Friday, December 21, 2007

A Very Letterman Christmas!!!

In true David Letterman style, the Top Ten Reasons why Jim likes Christmas . . .

10. The one time of year where being bald, fat, and jolly is "in"!

9. Alcohol in the office is actually acceptable. (for once!)

8. Even people who hate me have to pretend to be nice.

7. I get to piss off all the PC morons by yelling "Merry Christmas!" every time I see them.

6. VACATION!!!! (woop-woop!)

5. People actually give me stuff. (No, they really do!)

4. Drunk women in short red skirts singing "Santa Baby" (Always fun!)

3. Bonuses!!!!!!!

2. Watching the neighbor fall off his roof stringing Christmas lights. (Oh, hush! You'd laugh too!)

And the #1 reason Jim likes Christmas . . . (drum roll, please!)

1. I get to spend uninterrupted time with The Wife and The Boy. (Don't bother callin', we ain't gonna pick up, folks!)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!

My ass is out until 2008 . . .


Friday, December 07, 2007

Psychology On The Fly!!

Have I mentioned I'm taking an intro. Pysch course? (Final exam tomorrow . . .yuk!) Funny how life works sometimes. I took the course because it's a degree requirement and it happened along at a time in my life where I really needed some vocabulary and understanding to express what I've been doing inside my own little brain.

Seems I stumbled across the right combination of humanistic and cognitive theraputic approaches to address my own personal reinforcement contingencies. And I didn't even need to pay nobody for the help, how frikkin' cool is that, huh??? :-)

All it means is that I pulled away from the Freudian Psychodynamic model of my problems (Mommy and Daddy didn't love me enough!) and started looking at my own behaviors as reinforcing my problems in a never ending cycle. (I was bummed because I was fat/lazy/useless, so I sat on the couch eating cookies and moaning about how fat/lazy/useless I was.) That worked for me pretty damn well, since I always thought old Siggy was full of shit anyway. There are days when I don't know if I should laugh or cry over how simple it really was. I spent years hating myself, when all I had to do was work at doing the things I wanted to do . . . to BE the person I wanted to be, ya' know? Some days I'm furious that I wasted so much time before finding such a simple solution and other days I just want to laugh out loud because it all fell in place so simply once I accepted the answer. I always knew the answer, I think, but it seemed too damn simple for such big problems. Part of me worries some days that it really IS too easy; that I'm kidding myself and it will all come crashing down again any moment. That's when I have to take a breath and go out and do something physically positive (hence, why I get up and run every morning at 5:30 a.m. And DAMN, it's not fun when temps are in the low teens here in the NE of the USA!!!!) The simple act of moving forward with a positive act eliminates all the negative shit that tries to infect my brain. I have come to a single statement that I am living by and I didn't even need my Psych I class to get there:

"I am who I choose to be."

Simple, huh? Don't know if any of you can understand how hard that simple idea was for me to come by (Except you, Lynn. You know.) I came to a simple understanding that who I am right now doesn't have to be who I am tomorrow. I can become whatever I choose, just by doing the things that will get me there. The simple act of moving towards that person MAKES you that person. Is that some wildly simple shit, or what? I don't need anyone else's help, or any traumatic epiphany of my inner-child, I just need to do what makes me the guy I want to be.

Anyway, things are good. It's been ridiculously busy with the holidays and all but I'm loving it! I'm loving being with The Wife, Boy and Dog. Unexpected changes, being crazy busy, and stupid crap don't seem to freak me out any more . . . I iz one lo-stressin' dude!!!!


Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day

Y'all know I have a very large soft spot for those who serve in uniform. I got this video e-mailed to me today and it damn near left me in tears. I figured I'd share it with everyone. Please watch it, it is REALLY worthwhile. The girl who made the video is only 15, but she's a very wise young lady . . .

Thank you to everyone out there who has ever worn a uniform!!!!


Monday, November 05, 2007

Yin vs. Yang

Men and women think differently. (I know, you're saying: "Well . . . DUH!")

I know we think differently in general terms but I'm referrring to a specific mind set here. One of the biggest areas we differ in, is what we see as our "role" in this life. Women seem to be content with their position in life and often (not alway, I know, but I'm generalizing here, people!) have no desire to move beyond that role. They want security in their lives more than anything else. Stability, consistency, and reliability are what they want.

Speaking from the male end of things, I can't imagine three words in the english language I would less like applied to my life! Men think differently. We need purpose. We need to pursue something that will lend meaning to our lives, to feel that we were here for some reason beyond breeding and providing for our family. Whenever I think of this subject, I'm reminded of Richard Dreyfus and his description of sharks in the film "Jaws":

" . . . what we are dealing with here is a perfect eating machine...... it's really a miracle of evolution...... all this machine does , is swim..... and eat..... and make little sharks . . . and thats all!"

I imagine that's a fine life for a shark, but as a man . . . it's a little disappointing, ya' know? Are we supposed to grow, have young, support our young until they grow, then die and let them carry on the cycle? I have to believe there's more to it than that! Why am I self-aware? Why do I have the mental and emotional capability built inside me that let me question the process if it's the only way to be? Evolution favors strength. If pursuing meaning wasn't a vital part of life, I wouldn't have the capacity to note meaning's abscence, now would I?

As you might imagine, this is a bone of contention between The Wife and I. My pursuit of things beyond the status-quo of our current life greatly disturbs her. She sees it as a threat of sorts. She seems to think such pursuits indicate that I'm not happy with my life, or with her, or in what we've built together. She couldn't be any more wrong, but I can't seem to convice her of that. She is content to be where/what/who we are at this moment and doesn't understand why I'm looking for more. Truth is, I can't imagine NOT looking for more. Seems to me the day you stop looking is the day they bury your useless ass! Failing to understand my thought process, she writes it all off to testosterone and my "male ego". Is it ego? I don't think so . . . I think everyone should be looking for their purpose in life. There has to be a reason why we are here, and self-aware, when other creatures about us are driven purely by instinct and survival needs. Women should be asking the same questions of themselves and looking for what things in this life will help them be who they feel they should be. (I apologize for that goofy sentence structure, but that's the best way I can put it right now.)

It may be just The Wife who sees things this way but I get the same type of vibe/input from all the women I know. It could be a cultural thing I guess. Most of the women I know are white, middle-class, in the 30-50 age bracket and from Western European stock. Maybe it's a 21st century America thing? I don't know, but I can't even begin to understand it. Standing in one place for 30+ years (ya' know: metaphorically!) and waiting for the Reaper to show up at your door and cart you off to the hereafter seems to me the worst sort of hell, but they all seem fine with the idea. They'll have bigger homes, nicer cars, more cash in the bank, and no surprises and/or fears to disrupt their viewings of "Desperate Housewives". I don't want that. I WANT the unexpected. I want to push at my own limits until the day the Reaper shows up, and let me tell ya: that sumbitch best be wearin' running shoes cuz he's gonna have to catch this old man! " ;-)

Seriuosly, just because The Boy becomes and adult won't mean I'm done and should go lay down in the grass. I still have many more years (I hope!) of life and I intend to spend them doing the things that are important to me. The first half of my life has been very much about doing what I "had to" do. I intend to spend the rest of it doing what I "want to" do. That doesn't mean ditching The Wife for an 18 year old tramp and buying a new Corvette (Though I will continue whistling at both and saying "Damn, that's fine!") I just refuse to settle for "We're comfortable, why risk it?" when I can still chart a different -better- course for my life. I have one goal only in my life and it confounds The Wife because she just doesn't understand it. All I want is to die knowing that I did something important here. Something nobody else could have done. It doesn't need to be anything big, I just need to know I was here for a reason . . . that I was -at least once- valuable for who I am, not just what I could provide.

Does that make sense? Well it does to me, but obviously not to The Wife! Anyway, I've bored you enough for one day . . .


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Path Taken

I'm not remotely the person who started this blog anymore, did you know that?

Somehow, the simple act of willing a change in myself has actually had the effect that I was after. Don't know why . . . I've "willed" my ass off for fourty years with no appreciable change in my levels of stupidity and general moroseness but this time it seemed to stick. Maybe it's the actuality of my age? The simple realization that at 40, there aren't a whole lot of "some day's" left in my future? A sudden karmic realization that I'm here on a limited visa and my time is at least 1/2 used up? I honestly have no answer for that. All I know is that I ain't that guy no more! (Yea, I know it's a double negative, but it's my blog and I'll fracture the language as I damn-well please! so PHHHHTTTT!!!!)

I think that's a very good thing.

Physically, I'm lovin' life! I'm down over 70 lbs. now (Have I mentioned that a few dozen times already? I don't recall . . .) and I have more energy than I've ever had in my whole life. I can do things that I thought were beyond my reach forever. Unless you've carted about 300 lbs. on your back, you can't imagine what a thrill it is to be able to bend over and tie your shoes without breaking into a sweat, huffing like a train, and hurting your back. (Sadly, no. that is NOT an exaggeration, my friends!) The physical stuff is really only part of it though. The biggest changes have been mental. How so, you ask? Well, for starters, I'm not quite so pissed off all the time anymore. I don't know if The Wife has noticed but it's been quite a while since we've had a fight (I really shouldn't say that . . . it's tempting fate!) True though. Oh, we've had some disagreements, but we haven't even raised our voices at each other in quite a while. I'm just not feeling "angry" anymore. Things don't seem to bother me as much now. I've got clear goals in mind (for once!) and a plan of action to get to those goals that I'm actively working on. I don't feel lost & frustrated all the time. I finally feel like I'm in control of myself and my life.

It's one hell of a great feeling!

I no longer spend all my time sleeping, watching TV, or escaping the dullness of my life inside of fantasy worlds (reading or writing!) I still do all those things, but only when I have some free time and I want to enjoy them, not because they're the only thing I have to turn to. The Wife and I are spending more time together and actually enjoying each other's company (Well, I enjoy her's anyway. She may find me to be a total PITA, but that's her problem!) We go out on weekends and at night I do homework -my own and working with The Boy- and I don't get upset anymore when unexpected changes to our schedule come up, I just roll with it. I'm no longer looking for some grand wind-fall, like hitting the lotter (Or, ya' know: writing the Great American Novel!) to make things "better" for me. I'm making them better every day and I'm liking the journey.

Simple thing: I found myself smiling at my reflection in the mirror this morning when I got out of the shower. That was a startling thing. I've been scowling at myself for so many years, it made me jump when I saw it (okay, so I'm a little unstable, but y'all should know that by now!) Even work seems a whole lot more fun now. It's not the depressing chore it used to be. I come in each day whistling and I head home with a smile still on my face, leaving all the stresses and worries at the door. Some of it is -I'm sure- from the weight loss, but much of it was simply finding something I really wanted to do and going after it, no matter how hard it was. These goals -unlike the writing, which was always a safe "dream" that I could seem to labor at without having to show any real progress, everything I'm doing now has time and deadlines. They're not wishful dreams, but concrete paths I can feel under my feet.

And that, my friends, has made all the difference! (To steal from Mr. R. Frost!)


Monday, October 08, 2007

Crazy Life

Where have I been you ask?

Well, running about like a chicken without a head is where! I've had Scout events each of the last three weekends, plus another coming up. Running The Boy to school events, carrying a full-time college course load this semester, moving to a new office at work, travelling for work, and dealing with family health issues has left me no time for much of anything. This is just an "I'm alive" post, since I have no time for anything else. Tune back in next week and I may have some time to breathe.


Thursday, September 20, 2007


So, The Boy is growing up.

He went to school today in his NROTC uniorm for the first time and he actually looked great in it. The Wife was good, she didn't cry (though she did go back to bed and pull the covers over her head after he left, so I have my suspicions!) but she ain't happy her baby is growing up. Folks have been noticing lately that he's quieter and more thoughtful when he speaks and that he handles things with a bit more confidence than you'd expect to see in most 14 year olds. I watched him last week, running his Scout Troop's color guard at a $500/plate black-tie fundraiser. He calmly, and politely, spoke with four of five local dignitaries (university president, radio DJ, former senator, BSA council president, etc.) to arrange and coordinate the entire evening's program for his guys and he never once asked me for help or advice. He ran the program so well, all the dignitaries made a point of telling me how remarkable the boys were. They even made sure to get a number of pictures with the boys for publicity. Yup, he done good! The Boy's ok in my book! :-)

Other things . . . Well, I'm carrying a full-time (15 Credit) course load in my return to college. (No, I don't do things by half.) It's a little daunting but I think I can do it. it's been a few years since I had to study and take tests, but it's like riding a bike, right? Shit, I hope so!

Still running every day and the weight is still moving downward, albeit slowly. (Why can't I lose 30 lbs/day, huh? Is that too much to ask? Sheesh!) All-in-all, things are going great at the moment, even if a bit hectic, but I'll take it.

Writing . . . ummmmm . . . no? None at all. Just haven't had the time, or the burning desire. I'm trying to learn to live in the real world for once, ya' know? I'm actually enjoying it out here and I don't want to get lost back inside myself again. I'll head back to it, but only when I'm certain that I won't lose my place here in reality. Does that make sense? Nah, not to me either. Oh well, you'll have to trust me on that one! :-)


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Memory and Courage

It's September 11th once more. Please take a moment to remember all those who passed on that terrible day.

. . .


September 11th . . . (Note, that it is spelled out and NOT referred to as "9-11". Please don't call it that, the events of that day were too important to ever be "nicknamed" It strikes me as damn disrespectful to the folks who went through it.) September 11th was an important day in my life. It changed the way I saw the world. No, I didn't lose anyone directly to the attacks but I stood outside my office on that awful morning and I could see the smoke and dust rising into the sky with my own eyes. I stood there, knowing that the planes had flown over my head only moments before and I'd been blissfully unaware of what was about to happen. I stood there, not knowing if people I loved had been in the Towers that morning (My oldest brother worked in Tower Two regularly. Thank God, he overslept that morning and was caught in traffic on the Jersey side of the river when it happened.) I stood there, a slow dread awakening in my heart as I realized that with a difference in flight time of less than five minutes, those planes could have obliterated everything and everyone, that I loved. My wife, my son, my entire family . . . had all come within moments of death and none of us had even known the danger was there.

We hadn't even suspected.

Today, six years later, we are a nation at war. Men and women in uniform are thousands of miles from home, fighting in places and conditions most of us can barely imagine, to ensure such events do not happen again. They are putting their bodies between my family and a recurrence of the events of that dreadful day. There aren't enough words in any language for me to thank them properly, so I'll just have to settle for "Thank You". If you wear, have worn, or will one day wear, the uniform of a United States soldier, no matter what branch, thank you for keeping the ones I love safe. Thank you for making it possible for us to sleep quiet in our beds each night without fear of what might fall on us from above. Today is September 11th, and we all need to remember those who died in the Towers but we must also remember those who have fallen since to make sure it would not happen again. Most of all, we must also remember those who still stand -weapon in hand- to make certain it never will.

As of yesterday, my brother-in-law Bill (you may remember him from this post about his working in support of hurricane Katrina) moved to the front lines of that fight. He has deployed to Iraq, leaving behind his wife and three children in order to protect all of us. Take a moment today to think about him -and everyone like him- and to say a prayer for their safe and speedy return.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Top 10 Things to Ponder

I am shamelessly lifting these from Mr. Pissed, because they made me laugh . . .

Number 10 - Life is sexually transmitted.

Number 9 - Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which One can die.

Number 8 - Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny. If you see him Without an erection, make him a sandwich.

Number 7 - Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a Person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.

Number 6 - Some people are like a Slinky...not really good for Anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble Down the stairs.

Number 5 - Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in Hospitals dying of nothing.

Number 4 - All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no Attention to criticism.

Number 3 - Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars And a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?

Number 2 - In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now The world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.


We know exactly where one cow with Mad-cow-disease is located among the millions and millions of cows in America but we haven't got a clue as to where thousands of illegal Immigrants and terrorists are located. Maybe we should put the Department of Agriculture in charge of immigration

Sad, yet true, no?


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm Back

Howdy, folks! I'm back from the lovely state of Maine and here to dazzle you with the wit and charm of my poetic prose . . .

Well, I'm back, anyways. :-)

Vacation was amazing!

Sat on the shores of a huge, crystal blue, deserted lake and watched the sun go down while the coyotes serenaded me in the distance. Stood on the point that first sees daylight each day in the continental US and picked fresh blueberries from the bushes around me. Saw humpack whales, seals, porpoise and a bald eagle diving for fish. Kayaked with The Boy, took The Puppy for long walks in the forest, and sat on the beach with The Wife, gazing up in awe at the brilliant white lights of an endless universe. Had some great meals (And one crappy one) and some better desserts (OMFG! Blueberry-peach pie & deep fried cheescake!) Spent hours reading quietly beside the roaring fire with my family about me, saw the joy on The Boy's face when I let him drive the motor boat. Got to sleep late, snuggled up tight to The Wife against the morning chill. Never saw a drop of rain, nor a temperature that went over 82 deg. Napped in a hammock, and held hands with The Wife in matched Adirondack chairs beside the water. Walked along granite shoreline and watched the thunderous breakers of the North Atlantic shatter into white foam around me. Sipped blueberry soda and watched sailing ships slide into harbor beneath a sky so blue it hurt your eyes to look at it . . .

Yup. Not bad at all, eh? Shit, it doesn't get any better than that in my book!

Well . . . The Wife might disagree. She had a nice time and all but it was a bit more rustic than she's used to. The cabin didn't have any heat, other than the fireplace, and it got a might nippy in the a.m, which she was definitely NOT a fan of. Also, the water heater was a bit sporadic and had a tendency to shift your shower from scalding to freezing without much notice. Again, not a plus in her book. (Funny as hell to me and The Boy, though! She yelped louder than the coyotes!) Other than that, she had a good time. I imagine I can get her to do it again, provided the cabin we get has heat and steady hot water. Funniest thing was her fussing over The Boy . . . "Are you cold?" "Is it too dark for you out here?" "Careful, there might be animals outside!" I didn't have the heart to tell her that he spends the better part of his time with Scouts: tent camping in two feet of snow, in the middle of nowhere, with bears wandering in and out of camp regularly. He was good about it too. He didn't get frustrated, he just kept saying "Yes, Mom. I'm fine, Mom." and then he'd look at me and silently roll his eyes. The pair of them kept me entertained all week!

Tell ya' what though, it was a royal PITA coming back to Jersey . . . 96 degrees, 90% humidity, and traffic out the hoo-hah . . . I did not miss these things! Work (of course!) sucked Monday. I had 97 e-mails and 12 phone messages waiting for me (which, I'm sad to say, is actually pretty good for my first day back from a vaca. It's usually more like 150+ e-mails!)

Monday ended nicely though. The Wife took me to dinner at a fantastic restaurant for my birthday. Yup, I've actually reached the dreaded four-zero, folks. My sorry old ass is officially middle-aged now. (Have to remember to change the blog header when I'm done posting this!) Good news is that I'm in better shape at the moment than I was at thirty . . . hell, maybe even twenty-five. I'm still moving downward on the scales and running regularly (even while in Maine! How's that for dedication?) Anyways, I'm back in town and I'll keep you posted . . .


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Waitin' . . .

This week can't end quickly enough!

Tomorrow, I'm leaving the crazy behind and headed for the remote wilderness with my family. just a lake, a quiet cabin, and no computers to be found anywhere!!!! Peace and quiet at last . . .

This week of course has been nuts trying to close everything out at work before I split. Home has been fairly stressful as well. The Wife and I are . . . well, not arguing exactly, but in a strong exchange of opinions over the path our future should take. Nobody's getting angry (Thank God!) but we definitely ain't agreeing about things and it's made for some uncomfortable silences and upset stomachs. Just one of them married things, I guess. Single folks don't realize how simple things are for them. They make a decision and move ahead with it. Marriage is "life by committee" . . . everything has to be examined, re-examined, proposed, amended, voted on, then finalized before it can be enacted. No wonder most everyone in Congress is married . . .

Did I mention I need this vacation?

Seriously, the last two vacations we did were Disney (yay.) & D.C. I was more stressed when we got back from those than I had been when we left. I'm not a fan of crowds and agendas. The Wife LOVES agendas. Nothing makes her happier than lists. She loves lists. Lists for everything: what to buy, where to go, when to be there, who to call, where to eat . . . Hell, the woman makes lists of what lists she needs to make! (You think I'm kidding, don't ya? Huh-uh. I've SEEN it!) Love her as I do, the woman makes most "Type-A" personalities seem free-wheelin'! She calls it being organized. I call it being anal-retentive.

And you wonder why she smacks me all the time . . .

Anyway, you won't hear from me next week, so be good y'al. I'll talk at ya' when I get back.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Catching Up


Still here and still kickin'! Been too busy to post. Took a few days off last week to go camping so the other days were jammed full trying to get ready for the trip and then trying to dig out of the backlog once I got back. Today's the first day I can breathe again!

The trip was cool, I got to do two full days with the Scouts (Sadly, The Boy couldn't make this trip - other responsibilities) and we did some cool stuff. I got to do some water skiing and ride on a "banana boat" (six-person inflatible raft that looks like huge banana and is towed behind a boat at 20 mph by a lunataic driver intent on dumping you all off. Fun as shit!) We also went rock climbing at an 85 ft. tall cliff face, wherein Your's Truly was almost killed.

Nope, I'm not exaggerating at all. I was belaying one of the older boys, when a huge chunk of rock broke off under his weight and plummeted toward me. the rock was about 15 or so inches across and maybe 8 in. thick, dropping from 70 or so feet, right at my delicate noggin! The climber screamed "Rock!" and I saw it coming down but there was nothing I could do. Moving would have meant letting go of the belay line -which I was NOT gonna do- so my only option was to "turtle-in". Bascially, that means pulling arms and legs in tight, head down, and trying to hide my whole body under the teeny little climbing helmet I was wearing. (Yea, like THAT was gonna happen!) Luck was with me though, the rock didn't hit me. It just grazed my left arm, leaving a few scratches, and slammed onto the rocks at my feet, exploding like a grenade, showering my legs with bits of sharp rock, earning me a few more scrapes. Scared the shit out of me! Overall though, it was a cool trip. I even got to shoot me some black powder rifles! Those are awesome!

On other fronts, I hit the In-Law's for a major landscaping project the day after I got back from the mountains. The whole family pitched in to work on their yard as a belatedFather/Mother's Day gift. It was actually fun. it was especially cool when we finished out the last hour or so in the middle of a thunderstorm. It rained buckets and by the end I was running about with nothing on but my shorts (I felt bad for the poor neighbors!) I actually did a little bit of writing last week before I split, not much, just a few hundred words but it was something.

Exercising is still going well, weight still dropping. I actually worried about missing days while I was on vacation but running up and down mountains, etc. MORE than made up for missing a day of running! It also helped that the food at this camp sucked, so I didn't eat a whole hell of a lot.

What else is going on? Oh, I'm working on heading back to school to finish off a BS in Engineering Graphics, did I mention that? That's one of them new things I want to do I been telling y'all about. It's what I specialize in now, so I don't imagine it will give me any great career boost, but it's one of those unfinished things in my life that I want to resolve. Just for my own peace of mind, ya' know? It'll be kinda fun to do some school work too. Maybe The Boy and I can do our homework together this year! :-)


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Quick Update

Well, I managed to completely surprise myself this week.

I opened up my notebook for "Slayer", expecting to pick up the redlines at about 1/2 way through the book. Damn me if it wasn't already done! I had finished it at some point and completely forgotten about it. Well, that was a nice surprise, so I figured I'd start the type-in. I open up the file on my computer and it turns out that's damn near done as well! I only had 50 or so pages of the final changes left to do!


I know I must have done the work but for some reason I really thought I was only partially through the redline. Damn, I'm gettin' senile! Anyway, I polished off the last few pages, printed out the full MS last night and I'm preparing to mail it out to the agent who asked for the revisions tomorrow. I did a HUGE amount of cutting based on her input: nearly 14,000 words left on the cutting room floor. (Ouch!) It was hard to do it but the agent was right. It's now a much tighter, fast-paced book. The stuff I killed was well written (and funny, dammit!) but it just wasn't necessary to the story. I had to let it go. Had to get over liking the sound of my own voice as it were.

So, I'll send it out tomorrow and hopefully the agent in question will still be interested after a five month delay in getting it to her. If not . . . then, not. Other than that, the week has been busy, frustrating, annoying, thankless, tiring, and an all around PITA.

How's by you?


Friday, July 13, 2007

Thinking Out Loud

So, in comments on my last post, Lynn blasted me for not writing. (Just kidding, she was actually very helpful and supportive!) She went back through this blog and clipped a lot of my own posts about why I need to write. (As if you poor bastards didn’t get enough of my blathering the first time around!) I have to say, it made me stop and think. I’m going to try and make sense of those thoughts on this page, so if you wanna bow out and come back on another day when I’m not rambling, now’s your chance!

Ok, here we go: stream of consciousness . . .

I have had no desire to write since I seriously started to take an active role in changing my life. I’m not sure why really, but part of it is definitely out of fear that the depression of rejections, stress of submittals, etc. will disrupt my progress toward the “new me”. I’m not noted for my fortitude when it comes to change, folks. I have a long track record of charging into new things with gusto, only to burn out and return to former bad habits in just a few weeks/months. Small things are often the cause (excuse!) of that. A cold, a fight with The Wife . . . hell, a bad day at work has been known to de-rail my best intentions. That’s one reason I haven’t been writing. I guess there’s another though. I’m afraid of it. The last few agents were interested in my work. The very last I spoke with wanted me to make some changes and re-submit to her before she’d offer representation, but she was seriously considering it.

Do you have any idea how frightening that is? I know, I know! That’s stupidity of the highest order. I busted my ass to get this far and now that I’m close to getting to where I wanted to be, I’m afraid to finish the journey. Is it really the fear holding me back? I don’t know. I’m sure it’s part of it though. It’s the idea of the level of expectations that would entail which bothers me, I think. It’s easy to write when nobody is really reading what you’ve put down. It’s easy to type half-a-million words when you don’t really believe it will ever be good enough to be published. Dreams are safe, as long as they're just dreams. they carry no burden of acual performance with them. When it suddenly turns out that your babbling has potential and folks actually want to talk about publishing it, it’s a whole new game. Can I produce regularly at that level? Am I really talented, or did I just happen to cobble something together that might make the lowest rung of the literary ladder and ever after be doomed to being an “almost was”? What if that entry level novel is the best and only thing I’m capable of doing? What then? Yup. Scary.

There’s also a question in my head about how important being a writer is to me. I’ve been wondering if I was writing to write or because I was looking for a giant pay day that would let me feel “successful” (damn, I’m using a lot of quotes in this piece, ain’t I?) What success means to me is one of the things I’m struggling with right now. I haven’t been able to pin it down yet. Is it being rich? Famous? Having a great family? Facing up to your responsibilities? Being respected? Owning the nice home? Maybe it’s all of these, and none, at the same time. I don’t know. I know this: it’s not working 50 hours/week in a dull profession to put more money in the bank for an elusive “some day”. I know that much! Don’t misunderstand: I have a good job. It’s close to home, the hours are good, it pays really well, and it can be actual fun some days. The thing is, it doesn’t make me proud of myself. It’s a corporate drone type of job . . . it supports my family nicely but in the end, it’s just shuffling pixels on a screen so a corporation can show profits. Is this all I’m here for? Am I supposed to spend my entire life chasing money so that I can have two weeks out of the year to enjoy my life? Shall I do that until I’m so old, fat, and sick that I won’t be able to use any of the cash I’ve put aside? That’s no way for anyone to live. That’s a life without purpose. I hate the thought of that. That’s a big part of why I started writing. Writers touch other people’s lives. They make a difference. I want to make a difference in this world. I want to leave a mark of some kind. I want to know that the world is a better place because I lived in it. Writing seemed to be the best answer because I was never physically equipped to do anything more direct. What does that mean?

Well, take a look at the blurb on the top of my page. It says I’m “38, shaved head, goatee, paunch . . .” Well, aside from the fact that I’ll be 40 next month (I really should update that!) there’s a bunch of bullshit in that statement. First off, while I do shave my head, it’s because I started going seriously bald when I was twenty. Think that doesn’t wreak havoc on a man’s confidence? Guess again! The blurb also says I have a “paunch”. Who the hell am I kidding? I was big as a friggin’ house when I wrote that! I was pushing at 300 lbs. folks. I couldn’t walk to the end of my street without puffing like a freight train (that’s only 100 yards or so!) I couldn’t do five sit-ups or three push-ups. Every joint on my body hurt. I literally had to roll out of my bed each morning because my back hurt so bad I couldn’t sit up. I would limp to the bathroom because my feet hurt terribly and all I ever wanted to do was sleep. No matter how much sleep I got though, I was always tired. I couldn’t do anything! I certainly couldn’t make any type of direct impact on the world when that’s who I was. Writing I could do, because it only required planting of ass in chair (a specialty of mine!) It seemed my only option. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good option, but at the time it was the only one I had. Now, things are different. I became a vegetarian, which helped me drop a lot of pounds and lose a lot of the aches and pains. Dropping the pounds let me exercise, which led to more lost pounds, and a lot more energy. Now, I only need 6-7 hours of sleep to get through my day with no problems, instead of the 12+ I needed before and at the end of the day, I’m merely tired, not exhausted and sick. I’m not that useless guy anymore. Oh, I still have a good distance to go, but I can see myself being able to do the things I’ve always believed beyond my reach for the last 20 years (yup, I’ve been a lard-ass for that long. Sad, ain’t it?) For the first time in . . . forever, I can see myself accomplishing other things; following other dreams. I actually like myself again. I worry that writing might pull me back into the old ways again, that I might wind up ass-in-chair instead of feet-on-the-pavement.

Wanna hear something stupid? (Yea, like you haven’t already!) It only just occurred to me that I can do both. I could write and still pursue the other things too, couldn’t I? (Don’t laugh at me!) That may seem painfully obvious to you, but to someone who’s had only one reachable dream for most of his life, the idea of doing multiple things at once is a pretty radical thought! Maybe that’s an answer. Writing, for me, has always required a totality of effort. I had to push everything else aside to perform the work. Had to, because I only had so much energy to work with. Two hours a day of writing, coupled with a full day at work damn near killed me. I hadn’t really thought about it but with all this extra energy, I might be able to write and still do the other stuff, huh? What a bizarre concept! I’ll have to try it and see if it works. I can’t allow writing to take over my life again but there’s no real reason I can’t still do it, is there? So, maybe it’s not a real problem, just the fear of success/failure. Christ, am I nuts or what? Am I the only one who’s terrified of both?

This whole thing sounds like a mid-life crisis, doesn’t it? (I know that’s what The Wife is worried about!) I don’t know, maybe it is. I’ve never been middle-aged before, so I guess it could be. Thing is, I don’t think it’s a crisis. It feels more like an awakening, ya’ know? I’m not looking to buy a Porsche and replace The Wife with a 20-year-old blonde with silicon hooters and no brains. I don’t want a tummy-tuck and hair plugs. All I want is to actually live a normal life. I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing so far . . . well, on a strictly personal front anyway. I think I’ve done pretty damn well on the husband/father front (Though The Wife might disagree with the first!). It’s just that I’m not happy with who I am as an individual. I need to do things that will let me feel satisfied with who I am, not just doing things that are needed to keep the family running, ya’ know? Does that sound whiny? I don’t mean it too. I just need more out of myself is all. I need to be better than I am.

Well, that’s enough torture for one day. If you all haven’t fallen asleep yet, you can move on to better things now. Thanks for reading all the way through, if you made it without gouging out your eyes in boredom. Oh, and Lynn: thanks for making me look at this directly. I appreciate it. Well, enjoy your weekend all. I’ll talk to ya’ next week. Who knows? I may even have some writing to tell you about! :-)


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Just Free Forming . . .

I've Stood

I've been disenchanted in the face of dreams
Taken the brutal paths of misunderstanding
Gazed across the frozen lakes of alone
Spiraled through the swirling storms of empty
Seen the burnt remnants of wishes wash into the gutter
Laughed madly at the hollow jokes of faith
Stood small amongst giants and towered above the small

I've gazed in the eyes of a stranger inside a mirror
Drank bitter teas of truth and sweet wine of lies
Heard the slow silence of deep nights
Felt the warmth of ice rain on bare skin
Run through green woods in deep shadow
Raised my voice in misery and joy to an empty sky
Stood against the driving surf amidst a crowd on an empty beach

I've danced when there was no one to see
Waited unseen beside greatness
Sung drunken songs before the sacred altar of conformity
Wept softly in the face of simple kindness
Walked in the steps of genius and been humbled
Spoken loudly when wisdom demanded silence
Stood beside close friends and remained unseen

I've faced many fears and feared many faces
Sat upon damp grass contemplating a white moon
Waited outside empty windows for the glimpse of a friend
Driven silent highways with only wind for a companion
Watched fires burn in the depths of calm waters
Slept beside warmth that made the night colder
Stood upon crumbling ground and laughed

I've lost faith but never broken it
Wished with all my heart for dreams I never wanted
Listened to fools and ignored sages
Tasted the salt of tears I truly earned
Wandered through lands no one else could see
Prayed that I would never again need to pray
Stood too long in one spot from fear of moving

I've known the quiet heart of mayhem
Flown through winds of change on a tattered kite
Wondered at the smallness of life's greatest moments
Smiled at the brilliance of children's simplicity
Cursed into the oblivion of idiocy
Played at working and worked at playing
Stood just tall enough to be seen when I wished to

I've played hide-and-seek with angels in a forest of pins
Helped some in need who never knew
Hid from the cold demands of my own realities
Lain on the hood of a rusting metal beast and conversed with the stars
Held the secrets of others but never revealed my own
Caressed black wool and shivered as emptiness devoured me
Stood the best I knew how and never apologized

Copyright 2007 by James A. Coppinger

Monday, July 09, 2007

Quiet, Please.

I don't have it in me to be entertaining today. Well, not just today actually. I don't know that I have it in me anymore at all. One of the things I've discovered recently is that I've spent a good portion of my life "entertaining" other folks. Being the jovial, smiling, wit who can make folks laugh on cue. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, but for some reason it's one thing I've grown tired of. I don't want to do it anymore. Sometimes I just want to sit quietly and not talk. Sometimes I just want to sip my drink and watch the sunset in silence. Sometimes I don't want to have to fill-in-the-blanks with a clever story from years gone by. I want to be the quiet guy sitting at the table for a change.

That sounds kind of odd I guess but it's a good thing. I just don't want to perform for folks anymore. I'm me . . . Jim. I don't have to be the peacemaker and the guy who shuts down all the arguments with a joke. If you wanna fight, go right ahead! I'll sit here and relax while you do. If you spout off some stupid ass, hateful, or just plain ignorant comment in a crowd full of folks who are staring at you like you've got six-heads, that's your problem. I'm not bailing you out with a quick one-liner anymore. If you act like an ass, take your lumps. It ain't my problem.

I like the idea of being quiet for a change. (Though it's making The Wife nervous. Sh'e not sure how to handle it!) Just want to say what I want, wen I want. Not because I think I should. That may mean this blog gets kinda dull from time-to-time. Sorry 'bout that but it is what it is. Today's a quiet day, so everybody grab a drink, sit back and . . .



Monday, July 02, 2007


Do you think it's possible being a vegetarian helps you heal faster?

I went to the rock gym again on Friday (with The Boy, my nephew and Bro-In-Law. Was much fun!) and I damaged my left hand. I was really pushing it and I slid off a grip, tearing all the skin off the pads of the center two fingers of my hand. Think about the hole left by a large blister just below the knuckle, and you've got the general idea. The tears were deep, too. I was down into the dermis at least. Now, I've had this type of injury before (we all have at one time or another, no?) and it sucks. Everything burns! Air . . . water . . . touching it with another finger . . . everything feels like fire. It usually takes a week or more of this agony before the new skin grows over it enough so you can wash your hands without screaming (Ok, so I'm a whimp!) Not this time though.

I did the damage Friday night at about 9:00 p.m. and by Sunday morning the rips had healed over to a hard skin that I could touch with no problem. Even soap didn't sting!!! As of this writing (Monday p.m.) They've healed up to the point where they don't even hurt anymore. Another two or three days and the damn things will be fully healed. Bizarre! Shit, it normally takes me a week to heal up a simple blister and these were MUCH worse.

I don't know how the diet could affect that but I can't think of anything else that might.

On other fronts . . .

Did a graduation party for my niece over the weekend. Nice party (except for the three year old who screamed, threw cake at his mother, and repeatedly punched his father in the face for several hours non-stop. Luckily, he's no relation to us . . .) Yesterday was just a crash day. We hung out and watched movies all day. (in between naps, anyway!) It was a nice afternoon. It's nice to just de-pressurize once in a while. It's been a crazy two months of running from event to event.

I saw this on the Web this morning and it made me laugh:

What's the difference between having "guts" and having "balls"?

GUTS: is arriving home late after a night out with the guys, being assaulted by your wife with a broom, and having the guts to say: "Are you still cleaning, or are you flying somewhere?"

BALLS: is coming home late after a night out with the guys, smelling of perfume and beer with lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the ass, and having the balls to say, "Roll over, You're next!"

I'd have to say that I have guts, not balls. (Cuz if I did, The Wife'd make SURE I didn't for much longer!!!!!)


Tuesday, June 26, 2007


So, just for shits and giggles, I figured I'd take off my shirt and frighten the neighbors when I was working on the yard this weekend. Knowing that my pale Irish ass is subject to burning, I took the precaution of using sun screen so I wouldn't fry too bad. I even made sure it was the "sports" kind that doesn't run off when you sweat (It being a balmy 93 deg. here in central Jersey!) and I applied it liberally using a spray on bottle. Only one problem:

It didn't work!

My frikkin' back is red as a baboon's ass! (Hey, no comments about the similarities, 'kay?) Hurts like a SOB too. Had to get up at 2:30 last night to re-apply the aloe and take a couple of tylenol, just so I could sleep. Ouch.

Didn't let it stop me from my morning run though. I'm steadily doing two miles now without killing myself. I think I'm going to start lengthening the distance next week. I could have this week, but my heels are still a little tender and I don't want to push it and hurt myself again. Heel injuries suck. Weight is still going down. Slowly of course, but I'm learning patience. 1-1/2 lbs. per week seems to be my norm now. I'd prefer to drop 10+ per week of course but that's neither realistic, nor healthy, so I'll have to make do. :-)

Work is work . . . crazy as always. The family is good. We're going a bit nuts at the moment trying to square out The Boy's summer schedule (He's got some High School prep things to do, plus he's actually working this summer as a junior camp couselor) This of course means crazy hours for me . . . either getting up an hour earlier each morning and/or taking my lunch hour to pick him up and run him from place to place. It won't ease up come fall either. His being accepted to the "private" HS means I'll have to shuttle him from home, back to the public HS each afternoon so he can participate in their sports programs. Ah well, that's what father's are for, yes? (Though as I recall, my old man made us hitch rides to practice! Different worlds, I guess . . .)

Anyway, off to train today in a far-away office! Just wanted to check in and say hi.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

And the Allegories Keep on Comin'!

The allegory continues . . .

On Thursday night, I hit the bouldering wall again. Was having a blast, but I got stupid. I climbed one rock without bothering to put a crash pad (big, fluffy mat) below me. I figured that the floor was covered in 2" thick mats and that would be enough. I got to the top, slipped and fell off of a particularly rough transition and twisted about to make sure I landed on my feet. No problems, right? Well . . . maybe one. See, the mats on the floor are joined together by velcro at the edges. Lucky me, I landed with my full weight -on my heels- right at that seam. I pushed right through and slammed both heels into the concrete floor beneath. OUCH! I saw frikkin' stars! The bruises (luckily no breaks!) went from the center of my foot, around the back of each heel, and up to the ankle. I've been waddling about like a penguin for the last few days.

I had a choice then. I could have sat back and rested the heels for a few days until the pain faded, or I could keep on doing my thing and work through the pain. I chose option #2. Sunday, I went out with a group of friends and did some actual rock-climbing. It was up in the mountains, required lugging a ton of rope and gear up to the top of the cliff, then hiking back down and then doing the actual climbing/belaying. Hurt like hell but it was a blast. Monday I rested, then yesterday I had a buddy invite me to his gym (at an un-godly 5:00 a.m.!) as a guest. We did a "Spinning" class. This is where a bunch of very in-shape folks get on stationary bikes and peddle like lunatics for a full hour to blaring music. It was insanely hard! I kept the pace but I had to actually sit on the seat for most of the class while everyone else was standing, crouching, etc. in different positions. It was the best workout I've ever had in my life. it also killed my injured feet, but what the hell? I'm thinking I may actually join the gym and do this regularly . . . depends on prices and such so we'll see.

So what's the allegory? Well, there are two in my little tale today.

1. Trying to do things without a proper support system will get you hurt. I am learning that I do need other people to be my "crash pads" when things go wrong. I don't have to be invulnerable and unshakable. it's ok to say: "Hey! A little help here?"

2. Pain and difficulty only stop you when you let them. This has been a major issue for my whole life. When things hurt too much I would find rational excuses not to continue doing them. I don't think anyone would say not going climbing on badly injured feet was a BS excuse, but it would have been. I could always find good, solid, intelligent, reasons to NOT do the things that frightened me or made me uncomfortable. No more. My answer now is: "Push through it."

One last thing today, since I've gotta run. I got this link in an e-mail from a friend. I don't normally go for touchy-feely things, but this fit my current state of mind on where I'm trying to take my life. Give it a look. It's not bad advice for anyone . . .


Friday, June 15, 2007


Sometimes, life can get all kinda allegorical and shit.

Told you I was going to the rock-climbing gym, right? Well, I went along because it was something I needed to do for Scouts and the original class was kinda fun. We get there, do the certification check (no probs!) and take turns climbing up and down the wall a few times whilst we belay each other. It was fun, but no biggie. Then, I decide to take off the climbing harness and go over to the gym's "bouldering" area. (not sure what that is? Considerate moi' has provided linkage!!) It's pretty cool looking and it only goes up ten or so feet and you don't need to belay each other. I jump on the simulated boulder and start (trying!) to climb about. Folks, I gotta tell you: it was the most fun I've had in years! Let's be honest - I sucked at it: I'm in a lot better shaper than I was a year ago but nowhere near where I need to be for this kind of event, but damn it was fun! Maybe it was the freedom of it, the getting to climb about like a little kid again without having to worry about drawing strange looks (Look, mommy! The creepy fat man is crawling on the rocks!) from people. Maybe it was the simple satisfaction of being able to do it at all (Last year? no way in hell!) or the adrenaline rush that hit me from using every (and I do mean every - literally!) muscle in my body at the same time. I don't know what it was but I came off those rocks laughing like a five-year-old on a swing and jumping back on them again, even though I knew my arms were gonna give out after two feet. It was a blast.

Talk about a workout too! All of us who went were whooped by the time we left. Even the two young guys (18 & 20 and in great shape) were rubbing at their sore arms. Even so, we all agreed to head back again tonight (we needed to do one more test for the cert anyway) I'm looking forward to it. I may try to get out there regularly. Great exercise, outstanding stress relief, and plain old fun!

So, you're asking: "Where's the allegory, Jim?"

Well, the idea of me scaling large boulders to find my way to happiness through physical challenge kinda fits the inner journey I've been taking, ya' know? I also find it funny that I only found it truly enjoyable when I was untethered -on my own- to climb as I wished that the real joy came through. Tired and sore but happy sorta sums it up for me lately.

See? Allegory!


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Comfort Zones

I'm trying to leave my comfort zones. I'm trying to do things that I normally wouldn't. Here's the thing: I've always been fairly insecure when it come to doing physical stuff. Some of it was because of my weight, I'm sure, but a lot of it was just my belief that I wasn't as good at such things as other folks. I restricted myself to the realms of imagination and intellect because I always felt comfortable there. I've met folks in life who are smarter than I, but none so much that it made me feel inferior. Physically though . . . ahh! That be another tale entire!

Funny thing is, I'm really a decent athlete. I can play just about any sport without embarrasing myself, I hold (well . . . held. It's been 15+ years since I did it!) black belts in two martial arts, and I survived for years as a construction worker. You'd think all those things would make me comfortable with physicality, but no. I've always been leery about doing anything where I have to strain and sweat. I've always felt that I wasn't as strong or capable as other folks. Maybe it's a leftover from having four older brothers and being a late bloomer in high school . . . I don't know. "Why" doesn't matter anymore. I'm trying to move past it and just do what I want to do. It's getting a little easier now that I'm getting thinner of course. Running about with an extra 100 lbs. on your waist doesn't really help!

Over the weekend, I volunteered to become a certified belayer (the guy who holds the rope) so that the kids in my son's Troop can go rock climbing this summer. This meant also learning the basics of actually climbing. I spent Sat. morning in a Rock Gym, scuttling up and down walls. This was something I wouldn't even have considered just a few months ago. I have no fear of heights, I just wouldn't have even considered myself capable of such a thing. It was a blast! I don't think it'll become my new pastime or anything but I'll definitely be heading back out to the gym a few more times and I plan on taking a few turns at the real cliffs this summer! Tonight, I'm going to be working with a few other adults to teach the boys how to canoe properly. Since I have no idea how to canoe, this is the sort of thing I'd normally avoid, or at least face with a growing dread as the time approached. I'm actually looking forward to it. Before, even simple things, like jogging, would make me nervous and I'd start looking for excuses to avoid going out. Weird, eh? But then: y'all know I'm no kind of normal!

Whatcha think? Do I have confidence issues or what? :-)

It's funny . . . I've spent my entire life striving to be "something". To hit goals and benchmarks that would let me know I was doing things right. Granted, I missed most of 'em but I hit a few and none of them made me happy or satisfied. It was like each time I hit a goal, I'd just glance at it and start looking for what was next, certain THAT goal would be the one that would make things perfect. (Ok, so I'm a schmuck! What can I say?) Now, all I want to do is make myself better. I want to be healthy and calm. I want to work towards things that are important to me on the inside, not towards the external crap that will show other folks how "good" I am. I just want to take care of my family and enjoy my life without always worrying about how I'm measuring up, ya' know?

I still have goals, but they're personal goals that are important to no one but me. I've made the prime goal a simple one: "Be someone that you like being." That should work, right? ;-)


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Hiding in the Words

Here's something I've discovered about myself with the new found "inner peace" (does that sound lame, or what?) Anyway, I figured out that I read far too much. Oh, don't get me wrong: reading is a wonderful thing but I discovered that for me, it was a way to escape real life. I could hide from myself behind the written word. It was not uncommon for me to chew through two or three large novels a week. I read every free moment I had. During commercials, eating lunch, on car trips, on the can (eeewww!) whatever open time I had, I filled it with books. I never tought that was a problem, I just thought reading was fun and a great thing to stretch your mind . . . and so it is.

Unless of course, you are doing it as a way to hide from your life. It's much easier to deal with slaying mythical dragons than it is to think about if the garbage needs to go to the curb (something I still forget regularly, btw!) Inside books I could be who I wanted to be and ignore the person I was really becoming. For someone who reads as quickly and broadly as I, the books were the same as watching TV: mindless entertainments that let me blank out my reality. Listen, I still love reading. It's still the greatest medium humanity ever invented, but I've become much more selevtive about what I read. I read with much greater care and thought. In the last two months I've read only one book. I started another but it didn't really "speak" to me so I put it away. Something I NEVER do. I've read some great books in my time, but I've also devoured a lot of mindless crap along the way. I won't do that anymore. I am trying to devote time to my real life and not the imaginary one. Reading is still great, but it had better be worth the time I'm taking to do it! I finally understand that this is the only life I'm getting and that hiding from it in imaginary worlds is not the way to go.

Probably has something to do with the lack of writing too, don't ya' think? :-)

Jim has been a "consumer" for far too long. Mindlessly consuming books, food, TV shows, music, and magazines without any real thought about why I consumed it, or even if I really wanted it. It was there, so (of course!) I consumed. Don't wanna be a consumer no more! Don't know what that makes me now, but I'll figger it out eventually, I guess. I'm just moving day to day, trying to be more aware of what I'm doing and trying to break free of a lifetime of ingrained behavior patterns. So far, I'm liking it.

I still have a long way to go (Just ask The Wife: she'll tell you I'm still one lazy SOB!) but each day I try to be a bit better. Who knows? One day, I may even be a normal, honest-to-goodness, person!


Tuesday, June 05, 2007



Damn, folks!

I'm really sorry if I worried anyone with my abscence. Quite frankly, I didn't think anybody would really notice so I haven't even looked at my blog over the last month. It wasn't until Lynn hunted me down and chastised me (she didn't really, but I felt really bad about worrying her.) that I even stopped in to see what was up. I appreciate all the concern and I'm sorry if I panicked anyone.

So (you're wondering!) where the hell have I been? Ahhh . . . excellent question! The sad truth though is that I don't really know. My abscence was for no reason at all that I'm aware of. I simply woke up one morning and didn't feel like posting, so I skipped it. Next day . . . the same. Then another day and another and now I see it's been almost two months without a word from me. (How did you all survive???) It's been an odd sort of time lately.

I've been shifting things about in my brain, though I can't for the life of me tell you why or how. There wasn't anything dramatic that happened, or some grand epiphany that brought me to a higher plane of consciousness, or any of that crap but things inside me started changing. Stresses and problems I've been dealing with for years suddenly disappeared and goals I'd been struggling to achieve seemed to lose their importance. It really happened overnight and I don't know why. (sort of a mini mid-life crisis, maybe?) Only it's more of a relaxation than a crisis. I've been in a calm place for the last two months . . . sort of sitting on the bank of the river watching life float by and trying to figure out where I stand in it all, ya know? Usually, these sort of thoughts stress me out and I start looking for dramatic changes to make to fix my "problems". The fixes usually just manage to stress me out even more but this time things went pretty calmly. Instead of looking for external fixes, I (for some reason) started looking inside. I came to a realization that I needed to fix the "me" before I started pushing forward on my dreams. So, that's what I've been focusing on.

For starters, I've been running regularly. I've dropped quite a bit of weight over the last year (51 lbs to be exact! Yay me!) and I'm trying to go a little easier on myself from the "success" standpoint. I am coming to realize (slowly) that a lot of the things I beat myself up over are because of other people's expectations, not mine. There are things I want to do and things I think other folks want me to do. I'm learning to separate the two. I'm also learning to enjoy things for the sake of enjoyment and not for the acclaim they might bring me. That's where my writing is. I haven't written a single word since my last blog post because every time I tried I'd knot up inside; worrying over if it was good enough, marketable enough, polished enough. It was becoming just one more stress in my life that I hated and blamed myself for, so I had to set it aside for a bit. I have to find my peace with writing and do it just because I want to. I'm close to that again (hence, why I'm able to write this wondrous post!) I'm looking at the rest of my life the same way. I'm learning to eat only when I really am hungry. To run because I like the feel of straining muscles and sweat. To stop and look at the sunset when I want to. To tell people "no" when I don't want to take on a responsibility. To allow myself the freedom to dream my own dreams and not the ones everyone expects me to dream.

The Wife is panicking. She think's I'm getting in shape so I can find some young chippie and run off to Hawaii. (Sorry, babe, you're stuck with me!) Really, all I'm doing is trying to get back to being the person that I really am on the inside. I let myself become a grumpy, fat, dis-illusioned old man loooonnnnggg before I had any right to be one. I tried to be someone I'm not because I thought it was the responsible thing to do and it was a huge mistake. I'm not that guy. I'm a lot of things, but that's not one of them! :-)

So, I'll be back around (maybe not every day - work is kinda crazy right now) and I'll let you know how things are going in my life. I have to say, I was really touched by everyone's concern . . . you're all good folks.


I'm sorry if I scared you. Oh, and Lynn: {{{L}}}} Gracias!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Death By Wife

The Wife is a giant Coodie who has infected me with microscopic death-mites that are devouring the inners of my nasal passasge even as I type this. They have begun the process of liquifying my brain, the end results of which are leaking from my nose. My lungs and throat have also been invaded. I can tell by the burning pain of the sulfuric acid they use as a power source. Traces of it are left behind on my esophagus as they tunnel their way deep into my respiratory system, intent on disrupting my ability to convert oxygen. Oxygen is carried to the brain, where it reacts negatively with death-mite's acid core, slowing the process of brain liquification. The key for a death-mite victory is to first ensure that I can no longer breathe, then the reign of physiological terror they plan for my body can begin in earnest . . .

Oh, alright!

She gave me a friggin' head-cold, okay? Sheesh, you're all so hung up on the whole honesty thing! My descriptions are so much more entertaining . . .

Anyway, I'm feeling like crap and struggling through work. Traveling today, so that makes it even worse (sigh) I just wanna go home and go to bed. That would violate my rule of misery though. What? I never told you my rule of misery? It's simple really: "If you're going to be miserable, at least get paid for it." In other words, never take sick days when you're actually sick! :-)

I really have to be deathly ill to call out of work. The only time I do it is when there are large amounts of bodily fluids being expelled from multiple orifices (orifi?) Sorry, I know you didn't need that visual. When I'm sick I drag my ass to work and tell people to stop at my office door and talk to me from there. I try not to interact with folks too much but I'll be damned if I'm gonna eat a personal day lying in bed and moping at home.

Weekend was good - went to see "300" with The Boy on Saturday. It was better than I though it would be. Not much in the way of plot, but for entertainment it was pretty cool. Sunday we did the annual Easter Egg Hunt at my sister-in-law's house. There was a whole lotta rugrats scampering about! I like that though. Kids entertain me. I think I spent more time playing with the little ones thatn I did talking to the adults . . . less headache that way!

I did another five chapters of type-in on "Slayer" over the weekend. That puts me just short of the 1/2 way mark. (Yea, I know. I said it would be done by now but life ain't cooperatiing. Especially not the head-cold!) It's been weeks since I did any new writing either. I should kick myself in the ass over that but I've got so much editing work to do as it is, I don't know that I really need much more new stuff at the moment!

Anyway, just checking in to say I'm alive (at least until the mites finish the brain melt!) and kicking.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thursday With God

Thursday again. Time for another installment from our favorite All-Powerful Divinity . . .

Greetings, all.

First off today, Jim wants me to apologize for my snootiness towards my questioners last week. He tells me I was a bit harsh (and won’t let me keep blogging here if I don’t say “sorry”!) so . . . Sorry.

What can I tell you? Supreme Beings don’t have a lot of social interaction, ya know? I spend most of my time surrounded by Angels and Enlightened Spirits. Their idea of a good conversation with me consists of groveling at my feet and hollering: “Yes, Lord! Thou art wonderful” to every damn thing I say. To be honest, it gets pretty damn tedious after a few hundred millennia. That brings me to my topic for today (which I had to come up with on my own, since none of you left me questions last week! Thanks a lot. It’s not like I have anything else to do all week but think of topics to blog on! I mean, I’m only GOD after all!) Anyway, my topic today is the correct way for humans to Worship . . . Me!

Webster’s defines the word as follows:

1 chiefly British : a person of importance -- used as a title for various officials (as magistrates and some mayors)

2 : reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act of expressing such reverence
3 : a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual
4 : extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem (worship of the dollar)

Well, we can discount the first definition since I’m not British and I certainly rank above their effete bureaucrats. The last definition doesn’t really apply, since –as God- no amount of respect toward me can be considered extravagant! The middle two definitions are the ones I’m concerned with. All too often, they are seen as being pretty similar but they’re really not. Most of you folks worship through definition three: a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual. You show up at church, mosque, or synagogue, say “Hosanna” a few times, and off you go back to your creepy little lives. Worship done, right?

Yeeeaaaa . . . not so much.

Look, I don’t give much of a damn about stuff like that. I’ve got enough sycophants hanging about The Pearly Gates. I don’t need any more down here. Wanna really worship Me? Take a close look at definition number two: reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act of expressing such reverence. The key word here is “reverence”. What kind of reverence am I looking for? Well, for starters a bit of respect towards my creations would be appreciated! How about picking up your trash once in a while? Maybe stop pumping sewage into my beautiful rivers? Oh! I know: how about something simple like not killing each other? Too much? Fine, we’ll start simpler. How about not using small animals for cosmetics testing?

What I’m trying to say is, I don’t give much of a damn if you show up for whatever church it is you belong every week. Truth is, that has nothing to do with me anyway. All I want is for you to live your lives as best you can and take a moment to look about once in a while and say “Wow. Cool world, God.” That’s it. It’s like your grandmother making you a big dinner. She doesn’t expect you to pay for the groceries, or ask you to do dishes after. You’re there at her request, as a guest, and she expects nothing in return. A “Great dinner, Grams!” is always appreciated. 'Side from that, I’m sure she’d be a bit miffed if you decided to pee on her couch and start poking holes in Mr Fluffy, the poodle, with her good silverware. Getting the point? Just treat me and my house (re: all existence!) with the same respect you’d show Grams and we’re cool. I don’t need sacrifices, offerings, prayers, and praise out the hoo-hah. I’m Omnipotent, folks, do you really think there’s anything I need from you that I can’t have with a snap of my fingers? I put you here cuz I like you. You don’t owe me anything. Just do what you think is right in your life and we’ll talk about how well you did afterward, okay? I don’t want your “worship” any more than Grams wants her five-year-old grandkid to break his piggy bank for three nickels and a slug to pay for the turkey and mashed ‘taters.

Just relax, enjoy the meal, and feel free to loosen your belt and take a nap on the couch afterward. Oh, and don’t worry about the afterlife so much. Think of it as Grams getting desert ready in the kitchen while you’re napping. You may not know what she’s got waiting for you out there but you can rest comfortable, knowing it’s gonna be good. Keep that image in mind and you’ll sleep a lot easier at night.

Last thing: please leave me some questions this week, will ya? I like getting some feedback from you hairless apes now and again.

I’m out

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tired Now

Okay, I am officially tired now.

Driving all over the Tri-state area for the past two days, rolling out and training on a software package that everyone hates. It boggles the mind - the package is a legal requirement by the State, yet everyone feels the need to tell me (at great length!) why it's stupid, pointless, and they shouldn't have to use it. i point out that's a discussion they need to have with their elected officials, since I'm just the schmuck who was ordered to make it all work but it seems I'm easier to locate and much more likely to listen than your average politician. Fun thing is, I still have three more offices to go next week. Woo-frikkin-hoo!

Good news? Well, I did the first five chapters of type-in for "Slayer" last night. That's good. I will try for more tonight but as I said: tired. just wanna sleep and/or zone out for a bit.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Where I Be

Monday has returned and the world bites donkey pizzle once more! (Sorry, bad day at work!)

The good news is I finished all the changes to "Slayer" this weekend. (Yay, Me!) Well, the edits anyway. I still have type in to do but that should go pretty quickly. I have some free nights this week (The Boy is on spring break & staying with the grandparents) so I'm hoping to get most of it done by the end of the week and out into the mail. (Hope springs eternal!) Once that's out, I'm back into the edits for "Fish" (I will finish it by the end of April!) and I need to get back on the first draft of "First". The damn thing is almost done but I can't seem to get motivated and knock out the last few chapters. Well, the weather's warming up and that always seems to get my ass in gear, so we shall see . . .

I'm reading "Demon" by John Varley right now. It's the last book of his Gaea Series and I've been trying to read the damn thing since I was 12! No kidding: I could NEVER find a copy of the damn book! I read the first two ("Titan" & "Wizard") when I was a kid and I've read them both 3-4 times since, but I've never read "Demon". It's nice to finally see how it all turns out after almost 30 years! I love these books. The world is completely outlandish and bizarre, but Varley puts it all together so carefully, and with such detail, that it seems perfectly plausible. Highly recommend them for anyone who like their hard SF with a fantasy twist.

Despite the fact it is the most miserable day of the week, and work is jerking my chain, I'm feeling pretty good today. Making forward progress on the writing, The Wife and I get to spend some adult time together (always nice) for the next few days, and I'm actually back to losing weight again. (BIG YAY!) I've been at a plateau for the last few months, just holding steady and it's nice to see some of the fat is finally fading off again. I'm down eight more pounds in the last two weeks. That works fine by me! I've actually been changing my eating patterns based on some research I've been doing. It seems to be working, but I'll let you all know when I get a bit more on the long term results. It's only been two weeks, so I can't really say for sure. I'm still doing the vegetarian thing though, and loving it. Smartest damn thing I ever did! Even though I haven't been dropping the weight I'd hoped to, I feel 1000% better than I have in years. Just being able to walk without back and leg pain all the time makes it worth the change! It also cleared out my daily heartburn, migraines (2-3 per week) and I sleep a lot sounder than I had for many years.

Suggestion: if you suffer from any of the above problems, try cutting out all meat for 14 days. See how you feel then. If it doesn't help, go back to your regular diet. That's how I started out and after about five days, I knew I wasn't going back. The change is that noticeable, that quickly.

Anyway, enough preaching at you for one day.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday with God

Well, kiddies, it’s Thursday and here –as promised- is the latest post from He Who Resides On High. (Thanks to Lynn and Shoes for their questions!)

Alrighy then, let’s get on with the important stuff shall we? I promised to answer your questions and so I shall. I am, after all, a Deity of My Word! (If I wasn’t, I’d drown you all out again, heh heh! But I promised Noah, so you’re all safe.) Our first brave contestant on todays episode of “Arrogantly Questioning the Omniscience of You Creator” is: Lynn from over at Spilling Ink.

LYNN: What the hell were You thinking when you were designing the female urinary tract? Do you really think the urethra is well placed? I think not. It's very placement is a standing invitation for infections of the urinary tract. I'm not sure where I would have put it instead -- but YOU'RE GOD!!! Couldn't you think of anything better than that?

Oy! Every woman who dies: the first thing they hit me up with is a prolonged bitch-fest about their internal plumbing. Look, the urethra is essentially in the same location for both sexes . . . sort of. Just imagine reaching down a man’s throat, grabbing his scrotum from the inside and pulling upward . . . Hard! Voila’ instant woman! (Quite frankly, that’s how I did it. The whole “rib” thing is just P.R.) Anyway, urinary tract infections come from bacteria entering through the urethra, most commonly during intercourse. It can also be caused by bacteria left over from bowel evacuation. (Ewww!) That would be the clinical causes of the problem, and here’s the Divine Answer to your problems ladies:

How about a wet wipe down there once in awhile, huh????

I mean, instead of getting pissed (no pun intended) at Me for flawed design, why not try a little bit of basic hygiene once in a while! Sanitary wipes fix all your own “leftovers” and there ain’t a thing wrong with makin’ your fella shower up a bit, or taking a quick swipe at old mister winkie with a towelette before you begin bumping uglies! Blaming me for this is like blaming the architect because someone crapped down the side of the toilet, ya know what I mean? As for moving the urethra to a different location . . . are you frikkin’ kidding Me? I had to put it at the “low-flow” point, ladies. You have any idea of the hydraulics nightmares I’d have had if I put it up any higher? You don’t even wanna know where I’d have had to put muscles! (You think you ladies got big butts now?) I’m not even gonna go into the social problem it would have presented if I set it . . . oh, I don’t know: in the center of your chest maybe? See how much snuggling your man’d wanna do then! I put the entire female “package” in the spot least likely to cause you grief. Trust me, ALL the alternatives were far worse.

Now, let’s move on to a question posted by Shoes, from over at Mister Pissed . . .

Shoes: As I look around at the world today, I can’t help but see war, disease, and famine...etc. Do you think this is any way for a well run universe to run and if not, whose neck is on the chopping block in your organization?

Well, Shoes, let me begin my answer by saying that for a man who doesn’t pick up his own dirty socks at home (remember: I’m always watching!), you’ve got quite the grasp on organizing a multiverse! Check out the big brain on Shoes!

I gotta tell you this question truly give Me a case of the red-ass. What is it with you humans anyway? Can’t you take responsibility for one damn screw up of your own? Noooooo . . . you’re all like: “Oh, God is cruel! God makes people die! God makes diseases and famines! God kills kittens!” Right. Let’s just ignore the fact that God made you all immortal, put you in a perfect paradise without any of those things AND YOU ALL FUCKED IT UP!!!! Seriously, you all need to stop yammering about “sins” and “morals” and start focusing a bit on personal responsibility!

Adam and Eve tanked Eden for you all (Oh, and it was NOT sex that got you kicked out, despite what the frigid-ass Catholics tell you, but that’s a subject for another Thursday!) They went way the hell over the top and ruined the perfect setup I’d put on for you. (Where’s the thanks, eh?) All this crap you guys deal with is your own doing, not Mine. War? C’mon people, where do I fit into that vile little invention of humanity? Just because some greedy little bastard tells a bunch of morons willing to listen that it’s My Holy Will or some shit, I’m responsible for him running a sword through his neighbors? I ain’t the one who followed along behind him, burning, pillaging, and raping folks who just happen to look a little different! Wars are all on you guys. They ain’t going away until you stop following power hungry religious leaders and insisting that your own way of life is the only correct one. (Oh . . . and when you stop electing morons like Dubbya to public office!)

Disease and famine are followers of war. They’re three of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, remember? Didn’t you guys ever read The Book of Revelations? (I read it all the time. Makes me laugh my ass off! I think old John was hittin’ the pipe a little hard when he scribbled down that shit!) Humans cause war. War causes famine. Famine causes disease. Disease kills humans. I come in at the tail end of that scenario when you all start boo-hoo-ing because you’ve got all kinds of nasty little viruses crawling about inside you. Here’s the simple, Divine, answer: tend to your own life. Leave your neighbor alone, worry about doing the right thing by your family and friends, and don’t hurt anyone else. If you all do that, the rest of this crap all fades away. You don’t need me for that!

As for whose “neck is on the chopping block”, Shoes. The answer is: nobody. The guys in my organization spend their time keeping the cosmos running and making sure the whole of existence doesn’t implode in a flash of dark matter. I really don’t hold them responsible for human stupidity. If and when a few humans can spare the time to build a few new solar systems and control a Supernova or two, I’ll see what I can do about freeing up a couple of angels to look into the whole “human condition” thing. Until then, you’re on your own.

Well, that’s it for this week, folks. Please leave Me some more questions in the comments. Tell your friends that The Almighty is here and taking requests! Spread the Good Word! (No, not that Word! Just let folks know I’m here, ok?)

I’m out!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Writer's Brain

Anybody else have leech stories?

What's that you ask? Well, I shall tell! I have two stories that have been in my head for years. They're both novel lenght (or more) pieces I just never feel that I can do justice to. They sit and gestate in my brain and they never quite go away. They're always there, just at the edge of my conscious mind, tickling at the edge of my awareness. I call them "leeches" because they periodically drain my attention away from my current WIP. I'm almost done with my changes to "Slayer" and I should be concentrating on that but for the last few days one of those stories has jumped to the forefront of my imagination and is sucking up all my creativity! (Damned unfair!) I have to push it aside to get "Slayer" back out to the interested agent but it's never easy setting either of these tales aside. Funny thing is, I've never bothered to pen a single thing on either of them but I know the entire outline for each without missing a beat. I enhance and change it occasionally, but I've never forgotten a single thing about either story, even though one of them's been in my brain for damn near ten years now!

I'm afraid to write either of them. They are both fantastic concepts and I don't want to fuck 'em up with inferior writing. I've been waiting to be sure that my skills are polished up enough to do them justice. I think they're both really original ideas but they could easily slip beyond original and into "hokey" if I'm not carefully with it. I'm wondering though if I'm not ready to start on one of them. I need to finish "Slayer" changes, complete the edits on "Fish" and the first draft on "First" before I move on of course, but I think I know where I'm going after that. The imagination doesn't seem to want to hear about the necessity of "finish what you start" though. It keeps trying to jump ahead to the place it wants to go. Nice in theory but I'll never make it as a pro that way! First, we finish the WIP's, then we consider the next tales.

Anybody else suffer from having too many stories to tell? I don't understand writers block really. I always have at least twenty or so ideas for stories in my head at any given time. I understand procrastination though (that sumbitch I got down pat!) and I certainly get fear. Fear of success in particular! I'm scared shitless right now that the agent will actually take me on and want to move ahead with "Slayer". I've been finding everything possible in life to distract me from getting it done and back out to her. What the fuck is up with that????? I've spent my life chasing this dream and the moment I catch even a scent of it, my brain wants to cut and run! I don't know which would be worse: to have the agent get my changes and decide not to take me on, or to have her love it and want to move forward. Stupid, eh? Part of me wants to be rejected . . . to be relegated back to the safe environs of the wannabe that I know so well. It's easy to dream about being a professional, it's quite daunting to face the prospect of having to actually be one!

I can't even clearly say why it scares me. I know I can write well. I read constantly and I think my stuff holds up pretty well against most of what I see. I've gotten feedback from several agents, all of whom say the writing is pro caliber and one is actually toying with the idea of taking me on as a client. I know I can write regularly and under tight schedules (hell, I've been doing that at work for years!) and like I said: writer's block has never been an issue. So what am I afraid of? Afraid that I'll reach my goal and find it wasn't all I'd hoped? (Life never is!) Afraid I'll make it as a pro writer and then not be able to keep that status? Afraid I'll get so close I can taste it and still not make it? Who knows. Maybe I'm just a very twisted individual.


Monday, March 26, 2007

The Week Begins

Yay. Monday.

Mondays particularly suck after a good weekend. The Boy and I went camping with the Scout Troop this weekend. We did a seven mile hike along the Appalachian Trail on Saturday. Man, what a great friggin' day! Weather was perfect: low 50's and sunny for most of the day. We took a trail that was almost all ridgeline (about 1400+/- ft.) and the view of Northern Jersey was stunning. We had 26 folks out there so we split into three groups that left at staggered times to keep it reasonable. As each group hit a rest point, they'd wait for the next group to show up before moving on. Worked pretty well, too! I just love being out in the woods on a nice day, chatting with the boys and other leaders. We got some rain later that night, but even that didn't taint a great weekend!

Today has been killer at work. Ton of problems to address and (best of all!) a three hour meeting to sit through. Those are always so much fun! It's amazing really. I left two hours early on Friday to make the trip and you'd have thought the world was coming to an end with all the e-mails and voice messages folks sent me.

I see some folks left messages for The Almighty; thanks for that. I'll fwd them over to him and he can take them on for his Thursday Post. If I can get them past His people. Friggin' Seraphim are the worst sort of bureaucrats imagineable! Want everything in triplicate and notarized by a lesser divinity! (Good luck getting one of those to do anything in a rush!)


Thursday, March 22, 2007

God, the Agent

Well folks, I’ve decided to make a change here at A Novel Approach. I thought you all might be a little tired of my inane ramblings, so I figured it would be nice to have a guest blogger one day a week. With that it mind, I’m going to turn Thursdays over to someone who’s made a few appearances on this blog in the past. I felt I needed someone who was familiar with the general tone of this place and who had a mind vast enough to keep such wonderful folks as my readers happily entertained. Ladies and Gents, please allow me to introduce our new Thursday morning blogger here at A Novel Approach . . .


Thank you, Jim, for that lovely introduction. I may reconsider my plans to condemn you to an eternity of fiery damnation after that!

Yes folks, I am your God. (No need to grovel or anything. A simple “Wow!” will suffice for now.) After a few appearances here I got to thinking that this was a pretty neat way to communicate with the people of this world. I approached Jim about it and he was a little hesitant at first but a few thunderbolts put his doubts to rest in a hurry. I will be here every Thursday to speak about . . . well, whatever I damn well please actually. I am Jehova after all. I talk, you listen. That’s the way this whole God thing works, you see? Anyway, I will happily answer any questions that you’d care to leave for me in the Comments area. Be warned though, your questions will be moved up to the front page and answered each Thursday. I won’t have time to respond in the comments . . . I do have this thing called “existence” to take care of, you know! That’s a tad time consuming. Oh, and I also have racquetball in the afternoons with Vishnu, so I’m pretty busy. (You trying playing someone with four arms and see how easy it is!) Anyway, please ask any existential, moral, or just plain old curious questions you’ve got. I’d love to have a meaningful dialog with you, my favorite creations. (Or at least my favorites capable of reading this bog, heh heh!)

I thought I’d start this week with a question I get asked quite a lot:

Dear God,

Why don’t you answer prayers anymore?


Just about everybody on the damn planet

Well, let me start by saying that I do answer prayers. Don’t think so? Look at Lance Armstrong, or J.K. Rowling. Hell, just look at Jim here! How else would a loser like him get such a great life and family without my help?

Anyway, the problem is actually one of scope. Back in the old days, when there were only a few thousand of you hairless monkeys scampering about down there; it was easy to respond to each prayer directly. Now that there are several billion of you (You’re a bunch of frisky little simians, ain’t ya?) it’s become impossible to respond to the large volume of prayers I receive on a daily basis. Doing so would entail my full-time attention and other things –like keeping the sun from going nova and turning your world into a burnt cinder- might be overlooked. As a result, I’ve been forced to use form responses to my prayer submittals. I know that seems impersonal and cold but I’m dealing with prayers on the order of twenty-plus billion a day, so cut me a little slack, eh? I’ve enlisted my Angels to read through the prayer “slush pile” and filter out the repeated, selfish, ridiculous, or just plain stupid prayers (No, Jim, you are NOT getting six Asian harem girls for your birthday!) Most of these receive one of our standard form replies. Since the Post Office doesn’t deliver to heaven (I am currently in discussions with UPS though. Those SOB’s will go anywhere!) we need to reply to such prayers via a more direct means which –sadly- often goes unnoticed by the recipient. Here’s an example:

Little Johnny: “God, please turn my sister into an ugly frog!”
Heaven’s Response: Johnny’s sister suddenly “remembers” she needs something from his room and walks in just in time to hear his devout prayer. She smacks the little turd –hard- on the back of his skull.

See? Response delivered! Listen, if you’re unsure whether or not I’ve heard you, just print out the following and post it on a wall somewhere, will ya?

Dear Supplicant,

Thank you so much for offering up your prayers to us here in Heaven. Please don’t take the lack of personal, verbal, response as a sign that your prayer hasn’t been heard. Rest assured that we here in heaven do review every prayer that comes in. While your prayer sounds intriguing, I’m afraid I’m not the right God for it. You deserve an enthusiastic response to your prayer, so I recommend you pursue other Deities. After all, it takes only one Divine Power to say ‘yes’ and with so many other Divinities out there, you could easily find one willing to respond to your incessant whining! (****)

Good luck with all your praying endeavors,

The Almighty.

Well, that’s all for this week, kiddies. Don’t forget to send me some questions and I’ll be back next Thursday to give you all a close up look at omniscience!

I’m out!


(****) shamelessly stolen from Kristin Nelson over at Pub Rants. One of the best blogs out there, BTW!