd chanted as a Buddhist.

It was all part of my search for the truth or a truth. And did I find it? Nawwwww. But I did discover that much of the urgency and feeling of being lost that I experienced in my youth softened as I got older. I discovered that the easiest way to find something is stop looking so hard. That's when I just sat back in my recliner and relaxed.

I may have not found the truth, but somehow I've found a bit of peace (and my remote control).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dance, monkey, dance...


"Blogging is like prostitution. First you do if for love, and then for a few close friends and then for comments."
--Moliere (sort of)

This quote fits the dilemma many bloggers face these days. Do we blog because we enjoy it, or are we hooked on the comments.

I tell myself I write just for me. If that was truly the case, the best thing to do would be to just turn off the comment function and just blog along without worrying about it. But this interactive writing we've plunged ourselves into can be very seductive.

Most of the time we don't think about the person behind the words we read. You'll read the newspaper or a magazine and, unless it is a columnist with a byline and photo, the writer is no more relevant than the paper the things are printed on. And forget about the copywriters paid to write cereal boxes and instructions for electric razors.

So just imagine what it is like to finally write something where people suddenly acknowledge that there is a person behind the curtain. As a professional copywriter that is both exhilerating and terrifying. It's like standing naked on the Interstate (not that it has ever been proved that I have done that).

Everybody wants to be acknowledged. There is nothing wrong with that. But blogging opens the door for more than acknowledgement. Allowing comments on your blog from total strangers can be the electronic equivalent of wearing a "kick me" sign on your back. I personally have been fortunate not to have attracted trolls -- the online version of a heckler. I suppose it is a matter of time, however, when one will wander in here and think everything I am writing is directed at them. I'll deal with it when it happens.

The real downside of comments is not getting them. There have been times when I've posted what I personally have thought was Pulizer Prize winning material and sat back to bask in the compliments. And humiliations of all humilations, no one says a word about it. It is a humbling experience. But it has also taught me not to take silence or positive feedback too seriously.

What I like about blogging is the freedom to experiment. In the real writing world, you don't get that opportunity unless you are a well established author with financial freedom to back up your whims. Stephen King is a perfect example (and he/she reads my blog to get new material). He writes whatever he wants now.

Blogging allows unsuccessful writers such as myself the luxury of playing around with words AND graphics. I am also a frustrated artist. But if you visit here every now and then you know that by now.

The biggest challenge for me is blogging despite comments or lack of them. Anyone who has ever undertaken a creative endeavor understands that there is a certain amount of discipline required to force yourself to produce material on a regular basis whether you feel like it or not.

Those times when I've produced something I really like and no one else seems to respond are discouraging. I have been tempted to throw tantrums and just not write. "I'll show them," I whine to myself. "I won't blog anymore until they appreciate me." Then I gently say to myself, "Tim, you are full of shit. " I like to write. I like to post photos I create. If I didn't blog, I would only be depriving myself of something I enjoy.

So comments or not, I'll write and I'll post photos. Because this monkey dances whether he gets a banana or not.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Pssssst....


Hey, you. Yeah you. What are you staring at? You never see a blog before? Take a picture, it lasts longer.

Wait. Stop. Don't go away. I was only kidding. Come back here....yeah...okay. Let's start over. Sit down. How are you? Hmmm...yawn. That's interesting.

Well, enough about you. This is my blog. How do you like it? Some call it a Blego, but I prefer to just think of it as a blog. What's a Blego? My, you don't get out in the Blogosphere much do you?

Blego: a combination of the words Blog and Ego, used to describe the
actions of bloggers who write as to their own self worth

blego
(Slang) the blogging self; I the blogger
Usage in reference to self promotion on, or as part of, blogs.
I'm bored. Let's talk about me again. Did I tell you I was the baby of the family. Yes, two older brothers. Want to see my baby pictures. Wait...where are you going? Don't leave. We can talk about you. Tell me something about yourself.

La, la, la, la....Everyone seems to like chocolate. Not me. Well, not alot of it. I watch my fat and sugar intake. Did I tell you I save my toenail clippings?

Sorry...what were you were saying about yourself? Did I ask you whether you blog? What's the URL. I could blogroll you. Wait, don't get the wrong idea. I realize we just met, but I feel as if I have known you for ages. You really seem to understand me.

Stop, no, don't leave....shit. There went another one. Oh well. Somebody else will show up.




Hey, you. Yeah you. What are you staring at? You never see a blog before? Take a picture, it lasts longer.

No, stop, I was just kidding...do you want to see some photos of my cats?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Eat your heart out Hallmark



It may not be a pretty sight, but I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, February 13, 2006

A nose for romance


I know I come across as a slightly acidic and cynical curmudeon, but deep down I, Tim-Elvis have a romantic soul. For one, I have always had this soft spot in my heart for the play, Cyrano de Bergerac, the tragic comedy by Edmond Rostand.

You know Cyrano de Bergerac...expert swordsman and accomplished poet during the time of Louis XIV (please tell me you have heard of him, because I really don't have the time or energy to start another blog). If it helps, Steve Martin did a modern version of it in 1987 called Roxanne. Daryl Hannah played Roxanne.

The plot is classic. Cyrano is in love with his beautiful cousin Roxanne but is afraid to tell her because, although he his a soldier, poet and nobleman, his tragic flaw is that he has a rather large nose. When he finally gets the nerve to tell her, she heads off his confession by telling him of her own infatuation for a handsome young soldier named Christian. She begs for Cyrano to find out if Christian likes her. So Cyrano nobly approaches Christian and confirms the fact, but discovers that Christian may be eye candy, but he is as sharp as a river rock when it comes to romancing a woman. Cyrano volunteers to feed Christian poetic lines to say to Roxanne. Roxanne falls head over heels in love with Christian because of Cyrano's words. They marry, but Christian is killed soon after in battle. Years later, Roxanne discovers that it was actually Cyrano that wrote the words she fell in love with. But it is too late. Cryano is dying of a head wound inflicted by a load of wood being dropped on his head from a scaffolding.

Sounds like an episode of Desperate Housewives, doesn't it?

Anyway, when I was 15-years old, my high school band was entertaining at half time of a then Los Angeles Ram's football game and we were spending a week in southern California. Going to a play at the Los Angeles music center was part of the cultural experience that helped justify the trip. That play was, you guessed it, Cyrano de Bergerac starring Richard Chamberlain as Cyrano. Joan Van Ark played Roxanne. I was enthralled by the performance. Most of my bandmates, however (and the chaperones), were asleep by the second act.

Why was I so impressed by Cyrano de Bergerac? Because my geeky 15-year-old- going-through puberty self related to feeling like a hero on the inside and thinking I was ugly on the outside. Cyrano gave me hope that someday, I'd find a Roxanne that would fall in love with my beautiful soul in spite of my not so beautiful body.

I spent most of my early junior high and high school years having crushes on girls from afar. My lack of athletic prowess and shy nature didn't help. I did discover that, since I was a pretty good student, I could at least get girls to talk to me if I offered to write essays or do math homework. I didn't go to any school dances, but I did get to talk to some of the most popular girls in school on the phone quite regularly (to talk through homework assignments).

On time in particular stands out in my mind to this day. I was a sophmore in high school. For a couple of years I'd had a crush on Traci M. I'd known her since junior high. She'd been a cheerleader, gymnast, honor society and class president. She came from a well to do family on the right side of the tracks. In my mind, Traci was Roxanne and Tim-Cyrano wrote a heck of alot of papers for her. But I also kept a firm grip on the reality that girls like Traci didn't date skinny band geeks, good grades or not.

One night Traci called me to talk about a humanities assignment. I thought nothing of it. In between discussions of some Nathanial Hawthorne short story we chatted about the upcoming Christmas Dance. She asked me who I was taking. I told her I had asked a girl, but her parents wouldn't let her date until she was 16. Traci then said the unthinkable to me. She said, "You could take me to the dance." And what was my response? I laughed.

It didn't occur to me that should might have been serious. After I stopped laughing, she said something to the effect of, "Well I guess that is a no." We then got back to our discussion of Nathanial Hawthorne.

When I got off the phone, the magnitude of what had happened hit me. Traci, one of the most popular girls in our school had in essence said I could take her to a prom and I'd laughed in her face. I rationalized (and I do to this day) that she probably was kidding. But a door had opened and I had stood there at the threshold of shrugging off my geekness. And I'd laughed. The door closed and I went to practise my bass clarinet.

I'm sure incident is only significant in my memory. I doubt Traci would remember me today if we ran in to each other. What is more important is that I learned something about myself in that moment (beyond that I can be an idiot). I learned how powerful and disabilitating our own self-image can be. Just maybe, after spending time with me talking about homework, Traci saw something inside of me. Unfortunately I only saw that reflection in the mirror.

Fortunately, as I've grown older, experience (and less time staring in the mirror) have helped me be unite Cyrano with the poet within. And even more fortunately my true Roxanne came along and fell in love with my words and my nose.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I write a blog



Seems like it's been forever,
Since I wrote my very first Blog.
I put the words and the graphics together,
I am a geek,
Coz I write a blog.

I write a Blog that makes the whole world cringe.
I write a Blog to loath about stupid things.
I write a Blog that makes the young girls cry.
I write a Blog,
I write a Blog.

My homepage takes up lots of bandwidth,
But I’ve got my own place on the Web.
Now, when I look at my blog through your eyes,
The jokes seem young again, even though they're very old.

Chorus
Oh my words can make you wince
And nothing I say will ever convince,
That I have much of anything to say.
I know it's not really art,
But, that’s a real fine place to start.
It’s from me it’s for you,
It’s from you, it’s from me,
It’s a world wide Web-ony!

Chorus
I think I'm amusing, coz I write a blog.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Statistically speaking


Do you know that more than 30,000 people a day stop by Dizgraceland to string together the pearls of wisdom I am shucking for you? Here's a chart showing weekly hits:


That number is growing by at least 5 percent a week. At this rate, I should have more than 360,000 readers by the end of a year (or more precisely 361,233.1).

That is pretty darned impressive, isn't it? Well, not really. It's a crock of crapola. I made it up, including the chart. I'm lucky if I get a hundred hits a day and most of them are misdirected fans looking for Elvis.

But my pitiful Web traffic isn't the point. The point is how easily people accept statistics as the truth. The problem is that every statistic has an equal and opposite statistic that counters it. I have therefore come to the conclusion that there is no proof for anything.

This may seem like a bold statement, but just google a search for any arguement and you'll find outrageous claims for both sides. What more or less triggered my diatribe on statistics was an episode of Penn and Teller's Bullshit I watched last night about the debate over secondhand smoke.

I began watching the program skeptical that even Penn and Teller could pooh pooh all of the obvious data available that smokers are killing everyone within a 25-foot radius of them with secondhand smoke. But they essentially point out that the only research available citing any data about secondhand smoke was a 1993 EPA report that, according to Penn and Teller, was (pardon the pun) blowing smoke up our preverbial butt. A federal court even ruled that the report was flawed.

Don't get me wrong. I have no love for cigarette smoke. But let's not ban smoking based on bogus statistics. Let's be honest and ban cigarettes because we want to be smug about not being one of the poor addicted people who has to scurry out into the rain to inhale addictive yet satisfying carcinegins.

Every day we are bombarded with statistics stating we should and shouldn't eat eggs, butter, red meat, sugar, flour, cheese, or marbles (I just threw that in). Alcohol is bad for us, but red wine prevents heart disease. Exercise is good for you unless you die of a heart attack while engaged in it. Rubbing a rabbit's foot is good luck (unless you are the rabbit it came from). Eating at McDonalds makes you fat or eating at McDonalds makes you thin.

Let's face it. Statistically speaking, there is no such thing as the truth. At least I'm 99.9 percent sure of that.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Living the Life Quixotic

In response to a suggestion that "Maybe you could blog the entire book for me, one line at a time. I haven't read a good book since taking up this preoccupation [blogging]" I have created yet another new blog called Living the Life Quixotic. In it I plan to blog the entire text of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. In the interest of time, I will post one paragraph at a time including a sentence by sentence commentary.

Why am I doing this? As with many of the "must read books," I have never actually read Don Quixote. Maybe after I'm done blogging it, I'll take on some of the other great works on those reading lists you ignored in high school and college. I will not, however, blog Herman Melville's Moby Dick. I actually read that boring piece of crap several years ago and blogging one paragraph at a time would require more than my lifetime to complete.

In the course of blogging Don Quixote, I may at times intersperse the collected works of Carlos Casteneda and his tales of Don Juan. I have read those books, so I'm not sure what the point would be other than to dispell the myth that there is any secret meaning to be gleaned from them.

With that said, I invite you to visit Living the Life Quixotic and read the first riveting paragraph of Cervantes Don Quixote.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Windmills or giants?


If you are familiar with Cervantes then you are probably familiar with Don Quixote. One of the important contributions of Don Quixote was that he (a fictional character by the way) spawned the word "quixotic." It means "idealistic and impractical."

I have always identified with Don Quixote.

Just in case you haven't read the novel Don Quixote (or seen the musical version, Man of la Mancha) the plot is relatively simple. Alonso Quijano is a low level noble living in Spain in the early 1600s. He is obsessed with stories of knights errant (essentially knights in shining armor riding around doing good deeds). Unfortunately the era of the knight errant has passed. Unwilling to accept this, Alonso decides to become one (or thinks he is one). He renames himself Don Quixote (Don being a higher class noble and Quixote being a piece of armor). A motivational consultant would have considered this a positive move to reinvent one's self. A less positive view would be that Don Quixote's wheel was spinning but the hamster had died.

Of course Don Quixote's family thinks he is a major whack job, especially when he rides off on a skinny horse with Sancho Panza, his servent, to find adventure. One of the most famous adventures he has is attacking a windmill because he believes it to be a giant (this is where the phrase, "tilting with windmills" comes from).

Don Quixote was written as a parody of the chilvalric romances that were popular at the time. So Don Quixote was not really intended as a character one necessarily should identify with. But he is one of my heroes. Because I choose to believe Don Quixote attacks the windmill not because it is a giant, but because it just might be.

Romantic concept isn't it? In his own myoptic fashion, Don Quixote represents this pure idealist that forges ahead even in the face of a dismal reality of a world that no longer has room for heroes. But is it really madness to want to believe in a world that meets your ideals rather than accept the "real" one that falls short? I think it is kind of cool, myself.

Does this mean I'm quixotic? And by admitting to being quixotic, would I qualify to park in the handicapped parking space? It would be interesting to go to the DMV or wherever you apply for the handicapped parking permits, fill out the application and cite being quixotic as the affliction that justifies being able to park close to grocery store entrances. I'm willing to bet 99 percent of the clerks I'd hand the application to would simply glare at me in that fashion bureaucrats who work behind counters have perfected and drone on about needing a doctor's signed note declaring that I am indeed certifiably quixotic. I'm also willing to bet my doctor would probably give me a signed note in exchange for another excuse to whip out a latex glove and bend me over the examination table (any man over 40 will understand this phenomenon).

But if I the doctor declared me quixotic then I would have to break it to my mother.

"Mom, sit down. The doctor has just told me that I'm quixotic."

"I thought you liked women? Does Tess know?"

"No mom, I like women. Quixotic means I'm idealistic and impractical."

"Oh...okay, dear. Did I tell you that Duchess killed a squirrel this morning."

"That's nice mom..."

But I am really digressing, now.

The point is, I'm proud to be quixotic. I think it is better to attack a windmill than to sit around waiting for it to break into your house and tromp mud all over the carpet. That's just the kind of guy I am.

Go ahead and bring it on windmills, for I live the life quixotic!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Monday, February 06, 2006

Are you trying to tell me something?


The Saturday before that day we shall not speak of, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to a wind storm of historic proportions. As I looked at the clock I saw a bright flash and the power went off. The wind continued and a couple of more flashes occurred (I assumed the flashes were transformers blowing out). The power did not come back on.

As I fired up the battery powered emergency radio with it's 5-inch black and white screen, the irony that, despite the abundance of larger screen televisions in my household, it could be the only means I would have to view an event of major importance on Sunday afternoon in Seattle. From a spiritual standpoint, this seemed highly unfair.

It also struck me how much we have come to depend upon electricity and electronics in our day to day activities. Not only did we lose lights, and... gasp...HD TV, we also lost our ability to access the Internet. That ment no blogging. I sat staring at the 5-inch black and white screen and its flickering images of what I guessed was a Japanese cartoon, I felt helpless.

I'm not a religious person. But it did seem that some higher power was taking unfair advantage of nature's harsher elements to deprive me of my right to watch that major Sunday event that I will not speak of on the bigscreen in full color while eating a nice bowl of hot chili.

Rather than dwell on it, Tess and I hopped in my truck (after having to manually open the garage door) and went in search of a restaurant to have breakfast in. As I waited in lines of traffic at dead traffic lights also affected by the lack of electricity, I reflected once again on how much we depend on electricity.

We found a restaurant that still had power, had a decent breakfast and headed home. I watched Tess morosely click light switches on and off in vain as we walked from one dark room to the next. Finally we just took a shower, grateful that we have a gas water heater. As I stood in the bathroom towelling off, I looked up and saw a faint flicker of light on my electric Sonicare toothbrush. Praise be to the PUD, I thought as I reached for the light switch and flipped it. The room was bathed in divine light and I fell to my knees.

"Tess," I cried. "The power is back on. We'll be able to watch that event of which I can't speak of (Of course, I didn't say, "That event of which I can't speak of." I said the name of the event of which I can't speak of)."

I was also once again able to access the Internet and post my blog in which I had innocently rewritten the ten commandments. I didn't think this was wrong. In my own arrogant way, while taking a great deal of literary license I felt I had actually improved on the originals.

I slept fitfully the night before that major Sunday event of which I will not speak. I prepared for the event and donned my lucky skull and crossbones boxer shorts and put on my lucky Grumpy hockey shirt I'd bought in Disneyland. I prepared the lucky chili in my lucky crockpot and sat down in my lucky recliner wearing my lucky football helmet bearing the logo of that team of which I cannot speak. I then picked up my lucky remote control and turned on my lucky 50-inch television.

For the next four and a half hours, I wished that the power had never been restored and that I was sitting there in the darkness rather than watching that event of which I will not speak. For a brief moment, I wondered if I hadn't brought all of the recent disasters upon me because of my unrepentent and irreverant blogging ways. And if that is the case, I have some questions for the supreme being:

Can't you take a joke? And if you can't, then why not just leave a nasty comment like everyone else? Who do you think you are, God?

Wait, is that lightening I see?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Give us this day, our daily blog...


First, let us bow our heads in prayer:
Our server who art off site,
Hallowed be thy connection.
Thy bandwidth come.
Thy uploads be done,
On the Web as it is via FTP.
Give us this day, our daily blog. And forgive us our comments, As we forgive those who comment against us.
And lead us not into lists, But deliver us from tags.
For thine is the domain, and the URL, and the DSL, for ever and ever. Amen
And Time spake all these words, saying,

I am the blogger, which have brought thee out of the land of the personal journal blog containing way too many photos of household pets and out of the house of bondage (unless of course you are into such things).

Thou shalt read no other blogs before mine.

Thou shalt not consider Time's photo creations as graven images, even though he randomly puts his likeness on anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to other blogs, nor serve them
for I, Time am a jealous blogger, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and read my blog (as duly logged by my Web counter).

Thou shalt not take the name of Time in vain (or think of him as vain) for Time cries easily, sometimes as a little girl would.

Remember Superbowl Sunday, to keep it holy.

Six days shalt thou blog, and write all thy entries but the seventh day is the Superbowl Sunday of Time's Seahawks; on it thou shalt not do any blogging, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates for in six days Time wrote about heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on Superbowl Sunday; wherefore the LORD blessed the Seahawks, and had them beat the bejesus out of the Steelers.

Honor thy major sports franchises that thy days may be long upon big screen TV which the major foreign electronics manufacturers selleth thee (but thou shalt not purchase them from WalMart).

Thou shalt not spam.

Thou shalt not commit adultery even in chat rooms or via e-mail.

Thou shalt not steal Time's words or images for they are all protected by copyright laws (and the threat of eternal damnation).

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy other bloggers nor call them "liars, liars pants on fire" regardless of the BS they spew.

Thou shalt not lurk in thy neighbor's blog, thou shalt not lurk in thy neighbor's wife’s blog, his manservant’s blog, nor his maidservant’s blog, nor his ox’s blog, nor his ass’ blog (which seems just wrong anyway), nor flame anything that is posted in thy neighbor's blog unless it is a personal journal blog with lots of photographs of household pets.

I think that just about covers everything. Any questions?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Please save the bloggers: A public pamphlet about Blog depression



I found this informative public service pamphlet about Blog depression
that I think all of my fellow bloggers need to see. God knows I've had my bouts of blog depression. Now I know I'm not alone.

My first attack was maybe a month and a half after I started blogging. In October of 2004 I wrote, "To Blog or not to blog." I touched on it again in November 2005 when I wrote, "Where have all the bloggers gone?" So imagine how happy I was to discover my own blogger depression was shared by millions of other bloggers. Misery loves company.

I think there should be a foundation started to save the depressed bloggers. Maybe Sally Struthers could be the spokes person, "Pleeze, save the the depressed bloggers." Though have you seen Sally Struthers lately? I think she may have been eating some of the starving children, so maybe not a good choice.

Anyway, read the public service pamphlet. It think it will help.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I Clawdius...


Yesterday, someone commented on a blog entry I wrote back in October of 2004 about my amazing ability to win prizes from claw machines called Doing the Claw. First, it freaks me when I get comments on some old entry because like most people, once it's off the recent entries list, I forget all about it and don't know what the commentor is talking about. Second, it reinforces my theory that people are doing google searches on some pretty random stuff and have way too much time on their hands.

Not that I don't appreciate someone reading the archived material. No one read it when I first wrote it, and after rereading "Doing the Claw," I have to admit it was pretty cutting edge. One might even said it was ahead of its time. Because when I did a random search for "claw machine blogs" I found lots of people jumped on the bandwagon after me and started writing about claw machines.

For example, I found a photo of a claw machine in Japan where you try to pick up live lobsters instead of stuffed animals (which are really too cheap to really give away as presents).


Sorry, it just doesn't work for me. Although I've been known to eat the occasional lobster tail on a cruise, I've always had difficulty with the whole choosing what creature you are going to eat before it is dead routine. Hypocritical, I know, but it's just the way I feel. Tormenting the poor creature with a claw machine is just wrong.

That being said, I think I would be very good at the Marine Catcher, because I am still the Jedi of the Claw Machine. I've been banned from several Top Foods grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest (and not just for those misunderstandings in the produce sections...I don't want to go into it here). And I'm convinced that Sugarloaf, the company that makes most of the claw machines in area grocery stores, has given up sending ponytailed cyborgs to throw me off my game and have resorted to semi-harassing phone calls and spam. Just a theory and not an accusation (I'm saying this for legal reasons).

I've taken to wearing disquises when going to the grocery store just so I can play the claw machine without being ejected or drawing a crowd. Celebrity has its price. But if you see a middle-aged man dressed in a Teletubby suit (not the purple one) playing the claw machine in your grocery store, I can assure you it is not me. Do you think I'm that tacky?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Checking in....



One of my quirks (and yes, I know I have more than one) is that I really like staying in hotels and motels. I love to explore a new room. It's kind of a ritual with me. I'll open all the drawers and closets and inventory everything....Gideon Bible, phone book, stationery, drycleaner bags, notepads, pens, pencils, in-room magazines, soaps, shoeshine mitt, shower cap, little bottles of toiletries, etc. I find comfort in the universal nature of hotel amenities.

The Gideon Bible seems to be the common thread in all hotels I've visited. Occasionally, depending on where you travel, you'll find variations. For example, in Utah and many parts of southern Idaho, you'll find a Book of Mormon along with the Gideon Bible. In British Columbia I've found the Teachings of Buddah.

The irony of the universal Bible or religious tome in a hotel room is that most of these same places also offer a wide selection of adult films for purchase on cable to enjoy in the privacy of your room. Perhaps the Bible is there for you to reflect on after you've tired of Naughty Nurses 15 or Mutiny on the Booty starring Captain Thigh.

One thing I miss about modern hotels is the paper ring they used to put around the toilet seat. I used to love dashing into the bathroom to be the first person to rip off the ring, safe in my knowledge that it had recently been "Sanitized for my protection." And whatever happened to the magic fingers that would "rock your world" and vibrate your bed for a quarter?

Maybe staying in a hotel is such a treat to me because I never got to stay in one until I was about 14 years old. Up until then, every vacation my family ever took involved a tent, fishing poles and a flashlight to find the outhouse (or bush, depending upon where we were camping). By the time I was in junior high, my brothers pretty much opted out of family vacations and my mother demanded that we see something new.

In the summer of 1972, I joined my parents for our first and last family road trip. Our destination was Alamosa, Colorado. Our purpose was to look at some property my parents had purchased sight unseen from an ad my dad had found in one of his True West magazines. I think they put a $100 down and were paying $5 a month for five acres of prime real estate in the desert of southern Colorado. The company selling the property encouraged buyers to stop by anytime to tour the property. So that's what we were going to do.

It was just my parents and I. I think my brothers waited maybe 15 minutes after we had left before they began their weeklong party. It must have been a good one because when we returned from our road trip, the sliding glass door to our patio was shattered, my pet rabbit had escaped and there were Playboy magazines under the living room couch. In some twisted way, I think all of those things were related, but my brothers never enlightened me.

While my brothers were reveling in their freedom, I was counting Little America Resort road signs as we passed through Utah and made our way to Wyoming. The first day we made it as far as Rock Springs, Wyoming. And that is where I stayed in a motel for the first time in my life. We bypassed the Holiday Inn and opted for a more rustic choice. I think the name of the place was MOTEL -- CHEAP. The hotel clerk seemed a bit confused that we wanted a room for the entire night, so in retrospect the motel name should have been WESTWARD HO (think about this one for awhile). To my father's credit, he did spring for a room with a television. It helped drown out the sound of trucks going up and down the highway.

Years later I was watching a Sixty Minutes report about the drug trade in America. It highlighted Rock Springs, Wyoming as the portal for drug traffic to the West. Oh, it also has a coal fired electrical plant as a I recall. We were oblivious the city's claim to fame that one night we stayed there. Despite the traffic noise and sounds of amorous truckers partying with local working girls, the night was uneventful. But it was where I began my ritual of rummaging through hotel rooms drawers and closets to discover what kind of amenities were being offered.

The rest of the trip is kind of a blur. I know we passed through Wide Open Wyoming and drove through some amazing parts of Colorful Colorado before touring my parent's little patch of desert in Alamosa (this was the first time I saw cactus growing in the wild, too). We got a little more discriminating when it came to choosing hotels. We began choosing places that at least had names like the Wagon Wheel, the Red Rock or the Lazy ZZZZZ's. And they all had toilets that were sanitzed for our protection and a Gideon Bible in the nightstand. This was before cable delivered porn to your room. I don't imagine my parents would have appreciated it anyway (though at 14 I would thanked the Lord in his wisdom for showing me such a thing existed).

I've stayed in hundreds of hotel rooms since, from no stars to four stars. But I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for little roadside mom and pop places with catchy names like Let 'Er Buck, the Whoa Motel and the Moonstone. I just prefer to drive by them now and wax nostalgic on my way to a nice comfortable Fairmont, Westin or Hilton.