Guest Blogger Formalda Hyde on Death and Sauerkraut

Formalda Hyde
– From her toxic lips to your smoldering ears –

I thought I would die but then somebody else did — The fella at the market in frozen foods, or cryogenic microwaveables, as I like to call them. 


His name was Sy. It was obvious why, because Sy liked to sigh

He got my attention with a huff of breath and a classic pick up line. 

“What’s your favorite frozen dinner?” he asked.

“Anything that won’t make me glow in the dark.”

“Was that a joke?” he gasped.

“No, read the label.”

“I will now,” he said and grabbed a box from the shelf, a frozen Bratwurst dinner. “I guess I should always read the fine print.”

“Why do you think it’s called fine?” I said.

“Wow! That’s deep.”

I made an attempt to coerce him across the aisle. “Have you tried the frozen deep dish pizza on the other side?”

“Not yet,” Sy sighed. “Though it looks tempting

It all looks tempting until you nuke it and steam explodes from plastic like a radioactive cloud.”

Then suddenly he extended a hand to me. “I’m Sy,” he said with a waft of sour breath.

I blocked his breath with a box of Chef Boyardee. “I thought so,” I said. “You sigh like a Sy.”

“Is there something wrong?He gasped

I took two steps backward and lowered the Chef Boyardee. “It’s the Bratwurst casserole and musty mouth fumes …. I have an aversion to German sausage and sauerkraut.” I said. “My great grandmother survived a Nazi death camp where she often spent her summer vacations.”

“I’m so sorry,” he sighed. “Yet that’s truly amazing. How did you know I just had a hot dog and sauerkraut?” 

“Tell me something I don’t know.” I said.

“You are a cracker,” he chuckled.

“What kind of a cracker?” I pressed. “I’m partial to Ritz and cheddar snacks.”

“You are wacky wonderful.”

Not the words I wanted to hear. “Try the rat poison in aisle 9.” I said. “I think you’ll really like it.” Then I walked away, as he released one last convulsive breath.

“Thanks,” he yelled. “I will. And I don’t have to nuke it, so, I won’t get cancer.”

That was the last time I saw Sy sigh. He drank the rat poison right in aisle 9 and collapsed in his cart on top of a 48-pack of beer and the Bratwurst casserole.

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Unscripted Web Design and the 404 Sanity Drainer

Message error 404Image by CyboRoZ via Flickr
Written by Ivy Guiler –
I leaned back from my laptop, affectionately known as Lolita, and gave my newly finished website one final glance. The logo was perfect, the content was in place and the menus were in working order. I even had a few hours left before my son would wake up and enough caffeine left in my system to catch up on a few episodes of True Blood on OnDemand.
The last thing to do was jump over to my global settings and take the site live. Three weeks of work, five different themes, and countless module changes had all come down to this one moment. As I kicked back on the couch in celebration, I was surprised at how easy it all was…
Easy… I should have seen the irony.
The next morning, I made my son a big breakfast and headed into the office to do a little research for a new post. I didn’t even have time to open a browser before my husband chimed in on IM.
“I thought you put your site live last night,” he typed.
“I did,” I answered, wondering why he was asking me instead of just looking.
After a few moments of silence, he typed: “You might want to take a look then.”
‘Oops! This link appears to be broken’ — 404 error‘ flashed across the screen of my Google Chrome browser.
“I’m sure it’s just a browser issue,” I thought to myself.
So I jumped over to Firefox: ‘404 — Component not found.’
Internet Explorer: ‘This page cannot be found — 404 error’
Safari: ‘Safari can’t find the server — 404 error’
I paused, wondering if somehow in my sleep I managed to get back online and crash my entire site. I pictured myself caught in an alternate reality where my sleep self secretly has it in for my awake, somewhat sane state.
“What is a 404 error?” I asked myself, popping back to the present where I had a somewhat significant problem on my hands.
I quickly came to the conclusion that some part of my joomla install must have been botched. Of course, reinstalling meant losing everything, but having everything and a site that doesn’t work wasn’t much better. I reminded myself the hardest part of this redesign was deciding on my theme. So reinstalling everything should be pretty easy.
Easy… there is that word again. Go ahead and insert an evil, sarcastic pipe organ here.
I dug into my case of energy drinks later that evening and began the re-install. I formatted my menus and got the sections and categories all worked up. I went to bed with only the sidebar left to configure. The site appeared almost complete.
But when I awoke… ‘404 – Component not found.’
“I need to stop going to sleep,” I said to myself.
One by one, I started disabling modules and settings hoping to find the one piece that triggered the devastation.
Syndication… ‘404 – Component not found.’
Logo… ‘404 – Component not found.’
User menu… ‘404 – Component not found.’
The word easy was no longer in my vocabulary.
Every setting… ‘404.’ Every module… ‘404.’ Every page… ‘404.’ That number was quickly becoming my kryptonite. I pictured myself sweeping into my computer and magically fixing all of the settings… then being crushed by ‘404.’
Obviously, my sanity had too been erased by ‘404.’
The theme designer figured out that all of the issues were due to one article, an original article that came with the theme, being unpublished. One article… even he was surprised that it could be that easy.
I re-enabled the modules and slowly started getting the site back to working order. Every change, I checked to see if the site was still working. As soon as I enabled the last component… ‘404.’
The problem this time… a comma out of place.
Welcome to my unscripted life!

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