Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Had a "SlingBlade" moment.

I like to spend some solitary time on Sunday at Fairview Cemetery on South Lehigh Street in Allentown. Every week I mow and weed whack around markers in sections O, N, and P. Every other week I hit 5 specific graves in other sections. Three are Revolutionary War veterans, and one was a Battlefield Surgeon in the fifth PA Regiment during the Civil War at the Battle of the Wilderness. The Fifth grave is for a Sgt William Miller, who served in a PA Artillery regiment at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

Someday I will get around to doing some kind of virtual tour of the Fairview Cemeteries' more notable residents, but for now I want to share my "Karl" moment this past Sunday.
I was mowing away around Lt Saeger's grave (Rev War) when the mower started acting up.

I thought maybe it was overheating, so when I finished there I rolled it under some trees and into the shade while I weed whacked. I went over to Sgt Miller's grave and started cleaning up debris, and when I started the mower a few minutes later it fired right up. For about 30 seconds.
I would prime it, pull the starter, and it would run a few seconds before dying. I checked the oil, and it was fine.

Wait for it........ Yes, it was out of gas.I had 4 gallons of fuel with me, but forgot to fill it before leaving the house.

There is a scene in Slingblade where they bring Karl a mower that won't run, and he fixes it by putting fuel in it.

All together now: DUH!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Social Networking for Introverts: Fartbook!

Everybody is either "tweeting" or doing something on Facebook.

That's fine, if you have time for it, but I don't. However, because I enjoy going against the grain in all things, I have decided to look into starting my own social network.

I am going to call it "Fartbook!"

Instead of creating friends, this network will allow you to list the people you would like to FART on. Now you can list all the people you don't want to be friends with!

It doesn't necessarily mean that you don't like these people, it just means that you don't want to hang with them.

Sort of like High school, for people who haven't grown up.

What do you think? Does "Fartbook" have a future? Can I develop it and sell it to Google for a zillion dollars?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Questions I would like to ask

Okay gang, I have a lot on my mind, but here goes:

Do we really care if Michael Jackson was murdered or not? Should it be front page news? I kind of think Afghanistan is more important, but who knows.

My local paper is reporting that a local girl is dating John of "John and Kate plus eight."
That was their freaking lead headline. Is this what America's lowest denominator has evolved to? This is news?

And Finally, my dog Sally ate a loaf of fresh bread today. She is the only one of our three dogs with the ability to reach the counter. She is so damn cute though, and skinny, so I am glad it was probably her. The question is, why would she eat the bread, and not the fresh rotisserie chicken?
That she did not touch. Hmmm.

Anyway, today's big question is I have a co-worker who is cheating on his wife with another co-worker. The wife calls and asks me at work where he is. I tell the truth, that he left for lunch. I don't tell her that he went to lunch with his paramour. I don't know what they are doing, but she shows up and is waiting in the lot when he and other lady come back from lunch.
Comedy is not pretty. She threw his ass out.
I did not get involved. As long as the work gets done, I can't do anything. What would you do?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Who the hell is following me on Tweeter? I am the "Anti-Twit!"

I Tweet.

Sometimes. I haven't tweeted in a couple of weeks, but I check in every few days to read what others are tweeting. I also get emails notifying me when people are following me.

Now if it is somebody I know, I am fine with it, but lately i keep getting tweeted by women I have never met. They have names like "sexyeliza" or "humpalina" (I am exagerating here), and when I curiously click on their profile, I will see they are following some ridiculous number like 4,891, but only have three followers.

I block these.

I have become a very discerning tweeter. I like reading the fun from Small Town Mommy, Cooking with Anne, crazy Kathy Frederick, or Wacky Bill White, but I am culling my tweeter herd. I am not doing an Ashton Kutcher and trying for a million followers.

I sorta don't mind if nobody follows me. I am like the "Anti-Twit"

So PA state rep Marc Cohen, stop twittering and get a state budget passed. Let John Micek of the Morning Call have a day off. And everybody pray for Kathy Frederick at the Blogher conference, where she will elaborate on the life of everyone's favorite Lehigh valley plastic bag in a tree, "Windy!"

I would rather fill my bird feeders than tweet, is that less than 140?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Guys! Manners matter to women!

I like to think of myself as a regular guy. When I was a kid, my Dad taught me many things. One thing he taught me that I still do to this day is to hold the door for a lady, or when approaching an automatic door, to step aside and always let a lady or ladies go first.

It makes me crazy these days, to see that most men have forgotten this social grace.

I find it ironic that I hear from younger men about their troubles in finding women, and getting women to give them a chance. I hear these stories of woe at work and at my gym especially.

So I am going to offer a bit of advice to you guys, seeing as tonight is Saturday night, and some of you have dates.
When you are going to the restaurant or theater, hold the door for her. When you are walking her to your car, get the door for her. I have been married since 1996, and I still do it for my wife. So I also want to stress that it needs to become a habit. Don't do it just to win the lady, do it to keep her, and should you have a future, do like my Dad and teach your sons to do it as well.

Guys, I also want to stress that you just don't do it for the object of your affection, you should do it for all women, no matter their age, physical attributes whatever.

Do it for the eighty year old lady, or the Mom struggling to push a stroller. Why, you ask?

Because other women will see you do that. They will see you performing that small act of kindness, and they will think, "Hey, what a nice guy."

I want you to think of it like creating a resume for women to read. When you are trying to get the job you want, you always put your best foot forward and try to broaden your skill set.
So why not do that when trying to find a quality lady?

Women want a guy who respects them. Grand gestures do make a big splash, but can be undone by one act of stupidity. Constant visible acts of kindness, such as holding a door, mean more in the long run. It says to the ladies that you know how to behave, and how to treat them right. You might still have some rough edges, but they will see potential, and that is important.

Okay, that is my tip/gripe for today. I am thinking that every Saturday I should offer my take on manners for guys. Maybe next week I will espouse on why I hate guys who blow their nose in their hand and wipe it on their pants., yeah, like I want to shake your hand.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fish Update!

My regular readers know that a few weeks ago I got some new fish for our tank and some crabs.

Yeah, I know how that sounds.

Anyways, my favorite purchase was Mr. Shy, the carnivore Shrimp. He replaced cranky the crab, who rolled over and played, "Bait."
A couple of weeks ago, Mr Shy disappeared. We thought maybe he had shed his skin and was hiding.

We were wrong. We believe the rest of the residents ate him. All I found when I was cleaning the tank was a single antennae.

I am bummed. So now I'm thinking I could be saving some bucks and just digging worms up out of the yard and throwing them in the tank.

Cut out the middleman, as it were. What do you guys think?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Finishing what I started

Back in May 2002, I had to put my best buddy, Fred the dog down. He had lived with me for over 16 years. That is pretty damn old for a dog. I had just turned forty years old, and he was truly the best and most loyal friend a guy could have had. (Spouse doesn't count here.)

I sat down at the desktop computer a couple of times during my journal writing and composed what ended up as a seventy three page story of our life together. It was a basic outline, with some events more detailed than others.

Last November at a writers guild meeting, I learned about a local publisher who was looking for new talent. So I went to the workshop, and for my sample I read my retelling of events at the Veterinarian's office the day I put him down.
When I was done, there wasn't a dry eye in the room.

I sorta knew then that maybe I had something, but I figured too many of them had read Marley and Me by John Grogan, and seen the movie, so I blew off the accolades.

I was not going to write this book. The Editor from Woodley Books, a very nice older woman, Ellen Roberts, called and emailed me repeatedly, trying to convince me to do it.

The problem for me was that to do Fred justice, I had to revisit the most painful and difficult times of my life. The years when I struggled with alcohol. A time when I dealt with stress by drinking myself numb. During that time, before I met my wife, I suffered the worst heartbreak I had ever thought possible, the death of good friends, and the death of my father.
In January, over the course of a weekend, I wrote a one hundred and seventy page hot draft outline covering what Fred and I went through together. It was painful, and I found myself in tears many times, but I pushed on.

Who really wants to go back there and look at that again? I didn't. But something inside me realized I was at a point in life where I could revisit it all, and put it to bed on my terms, not on the terms of my good friends Jimmy Beam, Jackie Daniels, and my old pal Coors light.

We still make conversation at times, those three and I, but we are not near as close as we once were. There were many nights in the first half of the book in the Spring where I put a few beers away and did a couple of shots to loosen up the inhibitions and write what I needed to.

That was the biggest thing, I was reluctant to write the story with me being the asshole I really was. So with encouragements from my editor, I wrote the story as fiction, using my life experience as a guideline.

That did the trick. I compressed the story of the struggle from 16 years to ten, and created an altar ego to play the narrator. I could disassociate myself from the character, so I had no problem attributing all the cruddy things he did to people to him. I changed all the names and places, to protect the guilty as well as the innocent.
The book is a work of fiction, loosely based on my life experiences, but the story of Fred that I tell within is pretty dead on, about a dog who acted as a guardian angel, a canine sponsor for a lost soul.

Tonight I finished the last chapter. And I cried when I was done. So sue me.

Do Dogs go to heaven? I sure hope so, because that is where they deserve to go.