Happy Leap Day

When I was a kid, around 4th grade, I knew another kid who's birthday was on leap day. He was one of the few kids that a kid in my social position (new kid + fat kid) could find ways to pick on due to his oddball status. We used to give him crap that he was only 3 years old (he was born in 1977 as well), until we all watched the Olympic Games on tv during class.

He triumphantly announced that that was his birthday party.

Of course, we all called 'bull' until he mentioned the "every 4 years" aspect, and that it just happened to align with his birthday. He said he was originally from Calgary (where the held the games in 1988) and that his entire town got together to celebrate him, with games and events.

as 11 year olds are apt to, we all believed him, and he was never made fun of again. Thinking back on it now, it's precisely the kind of story that I, if I were a teacher, would have let slide just to stick it to the bully kids.

I don't know why I remember this shit. I just do.


I'm feeling better... I don't want to go on the cart

Life is better.

I'm sitting up and drinking lots of Gatorade's new G2 beverage and eating Nilla wafers. And it's all staying down. Hip hip horray!

Thanks for the kind emails and PM's. You're all very sweet... Except for the one of you who wanted to put me on the cart.

So... I guess there's a lot to catch up on. Let's see... I need to finish 1-800-STALKER, and get 3 new stories up to finish up the new chapter's voting candidates. It's a tall order, and I think by now you all know better than to let me make a promise on when something will come out, so I'll say that I'm now working as hard as I can to get caught up. I will say this - by the end of March, we'll be right back on schedule for a chapter a month.

Thanks for sticking with me through all this. Can't wait to hear what you guys think of the new stories (and e-book which is still slated for release in March).


Guessing game time!

Guess which one of your favorite chronically late internet-based writers has staph food poisioning???

Also, guess which type of food poisioning has no medicine to cure it and must run its course?

Also, sorry the MI story is late. When i'm not mobile-blogging from the hospital, i'm otherwise 'indesposed'. I'll finish things once I can sit still for longer than 30 mins at a time.


A little word math problem

Pecan Chicken Salad Wrap + Arby's + Southern Tennessee = a lot of stuff flying from your body from various orifices for about a day.

Just wanted to let you know.


I-5 to Seattle

not nearly as beautiful and scenic as the more northerly locations....



I tried to talk Andrea into getting this... No dice.

Sent via SMS. Please forgive any typos or pointlessness.


Beautiful Mt. Baker

This is where we've spent the better part of the last 2 weeks. It's been amazing. And we've eaten way too much jerky.


Worth the drive up just for this

Sent via SMS. Please forgive any typos or pointlessness.


Sent via SMS. Please forgive any typos or pointlessness.


God smited my smart ass

I guess God got pissed at me for picking on his minions for making stupid logohack t-shirts, because he totally sent me tumbling down a steep face this afternoon, "severely straining" an abdomen muscle and bruising my calf.

I'm in a bad way right now. But at least I have one bar of cellular service so I can blog about being in pain.

REAL Christians spend $$$

This is what separates those fake lame christians who live a christlike life from those REAL professors of the faith who will pony up the $22.95 at a Shell station to show their faith.

Just so you know, if you're one of those who seriously buys this crap:

If Jesus ever does come back, he's just going to think you're a colossal asshole for wearing this shit. Not that I can speak for the supposed son of God or anything, but honestly... "Yes I'm a Princess - My father is the king of kings" is slap-worthy. As is ripping off a Mountain Dew logo to convey the point that a man was supposed to hang from a cross for a week before he finally expired - just for you!

And the myspace thing? Yeah, seriously, fuck you.


Netless in Seattle

Lots of internetting going on in the Seattle Public Library. I'd post a story from their 'writing center' but I don't have a library card.

Sent via SMS. Please forgive any typos or pointlessness.


FW: You have new Picture Boredom at the thai place

Mixing cultures and eating utensils. It's harder than you think and results in cramping and giggles.


Oh yeah, I forgot to mention...

I'm on vacation the next few weeks in our nation's great northwest territory, riding down frozen precipitation on a waxed plank strapped to my feet. It rules.

But that means my internet connection is sporadic, at best (in fact, I have to drive 25 miles into town OR 20 miles up the mountain to get any cellular service). So, while I'm going to TRY MY BEST not to miss any days updating, if I do... Please forgive me.

And don't expect much in the way of poignancy. It'll most likely be a bunch of snowy pictures, like this one:


Liz is contemplating...

...how not to die in a non-avelanche, head-first snow-immersion-related incident.

Just like she has been ALL WEEK.


How the hell have I posted 400 posts to this journal? Do I really have that much nothing to say?


Oh my dear lord... This is a real ad.

...Who the HELL thought "You know, I bet this will get the INTERNET behind our campaign?"

Writing letters

I want to write someone a letter.

How about you? Can I write you a letter? Here, I'll write you my favorite letter:


Did you know that I have a least favorite letter? It's the letter q. I hate the letter q. In fact, I'd wager that any graphic designer who spends a reasonable amount of time fussing with text in graphics hates the letter q (except the lucky bastard who got to do Quaker State and ruined using the Q as a logo for everyone else on the planet).

I also have a least favorite number. It's the number 7, simply because everyone else likes it. It's overrated... Like Amy Winehouse.

No, I'm not over that yet.


The Grammys are big big bullshit

The fact that Amy Winehouse is anywhere near a list that contains past names such as Stevie Wonder and The Beatles and Etta James just proves that the whole Grammy experience is nothing more than a bought-and-paid-for hype machine, no different than JD Powers and Associates awards for "Car Manufacturer of the Year Who Could Afford To Buy Our Marketing... Er... Award".


The state of music has been declining over the past 25 years in a huge way, but now, it's patently offensive. The industry is flaunting this marketing hype machine in everyone's faces, practically daring you to point out to them that they're the ones buying their artists' own records to propel their shrinkwrapped shit to the top of a bought-and-paid-for Billboard list, so that play on the radio increases to the point that it starts making these top 40 lists that convince you to think everyone's asking to hear this crap when in actuality, it's just "the best of what has been approved for play on our station".

Turn off the radio.

Go grab these albums (and just to prove I don't go hiding in the underground to claim some sort of "music cred", this list is chock full of stuff that charted. See, I DO listen to mainstream stuff, Jeremy):

The Melvins - Houdini
Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
The Beatles - Revolver
Dave Brubeck - Time Out
Thelonious Monk - Brilliant Corners
Battles - Mirrored
Kings of Leon - Because of the Times
De La Soul - Three Feet High And Rising
Helmet - Meantime
Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
Black Sabbath - any of the first 6 records
Led Zeppelin - holy shit, anything
The Who - Who's Next
Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street
Jeff Buckley - Grace
Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
Van Halen - any of the first for records
Radiohead - The Bends and OK Computer (ignore anything after OK, it's just masturbatory nonsense that art rock snob kids like to lord over everyone like they know something about music)
Silversun Pickups - Carnavas
At The Drive-In - In Casino Out and Relationship of Command
Bob Dylan - everything until 1979
R.E.M. - Murmur and Reckoning (and Automatic for the People, but I hesitate to suggest that one because everyone tends to cling to it, and it's not their best... But it's good)
U2 - Achtung Baby, October, Boy and The Passengers - Original Soundtracks Volume 1 (and of course, the Joshua Tree - one of the highlights of the Grammys actually getting something right)
The Low End Theory - A Tribe Called Quest
Parlament / Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove (and anything else, ever)
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Everything up to Blood Sugar Sex Majik (and you shoudl SPECIFICALLY avoid everything after, because it's all shit)

This is just off the top of my head.

Feel free to email me if you want more suggestions of stuff that doesn't blow. Or, you know... Keep watching award shows full of what the corporations want you to buy tomorrow. Because God knows, someone's gotta give Fall Out Boy something to do with their lives.

Gotta break my own rule... sorta

This last week kinda got away from me.

I fully intended to post a one-part story last Monday, but the "mood" struck to finally tell this 1-800-STALKER story I'd been holding onto for quite a while. And with me, when those moods hit, I have to act - otherwise, I'll lose it - in a huge way. I won't feel like writing anything at all for a while. So, acting against my better judgment in more ways than one (there's a huge reason why it's taken so long to tell this story, and I'll go into that more tomorrow), I went down the path of telling this new story.

But I didn't anticipate getting as busy as I did last week, and because I only started this entire endeavor on Sunday night, I only got 2 parts up and out before the week ended. This leaves me with 4 parts (well, 2 actually - but Part 2 is actually going to be split into 3 sub-parts... Confused? yeah, me too) to finish. Which is going to push this story through this upcoming week.

This is a violation of my "new story every Monday" rule. Sorta.

I mean, technically, the spirit of that rule was to keep me writing content every single week and not letting the site die a miserable, horrible death... Again. But the LETTER of the law means that each story I begin has to end within 7 days, or I don't put up a new story every Monday.

So, I COULD put up a re-run from the journal on Monday, and finish telling this multi-part dealie the rest of the week... But that'd completely disrupt the flow, wouldn't it?

I dunno. The best I can do is to ask you to allow me to post the rest of the 1-800-STALKER story this upcoming week, and then accept two - count em, TWO - brand new stories next week. Will that make up for my rule violation? Or is it a travesty of justice that this has taken me so long to write?

In other news, it doesn't matter what kind of systems I try to set up for myself, I always end up finding new ways to break them. At least this one results in more content and not less, right? :)


pizza gave me the poops

The subject is the story.

Big mistake. Won't be doing that again.

In other news, you were right, I was wrong, blah blah blah.



I'm having pizza for the first time in months.

It's so good, I completely passed up the article I wrote for today just to post this.

GOD. So good.

That's it.


Escape from cubicle nation

I started typing this extremely long missive about how I quit my day job and now do all this work for myself and it's great and blah de blah, and then I remembered that no one working a steady job wants to read about some guy who is doing what they wish they could do.

So, instead, I'd like to point you to probably the single greatest resource for learning how to do it.

Escape From Cubicle Nation

I have a number of friends who talk to me every so often and tell me that they have GOT to quit their job and do what I do, and they want to know how I do it. The problem is, to my friends, I'm just that tall goofy guy who cracks too many jokes and writes the poopy fart stories on the internet, so they can't take honest business / life advice from me seriously. So thank God for Pamela Slim's blog (and Seth Godin's too, by the way, if you're also into marketing your newfound freedom). Now I have a written resource who isn't me that I can point them to and say "here, read that, that's how I did it."

The article I've linked to is probably one of my favorites ever, because it applies to EVERYTHING - not just leaving your job and becoming a freelancer / entreprenuer. But I highly encourage anyone who's ever considered leaving the confines of the 9-5, paid twice a month world to earn the right to do what they want to do, when they want to do it, how they want to do it, with no manger, boss, or lord and master.

You WILL earn less money... At first. But think about it this way - you earn money at your job to buy things you like and go on vacations to earn some freedom.

To trade in some of that money to get a little more freedom... It's a raise. A huge one, at that, because all the money is good for is buying things to enhance your life - whereas the freedom gives you far more life to enhance.

No one says on their death bed "Man, I wish I'd spent more time in the office..."

And I promise you - if you're following your heart and doing things honestly, with passion, the money will come. That's not to say I advocate quitting your job today and hopping on the Xbox and hoping a check appears... You're going to have to work, and very, very hard. But when the work you do matters, it stops being "work" and becomes "your life's work" - and trust me, those two words make alllllllll the difference.


I cannot tell you how much those five characters, when placed together, piss me the hell off.

For those who don't know this particular little bit of shorthand, it stands for "Too Long; Didn't Read". It's usually posted in threads or comments sections of longer articles.

It looks a little like this:

Now, I need to explain that it doesn't piss me off because people don't read long articles. I have no holier-than-thou opinion about the length of content people should be happy to read - I personally skim anything longer than two sentences, hoping beyond hope that something will snag me and make me want to "commit" to reading it for real. If nothing's there, I just move on to the next thing.

This is perfectly fine and acceptable.

What ISN'T perfectly fine and acceptable is the fact that some people feel the need to post something to the effect described above. They feel compelled to litter the page with their opinion. And more than that, they can't be bothered to actually express an opinion - they only throw up a blurb explaining how truly lazy they are when it comes to reading comprehension... And worse, they can't even spell out the fucking words! Just like TravisWedding did! And doesn't he look the part?

He LOOKS like someone who'd post TL;DR, doesn't he? Well of course he does, cause he DID.

And really, thank fucking GOD someone felt the need to acronymize the laziest, most unoriginal comment ever. I mean... Of all the egotistical things - you feel like the rest of the internet will be improved by some quantity by taking the time out of your day to let everyone know that you couldn't take the time out of your day to read what you're commenting on.

If you've ever posted this and you weren't joking around - and yes, I mean you, who are reading this right now - you are a lazy, unoriginal sack of shit.

Sure, you may have other redeeming qualities. You may be excellent at painting or incredibly generous to your local charity. But somehow, someway, you were led down the overly self-serving path of posting an acronym expressing your displeasure at the number of words someone chose to use to convey a point - showing the world how lazy you truly are.

I don't hate you. I probably might even like you in physical life. But online... You are a lazy sack of shit.


Healthy living will be the death of us all

I've been getting up at 4:15 AM the past few days to go meet with a trainer who was very impressed by my football escapades last year. He's actually training Andrea on getting better times in her upcoming marathon, and because we both have football in common and he's an ex-football trainer and coach (NFL, even), he said that while she's doing her long exercises, he'd work with me to hone my techniques and whatnot for tryouts this year.

OH MY GOD do I ever want to kill this man.

I've been working out quite regularly since December last year, and I felt I was doing a fine job. This guy has me doing drills that not only knock the wind right out of me, they've made it impossible to climb or descend the stairs in my home without groaning like I'm 74.

Oh, and he's also got me waking up at freakin' 4:15AM. Which is why the timing of the blog entries and yesterday's MI story has been off a bit (well, actually, the MI story is a bit different - I was going to sneak it on Facebook, but ended up screwing up the formatting, so I deleted it and just gave up. I'll try that again another time).

But yeah... Here I am, 31 years old trying to play some foosball, and crying about being sore like a wuss. It strikes me as apparent that I could probably eliminate two of those three descriptors by just sitting on my ass and playing Burnout Paradise all day.

I might not live as long, and I might not look as good, but dammit... I'd be sleeping later than 4:15AM.


Don't you hate it when...

...someone waits until the 11th hour to post an entry to their stupid online journal, and it's just some crap about posting to an online journal at the 11th hour?

I fucking hate that. I don't know about you.


How I safeguard my computer

I'm in an office again this week, doing some consulting. They've been leaving these little flyers on doors and walls saying that some people have reported missing equipment.

So, this is how I handle laptop security (click the img to see it full-size):

(That's - I say, that's moving pictures there, son! Video-like! Not the old static kind, y'see.)

Bill Belichick is a coward.

You don't need to be a football fan or have watched Super Bowl XLII to appreciate this:

Last night, in the biggest upset in NFL history, the Patriots lost to the Giants... But their head coach wasn't there to see it. You see, there was one second left on the clock when the ball turned over to the Giants, thus shutting down the Patriots and denying them their perfect 19-0 season... Biggest upset ever... And right then, the mighty head coach of the mighty New England Patriots walked across the field, shook the hands of the team that beat him, and went into the tunnel leading to the locker room...

Leaving his team to finish out the very last play all by themselves.

The captain abandoned ship and left his crew to face the doom. What a coward... I know he wanted to avoid media scrutiny and the inevitable "How do you feel now that you have lost the chance to be the 2nd undefeated team in NFL history?" crap that he'd undoubtedly have to face... But couldn't he have just manned up and stuck it out one last second? Be there for the guys who were there for him the other 18 games?

Just... What a fucking coward.


The first good morning in a while

When I was about 9 years old, I fell in the bathtub during a shower and hit the faucet just to the right of my spine, in the muscle next the shoulder blade (called the rhomboid).

My mother thought I popped a lung, because it took forever for me to recover my breath. We went to the hospital (a common part of my young life), and they said there was no real damage, but that the muscle was severely bruised.

Around the time that I started playing sports, that spot in my back had become a chronic pulling sort of pain that I'd learned to live with. All throughout high school and what little of college I attended, every sport - every day - I had to just expect that, when I entered my stance to snap the football, or got into referee's position in wrestling, or executed any throw in Judo, my back was going to pull and tug and it wasn't going to be pleasant.

With every surgery or injury, I'd visit a physical therapist, and I'd tell them about my back. They'd work on it in addition to the injury site, tack on the 30 minutes to my bill, and have insurance pay for it. Every doctor and trainer told me that what I had was equivalent to shin splints, but in my back. There is an injury site in the muscle, and as I work out and exercise, muscle is tearing and building (that's how they get bigger - they literally tear at the fiber, then heal themselves and grow larger). So, as my back developed and continues to develop, my muscle grows "around" this little spot of scar tissue and a sort of cyst forms.

So, every year and a half or so, I'd have the knot worked down and, once or twice, it felt like it was gone completely... And it was a godsend. But the last time any trainer has worked on it was around 1998, so for nearly 10 years, I've just lived with this gigantic tugging pain in my right rhomboid.

Without question, the worst point of the day was the moments just after I woke up. As we all do, when I slept, my muscles did whatever muscles do when you're asleep and I woke up tight and needing to stretch and get the blood flowing... But that one little place in my back was always a pain in my... Well, my back, I guess. It was always tight. If I looked left and brought my chin to my chest, I could feel a really tight pulling back in that right rhomboid.

Until this morning.

Yesterday, I went for my first ever massage therapy session. The therapist offered me a session in return for helping her fix her broken laptop, and I was hesitant... But she's a trusted friend of my friends, so I forewent my whole "I really hate strangers touching me" thing and tried it. I told her about the place in my back, and for the better part of an hour, she worked on it and hammered at it and pretty much kicked its ass.

She told me at the end of it that we'd gotten through what she considered the "first layer" and that the next session would really yield great returns... But I'd consider my life VASTLY improved today, as I woke up, sat up, and for the first time in TEN YEARS, actually got out of bed without having to stretch my back. And it was a serious shock to me, because I only realized it when I had both feet on the floor and was walking toward the closet... I realized that the only reason I stretched every morning was because of the little reminder to do so in my back, and that this morning, I seemed to get started a little quicker.

Kinda strange, huh? When we're in pain - any sort of pain - all we can think about is how we wish to God it'd just stop hurting - and if it did, we'd cherish the feeling of having no pain... But the second it stops, it all exits our minds. Twisted ankles, neck-cricks, bruises... Once there's no constant reminder that there is pain, there's no awareness of how great it feels to have none.

I don't know why my mind is going this direction but it's causing me to analyze far more about my life than I really intended when I opened up this editor and began typing.

Most of my daily timesinks and distractions have been removed from my life this year. It has been unquestionably my most productive month in a VERY long time... And in January, I didn't once wonder "What the hell am I going to write about?" or dread the coming Monday and the opinions of my work that came with them. I didn't sit around and feel sorry for myself about anything negative in my life. I didn't feel like I needed to "work through" or confront anything or anyone.

I just sat down each morning and began working. And all of my work, I enjoyed producing - even the stuff that didn't turn out how I liked, I liked turning it out. And when I was done working, I stopped.

When the pain is gone, you don't remember HOW miserable you were... You just remember that you were miserable. Maybe that's why it's so easy to slip back into bad habits... You forget just how bad they were TO you as well as for you.

Happiness is diligence. Happiness is work - but it's not mindless, robotic, unsatisfying work. It's not moving dirt from one pile to another pile. It's work in the way that sculpting and painting and singing and learning the drums is work - it's effort. But it's rewarding effort, and the reward doesn't come when you look back and see the end result of the effort. This sort of work rewards you with every second you work at it, and enables you to carry forward the work you do outside of it.

I have little notecards around my desk with little sayings on them, things that I always found very poignant. One is Henry Ford's classic, "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." Another, a sticker from Hot Topic (of all places), says "People too weak to follow their dreams will always discourage others." Another quotes Mr. Zach De La Rocha as saying "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me."

Lots of bolstering, empowering stuff. External motivators... Textual reminders of how I wish I could feel all the time, meant to remind me of feelings I've had in the past that make me bold and whatnot.

I just threw them all out. Just now. All except one:

"Enjoy the process. The product is a result of the process, and if the process isn't great, what you make with it can't be."

I don't know who said that. I just remember writing it down about a year and a half ago, on the back of a Taco Mac napkin. I was sitting there discussing story ideas with some people I once worked with... And the process was so tense. There was this unspoken drama between everyone and myself, and the entire project formed around it. It was painful and agonizing and I had to constantly refer to sayings like that one to keep things on an even keel.

I feel like, on a creative level, January 1 was the emotional equivalent to what I experienced physically this morning, the first good morning in a while. And just like realizing several moments after the fact that I'd gotten right out of bed and on with my day, I just realized that's what I've been doing so far this year. I just stood up and got on with it... And it's feeling WONDERFUL.

But just like my back, there's more work to be done to truly keep the problem away. I've only chipped away that first layer. Removing distractions, allowing myself to proceed regardless of positive and negative opinions, and focusing on the work are all great steps. And they removed the symptoms of the true problem, and allowed me to get going. But there's more work to be done. There always is. And the trick is to not allow myself to fall for the same old patterns, where I forget how big a problem there was and only remember that there was a problem.

Never again. That's my statement going forward.


Yay! A guessing game!

Which of these 3 products do you think does NOT work as advertised: water? cardboard? Or 'Nair body hair remover for men' ?

Free book for the first person to guess correctly.