Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Zombie Mockcapolypse

Since the 2010 pilot on AMC, my family has followed the series The Walking Dead.  If you're not familiar with the series, The Walking Dead is the story of Officer Rick Grimes, who awakes from a coma to find a world with more flesh eating zombies than the south has pinto beans. Throughout the series, various groups of survivors band together, experience the love and loss of their members, and regroup to move on down the road. Along the way, living people and walkers (zombies for the un-hip, non-TWD watchers) attempt to destroy the various survivors for reasons that include, but are not limited to, survival.

Monday, September 29, 2014


One of my peeps suggested I tell this story. Sometimes, admitting your own idiocy is good for the soul...I wish I could say this was the only time I ever embarrassed myself.

My friend, Bogg, and I were in the mood to go out to lunch one day. We both worked together and decided that getting out of the office occasionally would be good for our sanity. With only a hour to kill, we determined our favorite Chinese buffet would be the best bet. Give us seats and plates, and we'd serve ourselves, chomp it down, and get back to the office before you could say "moo goo gai pan."

The thing about having a favorite Chinese restaurant is that it is rarely a secret. Americans like Chinese food like they like...well, American food. Arriving at the restaurant, we realized it was packed, of course - it was lunch hour! But, what the heck! Those people had to get back to work, too. Besides, we were salary, and if you factored in all the extra unpaid hours we put in, we were probably making a dollar an hour..if lunch went over, so what.

Standing in the lobby of the restaurant, the hostess took out names. I started to wonder if we could pull it off, and I asked how long it would be. The hostess assured me that guests were getting seated quickly. 

Bogg and I stood shoulder to shoulder with about twenty-five people; uncomfortably so. Observational chit-chat filled the time. 

Visually, I scanned the room; they had just redecorated the place. Suddenly, I saw this guy. This HUGE guy. He was about 6' 7" and the most striking thing about him was that he looked exactly like Bluto, from the Popeye cartoon. Exactly!  

"Bogg...Bogg...slowly turn and look straight ahead..." I whispered. Bogg complied.

Continuing, I added, "Now, look at that gigantic, mondo, Jethro-sized Bluto guy on the far end of the room..."

Bogg looked forward, paused a moment, and a smile slowly developed - then she said, "Uh, Cher...that's a mirror."

I froze, and then allowed my gaze to wander beyond Bluto-man. I saw a very familiar face: mine

And there was Bluto...standing behind me. Directly behind me.

(I'm an idiot.)

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: The Goldfinch Review

It's that time again! Welcome to The Cephalopod Coffeehousean online gathering of bloggers who love books, hosted by The Armchair Squid!   If you're interested, please sign on to the link list at the end of this post. Come on, do it - it will be fun!

This month, I decided to dive in to The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  It's a whopper (784 pages), but it definitely has a following. It won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction - that ain't too shabby, eh?

The story revolves around the character of thirteen year old Theo Decker, who has found his life in shambles when a bomb goes off at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, killing his beloved mother and other innocent bystanders. A dying man implores him to take a painting: The Goldfinch, made in 1654 by Carel Fabritius.  From that point on, the painting becomes a tie to his lost mother and his past as the adult Theo travels the world, carrying his guilt and grief along for the ride. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Let's Discuss...Tally Hall

Tally Hall: Still wonky; still fabloo
(I have no idea where this picture came from, or I'd give full credit. Let's just say "somewhere on the Internet")

For some reason, I didn't sleep well last night and it is catching up with me. Nothing unusual there, I have all the aches and pains associated with my age and a lifetime of abusing my body. Oh, stop right there, I'm not talking about drug or drink, dat ain't me. I'm talking about breaking important laws, like the Law of Gravity. Wearing heels that abused my feet are another source of flipster discomfort - those days are gone, but the ache remains. Often, I've told my friends that I ski like the "agony of defeat" scene on the sports promo. I've broken both ankles, been hit by a car, torn a rotor cuff (I suspect the count is two rotor cuffs now), had surgeries on my wrist and twice stepped in holes someone made by removing telephone poles - what are the odds? For me, the odds are really good that something is going to happen. Admittedly, I've earned my aches and pains.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chef Murphy...Brother to the Lawmaker

Three meals a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and 95% of them are planned and eaten with my son, Gonzo. It's rough being the last kid left at home and homeschooled to boot...it's a real blessing that he still talks to me - we spend beau coups time together. Honestly, I get pretty tired of me. He may not be paying attention.

While searching for the components of yesterday's lunch, Gonzo remarked: "You know how you find something really, really delicious to eat, Mom? When that happens, I can almost guarantee that it is packed with calories..."

"...or no good for you," I added. We both laughed in agreement and then I think I actually saw the magic light bulb appear above his head.

"IT'S CHEF MURPHY!" Gonzo screamed. 

Love Languages: The Don't List

In past years, I've heard a lot of talk about "love languages". Author Gary Chapman categorizes the love languages into five groups: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. 

Of those five, receiving gifts would be the one that my Hubzam never requires (actually, it's a little irritating). The Man warns me preemptively that he doesn't want gifts for his birthday or Christmas. I rarely listen, but he makes it clear that gifts are not required. 

Removing that "gift" love language from the list resulted in a new opening and allowed me to customize it. The modification makes it more realistic to our current Flipside-era of romance. I present to you "things I don't do" for love:

  1. I pretend that I haven't noticed his favorite shorts are about two years past the point where they were ready to be donated to Goodwill...or the dumpster. Why? Because The Man still likes them. I don't make them disappear, as many of my friends have suggested.
  2. Everyday, I put his lunchbox away. I mumble under my breath, but I put it away; I don't mention it.  (Oops, now I mentioned it; I don't have another "don't" to put here...wait! That was a don't! I'm back on track.)
  3. I cook things for The Man that I'd never eat. Never, ever, ever. I don't deny him. Of course, this opens the door for me to cook things he hates, like chicken gizzards (yeah, I'm surprised I do that, too).
  4. Not only do I cut his hair and make his sideburns much more even than he would ever notice, I don't let him walk around covered with hair, unless it is attached (i.e., all areas but the top of his head and the soles of his feet). I also vacuum him. Now, tell me that isn't going the extra mile? 
  5. When he snores so loud that the walls rumble, I don't call the authorities and report a seismic episode. Never, I swear, and it's tempting.
  6. May I add that although I've threatened to sleep with a frying pan on the nightstand - just in case he needed a gentle nudge to stop snoring - I've never actually done it. That's love.
  7. No matter what I eat at a restaurant and no matter how much I might love it, I always save some for The Man. I don't let him silently drool over my appetizer or entree and never get the opportunity to dive in. He just reminded me that he does the same for me (I knew that).
  8. I don't complain about his randomly abandoned shoes; I move his shoes to the PROPER area, and he knows full well that I am the self-appointed dictator for appropriate shoe storage. I realize they are not a decorating accent in the living room, even if he doesn't. We have an eclectic interior design mix that does not include Birkenstock accents. He has some things mixed up...shoes in the living area, framed college degree on the floor of the closet where shoes go. I mentioned that we might want to put his college degree on the wall somewhere in the house, and he responded with, "Why? Who wants to see it?" (I don't question that logic, but I'll bet the answer is "your mother". Mothers always want to see degrees prominently displayed.)
  9. I've washed his clothes for twenty years. I don't let him resort to nudism. You'd have to know how much I hate doing laundry to fully appreciate this. It's not that it's hard, or that I'm lazy...well, maybe I am lazy - a bit, anyhow. When you have accumulated a seriously high number of completed laundry loads over the course of your life time, you lose the desire to participate in the drudgery of it, day in and day out. Unless, of course, it is a love language. In the future, I'm hoping they have disposable clothes. When that happens, I will gladly throw his away when I throw mine away. I'm capable of modifying my love languages.
  10. I don't make him live above the Mason-Dixon. I listen patiently to all that blah blah blah about the North and Yankees without adding a rapid fire, laser-pointedly precise, statistically viable and highly accurate commentary that would reduce him to a mound of quivering, fearful man-flesh. Lay off the North already, I get it.
"Don't" for someone you love today.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

It's hot times in my house, thanks to the zillions of jalapenos that have come out of our garden. Hubzam and I pondered how to approach the task of saving the bounty of summer for the December slumps when we will be thinking about making chili and stuffed jalapenos a couple times a week. Hot food and cold weather; yep, it's a plan.

Fortunately, we have a television to guide us in all our important life decisions and my Hub has teamed up, once again, with Alton Brown. Mentally, that is. We love Alton, but he is not - I repeat, not - a personal friend. We just act like he is because Alton has special powers that make us try things we have no business trying.  Things like flash freezing jalapenos with dry ice in your kitchen. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Crap Taxidermy

"To my Tiger Mom, Wendy Su. 
See? I told you I'd publish a book one day. 
Wait, this isn't what you had in mind? Dangit." 

Kat Su's ode to the worst possible taxidermy in the world gets my vote as the best of the worst. Crap Taxidermy ventures where no man dare go: good taxidermy, bad taxidermy, and the extremes of what Su describes as "weird-as-hell" (excuse me). Actually, that pretty well sums it up.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

More Random, More Weird

Every now and then, I just gotta let the weird thoughts
out to run free. Today is such a day.

  • Lately, everything reminds me of a warning heralded by a movie - but nothing more so than the robots that have moved from the factory floor to the job market. SABRE Autonomous Solutions report that they are providing robots willing to work all day without a break - and they're actually making decisions about what needs done. SKYNET HAS GONE LIVE. If these robots can determine whether or not my fast food order is identical to what is actually in the bag I'm handed, many minimum wage jobs will disappear. And there's that whole "machines taking over the planet" thing...
  • Meteors are slamming the earth. I know, I know...they do that all the time. But they seem to be getting bigger...noticeable...on the news, in places like New Jersey. Again, movie references:  Deep Impact, Armageddon, Asteroid...
  • The ebola virus that is plaguing Africa is scary. Once again, it reminds me of a movie warning...specifically, I start thinking about the scene with the map in The Planet of the Apes movie that pulsates with glowing markers tracking the worldwide spread of the weird virus that knocks humanity back a notch and lets the apes take over (again, a run-on sentence says I mean business).  Let's keep our eyes on the apes. In all likelihood, they've seen the movie, too.
  • (Yet another movie reference: insert Mel Gibson screaming, "Freedom!" from Braveheart) Scotland will vote on independence from Great Britain today, in case you haven't watched the news this week. What started as a "maybe" seems to have built up momentum, particularly with the younger crowd. It might be a risky proposition for Scotland and I'm sure they are bombarded with the pros and cons right about now. I should really be holding up a tartan or a plaid something, since my maiden name is McKendrick. I relate to the desire for independence - we were serfs in Scotland, basically! Sadly, the most important thing about Scotland to me is the kilt. If Scottish independence will result in more men in kilts, I'm all for it. Men like Gerard Butler...yeah, that would be great. Or Sean Connery, perhaps.

  • Forget the previous bullet point about independence. Definitely leaning more towards anything that results in increased views of Gerard Butler, however...in fact, I'd like to see a massive move toward a mandatory kilt-on-Butler vote in Scotland. I'm behind that movement.

(Good luck, Scotland...)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I Wish I Had Time for Sympathy, Friend

The newscast tonight shared some important developments in bereavement. Apparently, drive- through funerals are now a reality. 

What in the world? Everyone make the "what in the world" face with me - I need backup. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Googling Your Brain Away

Google, I love you for all your abilities; for your scope and range. I love that I can put the words "knit a cow" in the little box below your colorful logo, click my mouse, and you will deliver to me all 43,259,100 hits that my heart desires and I will potentially have all the known knowledge of the knitted cow. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

What Are You Going to Do?

When I'm tired of the daily grind, I get crafty.  Chuckling to myself, I whipped up a batch of custom guitar picks the other day, just to see if it could be done. I'm weird that way; I realize it.

I'm a twisted daydreamer who lives with the mantra:  "This will make a funny story someday."

In my mind, I have this vision of my son sitting around with his grandchildren, telling them how his Mama used to whip up a batch of homemade guitar picks "back in the day." 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mock Squid Soup - Burn After Reading

In the movie Burn After Reading, two gym employees (Pitt, McDormand) find a disc with the memoirs of a CIA agent and see potential for personal profit.

I love Mock Squid Soup, but I find myself nursing a headache and leaning towards brevity. My apologies!

Many fine bloggers will give excellent reviews of this quirky flick by the Coen Brothers, and so I will put a little twist on my very small contribution and talk about my favorite actor in the movie.

So many of my favorites to pick from - Clooney! Pitt! McDormand! Malkovich!  Skipping Tilda Swinton on purpose... Hey, there's J.K. Simmons ("The Russians?")!

Who to pick? It's hard to avert my eyes from Clooney...

"Appearances...can be deceptive..."

Brad Pitt, you rascal. On the occasion of your nuptials to AJ last week, I wanted you to break into a mini victory dance like Chad Feldheimer. Ooo, I wanted it so!

Pitt's character, Chad, genius of the gym - the most entertaining part of Burn After Reading for me. And that's saying a lot. His bubble headed awkwardness reared its head in every situation;  the crazy facial expressions and body language made this "mere good Samaritan" steal each scene.

If this was method acting, he would have had to find a way to lose IQ points;  it was worth it.

Unfortunately, all good things must end.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Art lovers of all ages, if you love to draw and want to try your hand at some fun projects, I have a suggestion: Draw-a-Saurus: Everything You Need to Know to Draw Your Favorite Dinosaurs by James Silvani. This colorful, engaging book would be a hit with any dinosaur enthusiast, but I would not be so shortsighted as to dub this a book for children only. Clearly, Silvani had a wider audience in mind when he penned - and penciled - this fun, informative book. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bagged and Tagged: The Armchair Squid

It's that time again, when all paper bag puppets arise and show their flat heads. Welcome to another edition of  Bagged and Tagged Day. Who shall I put in the bag this week?  I remind you, it's a Flipster badge of honor.

Another favorite blogger of mine is The Armchair Squid. Squid has a clever, insightful way of breaking down books, movies and television shows into the subtle layers that made them great. More than once, I thought to myself: "Wow. I never considered that - but Squidimus Maximus is spot on."

It doesn't hurt that he waxes retro, from time to time.

One of my favorite series of posts were about the original Star Trek; I'd forgotten how great it was to watch all those episodes as a kid and marvel at the (fictional) technology, endless expanse of space and weird civilizations and time-shifts. Hey, I wanted a tribble, but had to settle for a fuzzy slipper lookalike (that made me think the trouble with tribbles might be that they smell like feet).

Squid is also the host of the monthly bloghop, The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, and co-hosts Mock Squid Soup, along with MOCK! (of course).

My description doesn't do him justice. Follow the links and check out his blog!  You're welcome, America.

You've been bagged and tagged, Armchair Squid. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Television...Instant Conversation Starter

Today was busy! My basic schedule had to be thrown aside, and by late afternoon I was in a moderate sized state of control-freak angst. My mental to-do list was mentally crunched up and thrown in the mental trash.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Teeth Matter. Period.

Submitted into evidence, item number one: a photo of one of my favorite actors, Robert Downey, Jr. I want to make the point that this is someone I like, but he makes a perfect example for my rant of the day: teeth matter.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things - Sept. 5

Want to join this blog hop? Scroll down to the bottom, brothers and sisters, and learn how! 

"Whatcha looking at?"
Some of the things I celebrate this week:

  1. My Dad would have been 88 this week. It sounds like a sad thing to celebrate, having said "would have," but I'm grateful for all the time we had him. He was a character, and my favorite picture of him has his signature smirk; the picture was taken while we were mocking my mom - a favorite pastime (she loves it, too).
  2. I'm glad that my widowed Mom is healthy, active, outgoing and chatty. She's running circles around most of us as we speak. She attends line dance classes, does handiwork, goes out to lunch and dinner with her pals and jets around occasionally. A few years ago, we took a Mediterranean cruise together and stomped about Spain, France, Germany (for an hour), Monaco, Sicily and Italy. She could out-walk me. Age is a state of mind, believe me. It's hard being alone, I'm sure. I'm glad she does it with such style.
  3. Blogging has been fun this week. There are a lot of fun bloggers out there in blogdom. I'm glad I know a few.
  4. Lots of projects; lots of progress. Ooooo, I love projects.
  5. My schedule has been pared back to allow me to get back to some hobbies. My little art room feeds my soul's need for creativity.
  6. The garden is finally winding down. I never thought I'd say it, but I'm glad. I'm getting tired of trying to figure out what else I can make with jalapenos.  Apparently, Hubzam and I are genius jalapenos farmers (don't ask me what we're doing right...we have no clue). We can't grow a melon to save our souls. We just put things in holes in the dirt, and some of the things really, really like that dirt and so, they grow...a lot.
  7. Now, tell me something you celebrated this week in the comments section. Come on, you have at least one celebration in you; don't wimp out.
Have a good week and join the blog hop, if you're so inclined. Make sure to visit the other good folks who are taking part. Here's the information you'll need to make it happen!:

VikLit's Writing Blog (Scribbling of an Aspiring Author) is the Mama to this great idea.

Celebrate The Small Things is a weekly celebration where we celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large the item in question. It can be writing or non writing related. It might be tidying a sock drawer at last, finishing a tricky edit, or finally getting a child to eat something green - whatever you like!

Here's how it works:
1. Sign up on the linky.
2. Post celebrations in your blog each Friday. This doesn't have to be every week but every month or so I will tidy the sign up list and if you haven't posted since my last tidy up, I'll likely remove you.
3. Hop around and celebrate with others. This doesn't have to be the entire list, but if you could try and visit the 5 people before and after you that would be lovely.
4. Feel happy! :)

Here is the sign up list. This is a Blog Hop!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Never Get a Smart Dog (A Public Service Announcement)

A Coco Haiku

oh, heartbreaker dog
you don't deserve that big hug
your heart is evil

innocent boy slave
drop the conniving pooch now
run for your life, son

My dog, Coco, and I are not getting along tonight because she can be one demanding pooch. 

This may be the biggest favor I ever do for my readers: take my advice and never get a smart dog. Sure, it seems like a smart dog would make life easier, but that is just a black hole of reasoning that will pull you in and masticate your soul as you face the realization that you now live with a creature that is smarter, faster and has far more free time that you ever will. You know I wouldn't spit out such a run-on sentence unless I meant business. And by the time you realize it, it's too late for you...everyone will side with the dog, because...well...she's the family dog...and she's cute.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bagged and Tagged: Bloggers Beach Party

One of my favorite cartoons to draw involves paper bag puppets with personalities, oblivious of the hand in the bag. In the spirit of creative control freakism, I declare Wednesday is Bagged and Tagged Day. My refusal to use the term "hump day" more that once a year is partially to blame.

Interesting, fun friendships have been discovered in the Blog-o-sphere, and I'm just thrilled to share stories and bad jokes with my blogpals. I have no shame. If you're a regular visitor, fan who stuck their head out of the gopher hole or commentor, don't be surprised to find yourself bagged (i.e., turned into a paper bag puppet a la Cherdo).  It's a Flipster badge of honor.

This week, I welcome Shady Dell Knight and Janie Junebug to the Blogger's Beach Party. These friendly Floridians have provided many, many laughs over the past months and I'm just tickled pink that they continue to stop by. Follow the links and check out their blogs!

You've been bagged and tagged, Shady and Janie.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Liberty and SATs for All

Whoa, buddy! Stop the presses on the revised SAT test! 

Those folks at the U. S.College Board are trying to pull a fast one on the fine students of American colleges and universities. Let me rephrase that: they are being accused of pulling a fast one on the fine Chinese students who attend American colleges and universities. That is what China's official New China News Agency said when they heard the SAT revisions will include some of the U.S. founding documents. Those changes may appear as soon as Spring of 2016.

"Including content from America's founding documents in a revised U.S. college entry exam has drawn attention in China, with worries the materials may impose the American values system on students," the agency said. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day, Critters

It's a lazy Mom-day; I'm whipped for no specific reason. Awakening at the crack of dawn, I decided that a trip to the throne room couldn't be avoided, but I could always jump back in bed. It's a national holiday, by cracky, and that is how I'll celebrate.