Fasten Your Brain Belts. Turbulence Ahead.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28:  Fog shrouds...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

On my way home, I lost my way once again, this time ending up on a road to nowhere with signs along the way that said, “Matrax.” At one point, I passed a lone shack with two men in front having a conversation, or so I thought . . .

I THINK, THEREFORE I AM LOST.

After I got lost on my way to the unemployment office (yes, I’m unemployed again), I got lost in the unemployment computer system, a.k.a. jobless purgatory, where unanchored soles float above a nine-to-five day staring down at worker ants (oh, those are people), while awaiting the status of their claims.

A game of paper, rock, and scissors at the state level.

Paper = Paperwork.
Rock = Stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Scissors = Shredding the papers once they are no longer needed. Kind of like how unemployment affects a person’s life.

Once I grilled questioned the gal at the front desk, who was very friendly despite my many pointed questions, I was directed to walk to the far end of the room where a red phone sat on a desk, facing another desk w/said red phone. At which point, I had to pick up the receiver and wait for a voice prompt. Hearing a voice prompt before picking up the phone would have rendered me certifiable, which I already may be any way.

The gentlemen sitting at the desk across from me, a former welder with a bum thumb, had been listening to the looping voice prompt on his red phone for thirty-minutes. I thought I saw his left eye twitch several times. As I sat down onto my elementary school size chair, I nodded at the man, picked up the receiver, and waited to get my orders from headquarters or unemployment, whichever fantasy materialized first.

Since the unemployment scenario involved a red phone and an unknown flunky at the other end of the line, I decided to unofficially refer to myself as Agent 99. For those of you who are not baby boomers or TVLand aficionados, Agent 99 was secret agent Maxwell Smart’s female partner and love interest. My love interest was at work selling high end cars. At the low end, I still wait on the phone, listening to static, and wondering if I’ve entered the Twilight zone or the Comcast wilderness.

Seconds later, I heard a voice, not in my head, but in my ear. It was Miss Voice Prompt telling me to press one to continue in English, two to continue in Spanish. So, I pressed one and got Spanish any way.

“It’s Spanish,” I said in English or “Esta Inglés,” yo dijo en Español.

“That happened to me, too,” said Mr. Welder. “You’ve got to hang up and start all over again.”

So, I hung up the phone and jumped from my chair. “I think I’ll do this at home,” I declared, and then bid Mr. Welder Bum Thumb adieu.

DIRECTIONALLY-CHALLENGED.

On my way home, I lost my way once again, this time ending up on a road to nowhere with signs along the way that said, “Matrax.” At one point, I passed a lone shack with two men in front having a conversation, or so I thought. I watched an oncoming car make a left turn past a sign that said 84 W. The car accelerated up the ramp, then suddenly stopped short in front of a barrier of construction signs. Beyond the signs lay a jagged concrete slab that ended before sky began.

I shook my head and then continued down the road to nowhere, which appeared to be safer than the highway to nowhere, as miles of asphalt stretched endlessly ahead of me.

A deep sigh whooshed from my lips. “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

“Please, God,” I whispered. “Get me home before either Dorothy or Miss Voice Prompt speaks to me,” as I preferred to be addressed by the flunky on the phone and not the one in my head.

Later, I hooked up with the flunky on the phone who informed me that I would remain in jobless purgatory until told otherwise.

Now, as sunlight disappears behind a drawn window shade, I wonder when Otherwise will be told.

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Talking to the dead has never been easier . . .

When You’re RosettaStoned.

(with THC Tombstone Technology)
Bowl of clouds

flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/ / CC BY 2.0

Do you pay hundreds of dollars for just a two-minute dialog with an expired relative (always check the date of sale)?

With a RosettaStoned Memorial, you pay a one-time fee for unlimited calls to the dead and a lifetime of memories. Disclaimer: weed not included. 

Just press the pentagram symbol on your Lifeless Enabled Cell phone (LEC), plug your headset into the USB port on the headstone, and in the time it takes to say ten Hail Mary’s, you’ll be speaking to your dearly departed Uncle Ned from his beach condo in Shangri-la.

Warning: It may take longer to establish a connection to Hell, as you may experience interference from uncontrollable dark forces. Occasional fire and brimstone incidents have also been reported.

Blogging: Connecting to Readers via a T1 Line to the Heart.

 

New welcome mat from my parentsImage by mcclouds via Flickr

THE HUMAN ELEMENT.

I had to get this off my sagging chest by writing this, shall I say, wireless blog post, that, hopefully, like a wireless bra, will be both uplifting and supportive, without any annoying restrictions – a way to raise the consciousness, as it were.

One day, when I wasn’t paying attention, I had a thought that mattered. One of those “wholly crap” moments. It wasn’t about life, politics, or the economy, which incidentally sucks. It was about blogging.

THE THOUGHT NOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD.

There is a reason why some blogs are successful and others are not. It’s the human element, stupid (like, it’s the economy, stupid . . . but I’m not calling you stupid.) – connecting to readers by being human and sincere, while also entertaining them.

Mrs. Blogalot brought up this very point in one of her posts, If a Blog Posts in the Forest.

Mrs. B was dead-on:

But then she (a blogger) asked what kind of posts she could write in order to get more traffic to her site…. and that’s when it hit her…

Coming to me was a complete waste of time.

Because I felt it was the truth, I told her that what each blogger posts is a very personal thing. Something that only she could decide.

Just swing by Stir-Fry Awesomeness, who gets an average of 70 or so comments every time she posts. Why? – Because she is honest, real, and funny as hell. We, as readers, want to know what happens next in her life because it is a mini-soap opera, told in an incredibly entertaining fashion. The Screaming Me-Me is another blog as is Confessions of a Reforming Geek, Unscripted Life, Man-Over-Board, Mrs. Blogalot, who I mentioned earlier, Ziva’s Inferno, Quirky Loon, Redhead Ranting, Speaking From The Crib, Virtual Synapses, Bonehead, and I Do Things So You Don’t Have To, to name a few. No specific order. Just mayhem as usual. I hope I didn’t leave any one out. There are so many great blogs out there. Apparently, I did leave someone out. Thank you, JD. Here’s another addition to the fabulous blog collection: The Junk Drawer.

Each of these blogging microcosms draws an audience because they offer something unique to their readers. And their readers get something back in return, an emotional connection with the blogger and an ability to peer through a window into the blogger’s life via an entertaining platform that relies on humor or candor, or both, and at the same time, is also well-written – which is key.

A MINDLESS EXPERIMENT TO TRY AT HOME.

While kicking back on your couch on planet earth, channel surf the 300 stations of crap on your television and notice the shows that make you stop. Wendy Williams is one. She is wacky, honest, and talks to her audience like a girlfriend. Regis is another because we want to see what Regis says or does next. He always says what’s on his mind like Wendy does. When you watch Wendy or Regis, you see their vulnerabilities, their humanity, and feel a connection to them.

BLOGGING GETAWAYS.

Unlike the 300 stations of crap you have on your television, in the blogosphere, there are billions of amazing travel spots to explore. Just contact your blog travel agent a.k.a. Google. The list of all-inclusive blogging getaways is endless and the cost is cheap in comparison to a real vacation. What’s that anyway?  Although, in cyberspace, you’ve only got five seconds, if that, to grab a vacationing mind’s attention before it gets bored and hurtles away to the next blog-stop on the Internet highway.  Don’t be the one to let it get away.

Why do you read a blog or watch a particular show? 
This inquiring mind wants to know.

 

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Spam–What is it good for?

SIERRA MADRE, CA - MAY 29:  Seventieth anniver...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

A scammer’s email that dropped into my spam folder like bird excrement

@centrum.cz> @centrum.cz>
Subject: kindly consider my proposal. (Reply: kindly go f**k yourself)

Good Day 
(good riddance)

Let me start by apologizing the manner at which i approached you without prior communication.  
(your present communication ain’t so great either). 

I am Patrick Chan, the director of operations of the Hang Seng Bank Ltd Hong Kong
(and I’m Ivana Trump, ex wife of the Donald)

I will need you to assist me in executing a business project worth five million five hundred US dollars, that involves transfering the said fund from my country to your country.   
(As someone with no financial background or mathematical aptitude I am totally qualified to assist you in said fund transference. Are you familiar with Freud? Perhaps this is a transference of your stupidity)

Once the funds have been transferred to your nominated bank account, we shall then share it in the ratio of 60% for me, 40% for you. 
(Do you want to build a house on swamp land? This is just like that only more insane, i.e., see previous section on Freud)

Should you be interested in this project, please kindly reply me in my private email: p.chan053@yahoo.com.hk, so that i can give you the full detail of the project.  
(oops!!!)

Your earlier reply will be highly appreciated, thanks for your consideration.  
(thanks for the attempted con)

regards,  
(go to hell! or back to spam land)

Patrick Chan p.chan053@yahoo.com.hk

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My Lawn – The Axis of Evil.

Post Cuttings – Spring Edition. 

(transplanted and re-potted)

I search my lawn for insurgent weeds.

The situation is grave. The dandelions continue to advance, despite the hundreds I’ve already rooted out. I raise the alert level to red and prepare for a full-scale attack.

With plastic bag in hand, I move out and quickly spot a dandelion at ten o’clock. It has already turned white and is about to blow. It is a windy day. I have to act fast. I am battling a cunning enemy with a powerful coalition that includes Mother Nature and Poland.

My heart pumps furiously as I pounce and rip the evil-flower from the ground. Yet, there is no time for celebration. Dandelions are everywhere: at twelve o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock, and even eight-fifteen.

Time is short. Other days, time is tall when she wears three-inch heels. Today, time wears flats. Maybe I still have a chance if I can spot the dandelion general, who is cleverly disguised like one of his soldiers, and can only be identified by the caterpillar moustache he wears.

I clutch my bag and pray for the wind to subside. It gets worse. Praying has never really worked for me. So, I yell, “God help me,” instead, and race through the yard, swiping explosive dandelion heads from their stems before the wind scatters the tiny white cluster bombs across the lawn.

I stop by the center garden to take a breath. It is twelve-thirty and my work has only started. The dogs sit on the front stoop watching me. The white one appears sympathetic; the brown one is apoplectic. She likes eating dandelions. To her, they are a delicacy, a treat she can only have once a year, like Christmas. If only she could eat faster than the dandelions turn white. However, she doesn’t care for the seeds. They tickle her nose then float away onto the neighbor’s lawn.

I gauge my next line of attack. Time for the big guns. I grab the weed-whacker that leans against the house. When I turn it on, the white dog runs. The brown dog stays and continues glaring at me. She’ll never forgive me for this. “Sorry,” I say, and then turn to engage the enemy.

Some weed combatants are visible, standing tall, decoys I imagine, while others hide low in the grass. They are the most dangerous. If I can’t pinpoint their location today, by tomorrow they’ll most certainly be airborne.

I continue inflicting as much damage as possible until rain drenches my back. The dandelions suffer heavy casualties, but it’s still not enough. With Mother Nature and Poland on their side, the dandelions are a formidable foe.

I am forced to retreat to the kitchen to restock my supplies. I load up on garbage bags and bottled water then head out to the front to a blast of thunderclouds and a rapid-fire rain attack.

The dandelions have already brought in reinforcements. I’m outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and out-of-breath. The outlook looks dismal. I am but a coalition of one in my war against the evil-flowers.

I grab a bottle of Poland Spring to re-hydrate. After gulping it down, I stare at the label on the bottle and smile. With renewed energy, I march toward the dandelions and their coalition of three, hold up the empty bottle, and scream, “If I can’t have Poland, at least I can have Poland Spring.”

Do you have any gardening war stories?
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My Words Posted at Word for Words.

New pensImage by churl via Flickr

This past week I was honored to guest post at Adele Annesi’s blog Word for Words, conversations on creativity. An amazing site for writers and bloggers. Adele, who is a wonderful literary writer and editor, provides incredible insight and advice on the art of writing. Please swing by Word for Words and read Adele’s current series on “Working with Editors.” It’s a must read as Adele offers a unique perspective because of her editing background.

Adele is an award-winning editor and writer. She worked as a development editor for Scholastic Publishing, and is a book editor specializing in business, religion and memoir. Adele also writes articles, columns and stories for newspapers, magazines, blogs and literary journals. She won Poetic Voices of America’s editor’s choice award, and teaches writing and editing workshops for libraries and other venues. She is a nominated member of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Women and Who’s Who in the World. Besides that and occasionally breathing, she’s working on a novel.

After reaping the rewards of Adele’s writerly wisdom, please visit her website, AdeleAnnesi.com, for information on her speaking schedule if you live in the New England or New York area, or to read more of Adele’s inspirational articles. AdeleAnnesi.com also includes the complete version of her “Working with Editors” series.

Adele, thank you so much for your hospitality. It was a pleasure writing for your highly-acclaimed site, which is such a wonderful resource for writers and bloggers.

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