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Pillow Juggling: The Next Generation

Of course you all remember the amazing sport of pillow juggling, and are probably hearing about it left and right. Certainly, its popularity is taking off.

It turns out that the documentary on the subject is now inspiring a whole new generation of pillow jugglers. Kids these days and their crazy hobbies…

2015_01_17_0772

One contender attempts a challenging maneuver

2015_01_17_0776A difficult move is performed, while a competitor attempts to gain insight by spying on a practice session

That’s right, folks, buy your tickets now, before they sell out. I can assure you, these kids have been raised since birth to reach the pinnacle of pillow-juggling athleticism, and they continue to push the boundaries of the sport.

Let’s go to the floor routine:

Flash Fiction Online 2014 Anthology

Hey, would you look at that.

All of the stories published in Flash Fiction Online last year have been collected into one convenient anthology, including my story Copy Machine.

The anthology has a gorgeous cover, and look at that! My name is right there on the cover. First time I’ve made the cover of anything. Is my name becoming a draw? :)

The anthology is available in Kindle, Nook, and PDF format.

I wish the cat would stop talking with her butt

After a certain age, our cat just kind of decided that the world was her bathroom. Rather than using the perfectly good litter box, she decided that she mostly prefers the bathtub and/or floor.

Now, in case you’re not familiar with the habits of cats, poop and pee are more than just a necessary side effect of consuming nourishment; often they serve to send a message. Haven’t been spending enough time playing with the cat? Better check your pillow before bed. Not properly showing your obeisance to the true master of the house? Say goodbye to something you love.

At first I thought she was just unsatisfied with the state of her litter box. In the past she has “voiced” her displeasure over this matter in a similar fashion. Not this time; no matter how clean I kept it, she just kept on keeping on, often pooping on the floor directly in front of the just-cleaned litter box, as if to say, “See what I think of THAT, my friend.”

I hate to say I got used to it, but what was I to do? Eventually I just started making it part of my nightly rounds. Move the laundry to the dryer, scoop some poop, call it a night.

I fell a little behind on cleaning her litter, and I started to get nervous. Waiting for the “shoe” to drop, if you catch my drift. But it never came. No extra poop anywhere. In fact, I realized, there hadn’t been any improperly located feces in days.

When I finally got to the litter box, that sucker was full. And yet, no poop on the floor. No displeasure was voiced. How could this be? After going where she pleased for so long, what could have caused her to stop? Had I finally broken her? “These stupid humans. I’ve been sending them poop messages for MONTHS, and they still can’t properly clean a litter box. I give UP.”

As I pondered this mystery, I suddenly hit on the answer. Right about the time this all started, I had purchased a different litter than usual. It had been on sale, and it never for a second occured to me that Nala would notice, or care. However, we had finally used up our stockpile, and the current litter was the kind we usually buy.

Apparently, Nala is a Fresh Step girl.

I actually kind of felt bad for her. She had been trying to tell me in the loudest, smelliest way she knew how. “I would rather poop on a -5° tile floor than let my precious bottom touch that ABOMINATION you call Scoop Away!” She can’t exactly come out and say it, and besides, didn’t I already know? Cats talk with their butt.

On the other hand, SUCK IT UP, FANCY FEAST. Until you’re chipping in on the bills (or doing anything at all besides matting fur on all the winter hats), you can deign to rest your haunches on whatever is on sale this week. It’s a poop-box; you’re not eating off of it.

Oh well, all’s well that ends well, I guess. I just wish she could find a different way to send messages. One that doesn’t come from her butt.

In regards to Quote Mondays

It has become increasingly difficult to get enough quotes to fill in Quote Mondays lately. You may have noticed that I have skipped them here and there in the past few months. The older the kids get, the less hilariously out of context they are. Their too-serious comments are thoughtful or spot-on, rather than funny.

I have always maintained a sort of “editorial vision” when it comes to Quote Monday. There have always been comments that one or another have urged me to put into Quote Monday, but I have refused on the grounds that it didn’t “feel” like the right kind of quote. So I am very sensitive about not forcing quotes, or writing down “inferior” quotes, just to make my quota. (Get it? Quota?)

Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I am going to have to retire Quote Monday as a regular feature here on the blog. There are currently 275 entries in the “From the Mouths of Babes” category; more than enough to occupy you should you feel the need for some quotes.

I know this breaks everyone’s heart. Quote Monday has long been the favorite feature of the blog. Alas, all good things must come to an end.

I will still post quotes occasionally when I have them, but I don’t yet know how often that will be.

— The Management

New story today!

A new story today at Every Day Fiction, An Engineered Product.

This story tackles the future of food production. What sort of futuristic developments might arise by genetic manipulation of our food? On the other hand, maybe things really were better in the old days.

Also, I just realized this is my first published story with a fart joke in it. Ladies and gentlemen, I have well and truly made it.

If you get a chance, leave a comment or click on the stars at the bottom to rate it.

The Creative Type

I never thought of myself as “the creative type”.

When I hear “the creative type”, I picture some funky artist. She’s got some colorful, loose-fitting clothes, maybe a chunky necklace and ill kempt hair. She probably salutes the sun, practices alternative medicine, and has never been on time for anything.

In fact, I probably couldn’t stand that person.

I make lists. I measure twice and cut once. I like science, and rules, and I double check everything on the Internet. If I’m only 10 minutes early to something, I feel like I’m running late. When I took an art class in high school the art teacher told me, “You make art like an engineer.”

That’s the exact opposite of the creative type, right?

Perhaps. But what I’ve learned lately is that there is a difference between being a creator and being a creative type. Art, music, movies, novels — those things don’t come from showing up late and doing whatever you want. Those come from putting your butt in a chair, day after day, learning, studying, making deadlines, struggling, over a long period of time. You simply can’t be a flake and sustain all of that.

A lot of writers talk about how writing is an itch that they can’t ignore. They simply have to itch it. No way around it. I assume it is the same for artists, composers, etc. I don’t think that’s exactly true for me, per say, but I would say that I do have an itch for creating things. It doesn’t have to be writing fiction; there’s blogging, and knitting, and writing software, and playing music. All of these things scratch that itch for me. But I absolutely, 100%, have a need to create.

I get SO EXCITED when people I know create things. Whether someone is starting a new blog, or starting a sewing business, trying their hand at fiction, starting a podcast, or making a short film — whatever it is, I am in. I don’t care if it is good or bad, as long as the effort is being made, I am excited (often, it turns out, more excited than the person doing the project, to my chagrin).

That’s what humanity is all about. That’s what keeps the vastness of space from crushing us. That’s what holds back entropy.

Only in my 30s have I realized that you don’t have to be a “creative type” to be a creator. You can be a planner, or a rule follower, or a meticulous researcher and still be a creator. Engineers are creators. So are plumbers, and lawmakers, and archeologists.

And the more creating we have, of all kinds, the better off we are.

Green Bay Packers missing a key ingredient

Well, the Packers made it all the way to the NFC championship this year, but they couldn’t quite get over the hump. In retrospect, I feel like there is one missing, crucial ingredient that is holding them back from going all the way.

I am talking, of course, about their lack of a fight song.

You know what I mean. The cheesy big band songs from the 1920’s with the awful lyrics, like “We’ll never forget the way you thrilled the nation / with your T formation!” and “We’re gonna do it for our super fans!” While the songs are groan inducing when taken at face value, there is something about having a shared song or go-to chant that makes a universal bond between fans. Get a group of Boilermakers together, and there’s going to be a “Hail Purdue”, regardless of the race/gender/income level/background of the participants. It’s literally the one thing they have in common (also, it’s legally required by the ritual blood oath performed at all graduation ceremonies).

I’ve lived in two places with great fight songs, and I’m here to tell you what a difference it makes. If you get at least 2 Philadelphians together, you might not get the full “Fly, Eagles, Fly”, but you will at least get an, “E-A-G-L-E-S-EAGLES!” I am not kidding, you would not believe how often this comes up. I’ve heard it at fast food restaurants (during the offseason!). I’ve heard it while waiting in line to get into a haunted house. I’ve heard it basically every time I’ve gone for a cheesesteak. In Chicago, nobody really sings “Bear Down, Chicago Bears”, but I do hear the music quite a bit, and I’m sure any Chicago football fan would recognize the opening few bars of music.

Where is our “San Diego SUPER CHARGERS!”? Our “J-E-T-S-JETS-JETS-JETS!”?

The main thing the Packers have is shouting, “Go, Pack, Go!” Not very inspired. Some might say they have the “Beer Barrel Polka”, which is definitely played prominently in the stadium during game days. However, that is not Packer-specific; quite frankly there are a lot of places in Wisconsin you might hear the “Beer Barrel Polka” (including church).

Now, before you jump down my throat, I am aware that there is an official fight song, it’s exactly what I was talking about, and it even mentions bacon. However, there are a few problems with it. First and foremost, the original lyrics say, “On you blue and gold, to glory” which, you know, is a bit dated since they haven’t worn those colors since the 1930s. Second, and most importantly, have you ever heard anybody actually singing this thing?

If we ever hope to make another superbowl appearance, I’d say we have two options: embrace the “official” fight song, and start playing it non-stop until every Packer fan knows it by heart (possibly, also a blood-oath, I’m just saying), or two, we make up a new one.

I know, I know, it’s kind of cheating. You can’t “invent” a tradition. But honestly, you can. All traditions have to start somewhere. Create something that sounds timeless, something simple, a little cheesy (see what I did there?), “find” an old tape somewhere at Lambeau, hire a couple of bands to play in the parking lot before games…I’m biased, but maybe a little accordion perhaps? Next thing you know, you have people singing it at the stadium, listening to it on the radio, greeting each other with the secret handshake…

Boom, superbowl all the way baby.

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