Inside The Author's Scary Mind: Post #461FB
Friday, February 27, 2009
This is our counter-top fruit "bowl." I think it's a bread bowl for baguettes from an old French bakery.
What can I say? I'm a VERY LINEAR person.
This is how I write and think.
Fruit Salad: Sundry items of interest from Coconut Drive
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I'm in day 2 of Chest Cold from Hell. Doing the Mucinex thing but it doesn't seem to be helping much. Feels as if someone has stuffed my chest with steel wool.
Two items of GOOD NEWS: My high-school-senior daughter was chosen by her peers to be one of the two graduation speakers in June. She also was offered yesterday a full-ride scholarship from one of her top-choice liberal arts colleges. We are hoping the offer forces some other favored competitive colleges to up the ante. A bidding war would be nice. I don't know about you guys, but there's this thing we've been worried about lately: money? And gosh darnet, I have some questions:
For starters, where did it all go? This virtual-money thing (stock market, 401K, etc.) makes me nervous. How can we save something without ever seeing it? Yet we believe that it's there because a piece of paper tell us it's there....and then, suddenly, one day it just disappears completely ... or a lot of it does, anyway. How does that work? Can something disappear and cease to exist when I've never actually seen it? Apparently we had all this money at one time, and now we don't. It just doesn't make sense to me.
NEW ITEM: Mitchell, our tuxedo cat, continues to treat me as staff: I want in, I want out, I want in, I want out. Seriously, this cat thinks I am here to serve him, especially in the loving/attention department. It doesn't matter where I'm sitting; he'll come bounding through the house and leap onto me as if I'm a boat pulling away from the dock and he's about to miss his last chance for a ride. This usually scares the bejesus out of me. The other night I had to yell, "I AM NOT A PIECE OF FURNITURE, MITCHELL!!!!"
Potential niche for making money: a school for feline obedience.
Oh, yeah, dream on, buddy ... that's as likely to happen as, well ... a cure for a nasty chest cold.
Thanks, but no.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
From my hometown newspaper, The Burlington (Colorado) Record:
"STRANGE BUT TRUE: In India, Vaseline is popular as a spread on bread."
Parade Critic weighs in
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Last night, the annual Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade winded its way through downtown Fort Myers, my hometown, to celebrate the inventor who called this town home for many winters of his life. It is indeed a grand parade in the old style, with a plethora of floats, clowns, immense helium balloons and marching bands. Few cities put on parades like this anymore; it almost feels like a blast from the past.
But a word about the marching bands. I don't like what's happened to marching bands over the years. They're no longer marching bands; they're DANCING bands! ... strutting here and there and jiggling their everything and yelping out loud in chants. Indeed, African-American culture has influenced much of mainstream pop culture in this country, everything from language to music to fashion (those baggy pants that appear to be falling off waists). And I think that's all fine and good ... but not in a marching band. Marching bands should represent ORDER. This is a MILITARY tradition, thank you very much. No dancing. Players should be looking straight ahead with straight faces, horns held at perfect 90-degree angle. The Fort Myers High School band was the only band that looked traditional in this way....and kudos to them. The beauty of a marching band is its clean lines, its order, its ability to make a 100-plus group of people seem as one.
Save the dancing for the pom-pom girls, please.
My date with a habanero ...
Friday, February 20, 2009
I cook a lot with hot peppers. Having been raised in a town that was one-fourth Mexican, I developed a taste for raw jalapeno peppers at an early age. So my tolerance of hot is pretty high.
One time years ago, I decided to make my own Jamaican jerk seasoning, which called for a raw scotch bonnet pepper (aka habanero), which is one of the hottest peppers on the planet. The recipe warned, as do all recipes in which you handle raw peppers: WEAR GLOVES! Well, having cut thousands of jalapenos in my life with no problem, I ignored the advice.
So, after mincing the very-fragrant scotch bonnet pepper, I had to go to the bathroom ... Number One ... which meant I had to handle a very-sensitive piece of personal equipment with my hands.
You guessed it: Within seconds, my you-know-what started stinging ... and within minutes blisters started to form, and I started running through the house, screaming obscenities. (I was alone; my wife and her visiting parents were taking a fall-foliage drive through the country.)
I panicked. I had no idea what to do. Should I go to the ER? But what would I tell them? Surely they wouldn't believe me; they'd think I had tried something kinky. I had to do something ... but what? Now, I can't explain clearly enough the pain here: I felt as if my tallywacker was on fire. Nothing less.
Not sure what to do, I filled a bowl with ice water, set it on the floor, pulled down my pants and positioned myself over the bowl. It helped to numb things down there, but the second I removed myself from the ice the pain returned.
In the end, there was scabbing. I kid you not. From a raw pepper.
And I have never cooked with habaneros again.
I wonder why: Post #437G
Thursday, February 19, 2009
1. Why do people always speak in absolutes? They say, "You're gonna love it, or you're gonna hate it." Or this: "She's either going to be really hot or a real dog."
And in reality we know for darn sure that there's ACRES of reality in between those two extremes. So why do we all pose situations with extremes?
Methinks it dates back to our Puritan roots; things were either evil or not. Good or bad. There was no gray area.
2. I also wonder how the artist dreamed up this fabric on my dining room chairs:
The fabric is called "hot lips." Me wonders about the inspiration for this.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I've blogged before that I have two jobs: Writer and author. The former is the solitary, brooding job, month upon month of hovering over a keyboard, creating. Then there's author mode. This is what you become AFTER you get the book written: speaking engagements, book tours, opinion pieces in newspapers ... anything you can do to get the Word of Ad out there to help sell books.
Here is something you should NOT do as an author: Travel through Ohio for four days with your wife and daughter on a college-hunting trip when YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE MODERATING A BOOK DISCUSSION WITH 30 READERS AT A LIBRARY ON FORT MYERS BEACH!
All I can say is this: I'm sorry and embarrassed. And I will wear my hair shirt for the next 30 days as punishment.
Report from Amish Country
Monday, February 16, 2009
We are in north-central Ohio, at a great lodge in the woods called The Inn at Honey Run, as our daughter attends a night and day of classes at the nearby College of Wooster, which she is considering for college next year.
The only room they had available was the EXECUTIVE SUITE, which is a shame because it is, oh, I don't know, 700 square feet with a sweeping, private balcony overlooking the woods and a private kitchen and wireless Internet and a big fireplace with REAL wood to burn ... and we lounge in front of this while watching the snow fall outside. Harsh, awful conditions, let me assure you. Oh,and since this is the Midwest, it's costing us like $12.31 for the night! Man, things are cheap in this part of the world.
LEARNED FACT: Amish country attracts older tourists who think nothing of budging in the food line. Carol and I are the coolest, youngest folk here. Others have mistaken us for celebrities. I have not corrected them.
LEARNED FACT: Amish food = no garlic.
LEARNED FACT: It is okay for men to wear sweatshirts to a nice restaurant for dinner in north-central Ohio, but you must check your Ohio State baseball cap at the door.
LEARNED FACT: The Amish of Ohio grow and roast the world's best pistachio nuts. They're so fresh they're more green than brown.
NEXT STOP: The Everything Rubbermaid store in downtown Wooster. My wife has a fetish for organizational and storage things.
I will try to "contain" my excitement.
My adventure at Ladies' Night
Friday, February 13, 2009
So my friend from the gym had been trying to talk me into joining him at a new bar in town, and it had to be on a Wednesday because it was ladies' night ... and on ladies' night, of course, the ladies come out en masse. Prime pickings for a single man such as my friend.
Well, I'm not single, so I was reluctant. But after my wife urged me to go I decided to join him for ONE DRINK. And that's all it took for me to get into trouble.
The two of us joined up with another married friend of mine, who was there with her husband ... and then there was another woman whom I casually knew from around town. I thought she'd be a good fit for my friend, so I introduced the two of them ... and we all stood there, talking.
And then, for no reason at all ... this woman pulls me down close to her face (I'm about a foot taller than her), and I think she's going to whisper something in my ear ... AND SHE BITES ME ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE! I kid you not. And it wasn't what I'd call a "love bite." It was what I'd call a beef-jerky bite.
I looked at her, shocked, and yelled, "You BIT me! Why did you BITE me?!"
She said nothing, just laughed and gave me a devilish look. I excused myself, promptly walked out to my truck and drove home, where I told my daughter: "I got bit by a cougar! Look!"
She asked me how old the woman was -- about my age -- and then corrected me by saying cougars are women who prey on YOUNGER men, and that in order for me to have been bitten by a cougar, she would have had to be at least 60. "But I'm still a teenager inside my head," I told her.
Five minutes after I returned home my friend called and asked me where I'd gone.
"Dude, I do not like women biting my face," I said.
She didn't draw blood, but the next day my upper cheek was sore and slightly bruised.
The final chapter: Toilet seat is saved!!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
As an author, I value words. I realize their power. And words alone have saved my seashell toilet seat. It is back on the toilet to stay.
Here's what reader "Fritz" had to say: "I think you should leave the seat and lid on the toilet. It matches the rest of the bathroom and to destroy, ebay, or otherwise dispose of it in any other way would be sinful. After all, it was the toilet, not the seat that was the problem. I do the same thing when I buy a car. Always use the same gas cap."
But the most eloquent defense for the toilet seat came from Stephanie Davis, aka, the Downtown Diva, a hugely popular society columnist for The News-Press in Fort Myers. Here's what she had to say after I replaced the shell toilet seat with the drab gray one: "Color me sad. Not only did the seat tie in beautifully with the burgundy sink -- it represented a sense of whimsy, an unexpected and artsy surprise in a tiny and functional space. It was a festive piece of old Florida kitsch. The pictures don't do it justice, maybe that's the problem with the judging process on the blog. I've seen it for real, in all it's creative and colorful glory."
End of story.
The verdict is in
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
And the readers have spoken (anyone who didn't read yesterday's blog will need to do so at this point):
Yes, it is a sad day for those lovers of true Florida kitsch. A day of mourning:
Anyone wishing to pay their final respects may do so during cocktail hour any day this week, through Friday. Please call ahead.
The new toilet is here!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Okay, guys, you might remember when I blogged a few weeks ago about the problem I was having with my vintage 1951 toilet. Well, I looked far and wide for a replacement...and there were no burgundy toilets to be found anywhere. (Sorry news for my reader who has been looking for the same-colored toilet.) I did, however, find three shades of gray at Kohler, and I present to you: the color "cashmere."
And, look! I got to re-use that awesome toilet seat. See how it brings in the burgundy sink? I think it works, don't you? I said, "DON'T YOU?!?!?"
The model had been discontinued, but the detectives at Panther Plumbing managed to find a tank somewhere in a warehouse in Canada, and the bowl somewhere in Mexico. So ... we have renamed this bathroom: The NAFTA bathroom.
Aliens in my neighborhood!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Or maybe the Crips or Bloods. Yes, I have spotted these strange hieroglyphics throughout my neighborhood, and I am quite concerned.
If I am not mistaken, I think the translation for the first one is something like this: Eternity in Hell (red arrow pointing downward) will begin on November 17.
And the other: Is it W S or S M? The arrows were pointing to a house. Perhaps the occupants there are inviting passersby for some painful pleasure? But why TWO arrows?
Hello? Homeland Security? Please report to Coconut Drive IMMEDIATELY!
More thoughts on blow-up dolls
Friday, February 6, 2009
Okay, more on the developing story I told you about yesterday: the man arrested for having sex with his blow-up dolls in the Publix parking lot.
First of all, here's a pix of one of the victims.
Apparently, he had stopped to buy them clothes at a nearby Target. Yes, this is what he told police while standing there in his shorts (no underwear) that had a "large hole" in the front.
Said the police officer in his report: "After my investigation it was determined that Bartusek's actions were corrupting the public's morals and outraged the sense of public decency." ... Indeed.
The shorts were confiscated; the man was given a gown to wear. I'm just wondering where they got the gown. Did someone run into Target? Do police carry these sorts things in the trunks of their cop cars? And, if so, what else is in there? I mean, I never really thought much about it, but they'd have to carry things for just about every type of situation/emergency, wouldn't they? So a cop car is kind of like a bigger version of mom's purse: "Oh, I've got something in here that'll take care of that."
Another thought: I'm a little worried about the safety of our inflatable victims. They'll be taken to some evidence cage for safekeeping ... and Lord knows what'll happen to them there. If you were the lonely overnight watchman ... what would you do?
Perish the thought! Someone call a victim's advocate.
Well, hello, Dolly!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
This from my hometown newspaper, The News-Press, in sunny southwest Florida:
"A Cape Coral man was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly was found engaging in distasteful acts with 'at least one blow-up doll' in a car in the parking lot of a Publix."
Unfortunately, there were no other details provided, so the cogs are definitely rolling in my fiction-writer's mind:
At LEAST one blow-up doll?
Male or female? ... hermaphrodite?
Did they have names? Bend-over Brittany, maybe? Or Tasty Tiffany?
I already have dreamed up his defense as well: He keeps these dolls in the back seat for when he wants to drive in the less-crowded carpool-only lanes on the freeway. ..."And, officer, I was just fixing a leak in one of them, I promise. That's all I was doing."
A word that makes me happy
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The name of the soy sauce. Just say it out loud, with a long 'e' sound for the 'i': keeko-man.
Sounds like laughter, doesn't it?
Say it three times and tell me a smile doesn't come to your face.
A word about Michael ...
Monday, February 2, 2009
I wasn't surprised when our favorite Olympian, Mr. Phelps, got caught smoking pot. Shortly after the Olympics, I caught some pix of him gambling in Vegas ... and he was unshaven and looking kinda seedy. At the time I thought, "Oh, well, fame/money has already turned him into Hollywood White Trash; that sure didn't take long."
But then I got to thinking: If I had worked that damn hard all those years, forsaking all vices and fun, I think I, too, might go on a bad-boy binge for awhile. Let's cut him some slack, mmmkay?