Monday, December 31, 2007

The Seven Drunks

You really shouldn't believe anything a fiction writers tells you . For instance my post today is not going to be about the craft of writing as I originally stated. Nope, it seems that I failed to realize that my next post would fall on New Years Eve . I suppose I could have rattled on about characterization, (Alex's favorite topic) the art of dialogue, or the all-elusive voice, but I'm not. i feel obliged to talk about the holiday and my family's tradition.

First a brief discussion on drunks. Like the famous dwarfs there are seven different kinds of drunks.

Jolly Drunk - Somewhat like Snow White's happy but this guy is likely to kiss you with slobber covered lips and his breath is bad, so he's not nearly as cute.

Angry Drunk - Sure Grumpy turned out to be okay, but this fella is nasty once a bit of Jack passes between his lips, but he is famous for his many appearances on the television show cops and no body looks better in a wife beater.

Stupid Drunk - Sure he can barely stand up and it takes him ten tried to pull his keys from his pocket and unlock his car door, but he can drive. Really he can. Dopey never wound up in the drunk tank for a DWI but this guy will if there is any justice.

MD Drunk - No the MD doe not stand for medical Doctor and this scroungy chap is no Doc either. The MD stand for Mad Dog as in 20/20. Ol' MS also goes by the name Wino, Bum, and the politically correct term transient. He is rarely seen without his brown paper bag and he's not picky. He'll get boozed up any time not just on special occasions.

Closet Drunk - He's a bit Bashful about who sees him take a nip. He'll hide his flask in his boot or a desk drawer or out int he garage where his wife won't think to look. But on a night like tonight he can come out of hiding and drink in public to ring in the new year and that freedom might make him go a bit overboard.

Pukey Drunk - Like Sneezy, this fellow will blow chunks but his discharge cannot be contained by a mere Kleenex so give him a wide birth. Nothing is worth than regurgitated martini olives and bar pretzels.

Drowsy Drunk - Sure he has a lot in common with Sleepy but before he goes out he moan for hours about how unfair life is and how his ex-wife was such a bitch. But don't wake him up or he'll join right in with his brethren Pukey.

All of these fellows combined are why I stay home on New Years Eve. I don't begrudge any one a drink. I like one myself but I'm not a believer of drinking to get drunk and for my taste there are far to many amateur drinkers out on the roads and in the bars on this particular night.

So we stay home with the kids. Sure me and my wife will sip a bit of bubbly while the kids drink sparkling grape juice. My wife bought them hats and noise makers and we'll ring in 2008 as a family, but probably we''ll cheat and go by Eastern time since my five year old never lasts till midnight and I'll be ready for bed myself by then.

How do you plan to ring in the New Year?

So from me and my family to you and your have a Happy and SAFE New Years.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Shove It

A lot of ya'll took up my challenge and created your own My Favorite Stuff posts after my little take on the song A Few Of My Favorite Things from The Sound Of Music. Here are the ones I know of ...

Lois from Women of Mystery.
Mom in Scrubs
Clare2E from Women of Mystery
Josephine Damian

And then there was Monnik who twisted it around and posted her least favorite things.

That's also the direction I'm going today. So here goes a partial list of my anti-favorite things, all to the tune of Take This Job and Shove It written by David Allen Coe, but first made popular by Johnny Paycheck.

Take this lettuce and shove it I ain't eating that crap anymore
My doctor can complain bout my weight until his throat is sore
Don't give me that Cholesterol bore
Take your veggies and shove it cause I ain't eating that crap anymore

Well I've been writing these books for now on seven years
And there are times when rejections have caused a few tears
And I get sicking of work at the Post office day after day
But a man's gotta eat and you better hear what I got to say

Take this lettuce and shove it I ain't eating that crap anymore
Keep your damned twigs and berries away from this carnivore
Heath nuts let me show you to the door
And take your vitamins with you, I ain't eating that crap anymore

Open up MySpace, and all I find there is spam
And not the tasty kind that that comes in a can
No I don't wanna look at your picture on another site
trust me girl your not my type

Take what your selling and shove it I'm not buying that crap anymore
Your skinny, underfed women are fake to the core
But you probably stole that picture
So take your offer and shove it, I'm not in the market for an internet whore.

PS - I know rhyming whore and picture is a stretch for those without a Texas accent but read it like this Pick-Shore.

I could go on but that seems like a good place to stop. But let me say I still do not get the MySpace phenomenon. Yes I have a page which can be found here. It is worth a visit if for no other reason than to hear Robert Earl Keen sing, Merry Christmas From The Family, but other than reconnecting with a few lost friends I still have yet to find a worthwhile function of MySpace. Have any of y'all? If so, please elaborate.

Stay tuned, I think my next post is actually going to be about the craft of writing.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Forgot.

I've got a crick in my neck. Nope, I'm not going anywhere with that sentiment just thought I'd share my discomfort with y'all. Speaking of not going anywhere this is going to be one of those random posts of various tidbits.

Last Thursday, Church Lady dedicated her weekly song posting to me. The song? Jimmy Buffet's Cheeseburger in Paradise. A pretty apt pick since meat and paradise are two of my favorite things. But it does contain that line ... I like mine with lettuce and tomato and by now all of you know my opinion on the evil green leafy stuff -- IT'S THE DEVIL.

In the comments of her post I told church Lady I was planning to eat a tasty Texas style cheeseburger that very night and I'd post pictures here to show her my idea of the perfect Cheeseburger. But guess what I forgot. Not to eat, but to take the picture. You see There I was sitting in this little dive called Barnaby's Beanery along part of old Route 66. I was talking and having a good time with my friends, sipping on a Shiner Bock when the waitress brought out my plate. I took one look at the burger, the heaping plate of homecut fries and dove right in without a second thought of snapping a pic, but I will say this was no ordinary cheeseburger, it was a cornbread cheeseburger. No ordinary bread style buns, nary a sesame seed was in sight. The meat was encased in golden cornbread goodness and let me tell you it was mighty fine. It might sound weird but if you ever get the chance try it, me and my gut wouldn't steer you wrong.

While on the subject of other blogs let me mention one that is only a few months old, but that I predict good things for. The blog title is THE SUV DRIVING BITCH YOUR MOTHER WARNED YOU ABOUT and it is authored by SUV MAMA. Check it out. My favorite post was December 15th's but then again I'm prejudiced since in it she linked to me, mentioned Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle and the Dixie chicks. December 4th's about Toe Cleavage was quite entertaining as well. Anyway, I have Merry Jelinek to thank for the discovery SUV MAMA.

Christmas went well, but as always was hectic going from place to place to be with various family and friends.

The new TV is now up and it seems freakishly huge in my small living room. We watched a couple of movies on it last night.

I've also been doing a ton of reading though not much writing. Hope to get back in the groove soon. Very soon I'm going to bring back my books read list although in a bit different form than last time.

Bubblewench wanted me to list the booty I received for Christmas so here goes ... Giftcards.

Okay, there was a small thing or two besides gift cards, but most people have long ago given up buying actually things for me. Really only my wife will attempt that. So I will buy a bunch of books, maybe some paraphernalia for my muzzleloader. That is a black powder rifle for those who might not know.

And for those that have asked, yes I did in fact sent that query about now being 35. I'll let y'all know when I hear back.

I've rambled enough. So y'all tell me. Ever have a cornbread cheeseburger? Know any good blogs deserving of more attention. Read any good novels lately? Or share with us your favorite present from under the tree.

Monday, December 24, 2007

And To All a Good Night ...

I got nothing today. Yeah I know, I'm supposed to be a writer and have all of this creativity oozing out of me, but not today. I have my mind wrapped (pun intended) around other things so ...

Let me simply wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season.

And be very careful if you open one of your gifts and discover a Folgers can beneath the pretty paper. My advice, Don't open the lid, and most definitely DO NOT shake the contents. That my friends is when things get really ugly. See you Wednesday.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Art Of Regifting

First off, thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes. I was going to reply to each of you via the comments, but since so many of you took time to wish me a happy birthday the task now seems a bit too daunting for a lazy Government worker like myself.. So thanks to one and all.

Christmas Day is almost here and my plan was to tell the last of Santa Saga today, but as is often the case with my plans things haven't worked out the way I envisioned.

The story I wanted to tell simply isn't working for me and at this point I'm giving up on it. Maybe next year.

But so as not to leave y'all out in the cold, I'm going to tell you a different story with a Christmas theme.

The year was 2001, early December. My wife and I, needing to do a bit of Christmas shopping left my son with her parents and headed out. upon our return several hours later my father-in-law was quite jovial in telling us how much our child enjoyed sardines and kippered herring. Apparently, the two of them had shared several cans through the course of the night.
Now my father-in-law was quite enthused about the diaper that was sure to come. He smiled and patted me on the back saying, "That one will be fun to change."

Dirty diapers are never fun. Dirty diapers chocked full of recycled fish are even worse. Shark fisherman wouldn't have chummed with the black oily substance that come out of my son, but then again they wouldn't have had to. Had we lived on the coast all matter of carnivorous marine life would have grown legs and crawled ashore to seek out the odoriferous excrement. Such was its potency.

But I'm not one to let sleeping dogs lie, or smelly fish sink as in this case. I gagged my way through the changing, grabbed a Folgers can with an air-tight lid and popped the rancid bundle inside. I then wrapped the package up and waited the THREE-LONG-WEEKS till Christmas Eve.
My unsuspecting father-in-law unwrapped the present, and immediately popped the lid off his present. Let me tell you the stink had festered and grown to the point everyone in the room suffered. But he got it full force in the face, and to this day he seems a bit reluctant to open any gift that bears my name on the tag.

Sometimes Santa forgets the Ho! Ho! Ho! and goes for He! He! He!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Shiver Me Timbers

If for no other reason than to cover up the last post. I hated to discuss those people, but that book deal really bothered me.

On to better topics. At least better in my own humble opinion.

Tomorrow, December 21st, is a historic day of colossal proportions. Many a person born on that day has gone on to find glory.

Keifer Sutherland - 1966
Andy Dick - 1965
Florence Griffin Joyner (Flo-Jo)- 1959
Ray Romano - 1957
Samuel Jackson - 1948
Frank Zappa - 1940
Joe Paterno - 1926
Joseph Stalin - 1879

And Me! - 1972

Okay, so I've never been dictator of a large country, coached a bajillion football victories, cut a record, fought snakes on a plane, not everyone loves me, I can't run fast, I try not to be a dick, and I coudln't save the world in 24 years much less hours -- but someday I will be known far and wide as the man who wrote, Plundered Booty.

Speaking of which some of my friends already gave me a present. This t-shirt ...

And here was the note that came with it.

I am a t-shirt kind of guy so my wife bought this shirt for me as well.

You can't be a Texan and not like Willie. That is a deportable offense.

This being my 35th birthday I have a story to tell y'all. imagine that.

Anyway, back in the summer of 2002 I was at a writers conference listening to a New York agent give a workshop. Somebody in the class asked if being in their seventies would be a deterrnt in acquiring an agent. The agent said, "No, if the work was good enough she would take on a project from someone of any age. She then added, " Matter of fact I prefer my writers to have a few years behind them. Rarely should anyone under the age of 35 attempt fiction since they do not have enough life experience to draw from.

Think I'll send her an e-query tomorrow and tell her I've been waiting all this last five and a half years to turn of age, just so I could query her.

Go Ahead, Spear My Dreams - Another Riddle Me This Rant

I'm not one to care about celebrities. I don't watch Entertainment Tonight, or Hard Copy or any other like minded shows. I don't read People or US, or the Enquirer unless I'm stuck in a long line at the grocery store checkout. But I don't live in a cave either so I know more than I want to about Lindsay, and Omaha Super-8. That is the name I use for Paris Hilton, but I stole it from Sirius radio DJ Mojo Nixon so didn't think of it on my own.

And of course then there is Brittany. Miss Spears and turbulence seem to find each other as often as tornadoes and trailer parks. But again I could care less. Then why are you blogging about Hollywood's misfits?

Stay with me. Yesterday, while listening to Sirius on the way to work I hear that Brittany's little sister Jamie Lynn is pregnant at 16. Again not news I care about. But then the DJ says. Now Brittany and Jamie's mother will have to add a new chapter to her parenting book that is due out soon. Now I'm paying attention.

Someone, a Christian publisher I've since learned, paid the woman who raised tabloid poster girl, Brittany Spears to write a book on parenting. Riddle me this. WHY on earth would anyone do that? What was the title? How to raise your own slut machine for cash and profit?

Brittany learned such affective parenting skills form her mother that a judge decided her kids were better off with that Federline chap, and frankly he doesn't strike me as the second coming of Ward Cleaver.

Now I discover after the briefest of research that the publisher is planning to delay distribution of the book since news broke of the little sister's bun in the oven. To me that is the least of the problems when it comes to the credibility of this book. NEWSFLASH - Teenagers are horny. they sometimes make mistakes, even those that belong to good parents. I can't believe you'd be concerned about that and not the crazy shaved head - baby making - baby losing - vagina showing - two divorcing - lip syncing, crazy antics of Brittany.

And yes, it pisses me off when people like this get book deals and cash for a crappy book that somebody else actually ghost wrote anyway, when there are thousands of more deserving writers out there struggling to get their foot in the door. Me included.

Rant over.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Favorite Stuff

I don't know why, but I felt compelled to rewrite the song My Favorite Things in a way that better fits me.

Big juicy steaks and really good books
Songs that tell stories and sharp fishing hooks
Big poker pots that I can take with a bluff
That is my most favorite kind of stuff

Blogging about nothing and comments from readers
Coconut Rum that comes in really big liters
Literary agents who say "Yes, good enough"
Oh, that is my favorite kind of stuff

A wife that loves me by night and by day
Two little boys that make everything okay
Funny conversations right off the cuff
That is my most favorite kind of stuff

When the lettuce wilts
When the road is rough
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite stuff
And then I don't feel so bad

So tell me what is y'alls favorite kind of stuff? Feel free tow rite your own version and call it stuff, things, crapola or whatever you can find rhymes for.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

The end is upon us. No, not of the world or civilization. Nothing that dramatic. But a mere two weeks from today is New Year's Eve - or the end of 2007 will be upon us. I'm not a huge believer in New Year's resolutions, but I do set a few goals every year, particularly with regards to my writing endeavors.

Over the years I have achieved many of these goals. Finish a novel, submit material for consideration at least once a week, attend at least two writing conferences during a set year, write a set amount of words each day. Get up two hours earlier to write. Those are the easy ones, since I can control whether they happen or not.

Then there are those beyond my control that I have still accomplished. Win a writing contest, publish a story, sale a story, and for you non-writers, getting a story published and selling it are not always one in the same. Many markets pay nothing or give copies of the the publication as payment.

BUT ...

(There's always a but isn't there.) Two goals at the bottom of my list have always eluded me, and with only two weeks to go, and very little material out right now, and most literary agents and editors busy wrapping up end of year business, chances of that changing are Slim and None. And lookie there, None just drove a dagger through Slim's scrawny little chest.

That's right, for several years now acquiring an agent to represent me has been my primary focus. Signing a contract for one of my novels is still unchecked as well, but since I've only submitted to a few editors(those I've personally met at conferences) landing an agent will most likely occur before an offer for a book deal.

It has been said that acquiring a good, reputable literary agent is as hard or harder than getting published. I don't know about that, but I can verify neither one is an easy task so although I've failed year after year to realize my goals, at least in the technical sense, I still can take heart in the progress I've made.

From query letters, to requests for partials, to requests for fulls. Until this year that was as far as I'd ever gotten. But in 2007 I have had three different agents place phone calls to me. I count that as a minor success, and I have every confidence that 2008 will be the year I finally mark off at least one of those checkmarks.

Another writing related success for 2007 is this blog. I am still a bit overwhelmed at the growth that has occurred in only eight months. I started this blog to help market myself and to get my name out there. I never dreamed it would turn into such a fun and rewarding place to share my crazy thoughts, ideas and stories. I relish the immediate feedback your comments provide and I am proud to say I now have many more friends because of this blog. Thank you all.

On that note, a meme that Sherry over at Sage and Thyme tagged me with.

The Rules
The tagee is to post the first line, of the first post for each month of the year.
Provide a brief recap of these posts.


Coming soon - Blogging will be a new endeavor for me and I plan to post something within a few days so please check back.

This wasn't the real being and the few days quickly turned into a few weeks as April Fool's day was my first real post


Better late than never - Have you ever shown up late for a party only to discover your friends are five or six drinks ahead of you?

That same sense of being out-of-place hit me as I sat down to type that first post.


'Cause I'm Lazy - This has been one heck of a lousy day.

A pretty pathetic post but true nonetheless.


Call me Benedict
- No, not the pope, the traitor.

My take on some Chick Flicks.


The Love Boat -- Feedstore Chronicle #7

So we are up to lucky number seven of the Feedstore Chronicles.

A tale of my old boss, Earl's, luck. I still have more Feedstore Chronicles to tale but if you missed the first batch and enjoy the Santa Sagas you might wanna go back and catch up starting with Chronicle #1.


The rest of the Booty story

31 days in July - 31 posts. 1 day gone by in August - Zip, Nada, Zilch from me. But the good news is I hammered out another chapter of Plundered Booty last night.

Okay, so this is more than one sentence. Sometimes I don't like to play by the rules. this was the second part of my explanation of how I came to be writing a novel titles Plundered Booty.


Goodbye Feedstore, Hello Gridiron

Last night I headed down to Dick Bivins stadium here in Amarillo an along with 7,500 hundred other people watched my 16 year old nephew's varsity football debut.

This is when I put the Feedstore stories to rest and announced my tales of being a high school football ref in Texas. Those stories were short lived as they never drew many hits or comments.


Trust Me, I know What I'm Talking About

Today marks the sixth month anniversary of my first official post on this blog. Yep, I started this sucker on April Fools day. Fitting huh? Anyway in the spirit of that the most noble of holidays and with tongue planted firmly in cheek, here is my answer to WordVixen's tag about blogging advice.
Here I am cheating again. This post was my anti-advice fore blogging. I had a lot of fun with it.


What's Floatin' In my World

Today's post will have a little bit of everything.

And it did from announcing my recently pubbed short story to hot air balloons and Bill Clinton. Hot air and Clinton in the same post was merely coincidental.


I'll Tell You What To Believe, another Saga of the Second Rate Santa

I don't want this blog to become All Christmas ... All the Time, but I did say I would get another Second-Rate Santa Saga up this weekend.
The second installment of the Santa Sagas.

That sums it up. I think you are supposed to look back on the list and come up with some kind of theme, but this list only proves what I already knew about myself. I'm 90% storyteller and 10% writer and for me telling a good story is where the fun is. The rest of it is work, but work worth doing and 2008 is going to be my year. I can feel it in my bones.

I'd love to see all of y'alls year end lists so pick up the challenge and do this meme. Or at least drop a comment and let me know your goals for the new year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Second Rate Santa and the Sage of the ... Midnight Meat

Things are crazy around the mall during Christmas time, and they get even crazier when you can count the number of shopping days left without having to unzip your pants. (i.e. - less than ten days for those who geniuses and don't have to count things out on your fingers or for those of a gender that unzipping your pants doesn't not help)

That's the time frame for this story. I believe it was the last Saturday before Christmas and the mall was staying open until midnight. Okay folks, let me say it. Their is nothing at The Gap or Banana Republic that you need at twelve o'clock at night. And if you have your kids out at that time dragging them from store to store you seriously need to ask Ol' Saint Nick for one of those Dr. Spock books because you are in dire need of some parenting tips.

Notice I didn't say Jolly Ol' Saint Nick because nothing makes a guy more unjolly than to have been wearing an itchy fake beard all night while dealing with a sleigh full of rude and pushy procrastinators who want to blame you for them being behind in their shopping. Add in the fact fact they trot up a tired worn-out kid, who should have been in bed hours ago, and demand I repeat DEMAND a picture where everyone is all smiles ... Well the whole scenario conjures up the the old saying Shit in one hand and want in the other. Then see which fills up first.

Got an idea what kind of night I was having? Good, because this story really starts after I'd yanked the white beard off, Stripped out of the red velvet suit. Don't get excited ladies, I quickly put on my regular clothes which probably consisted of a flannel button up shirt since it was cold and a pair of wranglers and maybe some lace up hiking boots. You know your average lumberjack fashion.

So there I was at a quarter past midnight, looking a good bit like an agitated Paul Bunyon. Now normally I'd hike down the mall to the restroom to wash the white wax out of my eyebrows and the middle portion of my moustache, but like I said I was fed up and ready to leave so I trudged straight outside where my wife was waiting in the nice warm car to pick me up. At that time we only had one vehicle.

She took one look at said, "Rough night?"
"You can't imagine."

As we drove i realized that my stomach was trying to gnarl trough my spine so it could go out and find some food on its own. I'd eaten a dozen or so of those Little Debbie Oatmeal cookies that took star billing in last week's episode of the Santa Saga, but a man can't live on oatmeal and creme-filling alone -- he needs MEAT.

I am driving, since my wife hates to drive ant night and her driving scared the bejeezus out of me even when the sun is shining bright, so I pull into WhataBurger, since unlike the mall, most of the fast food joints had closed at a decent hour. Now while I contend no one needs overpriced name brand clothing at midnight access to grease-laden food is an around the clock requirement.

So we pull up at the drive through window and I order a bacon cheeseburger with meat and cheese only. Simple right? Not for the fine folks working at Whataburger and twelve-thirty at night. Let's just say I'm not sure the folks on duty that night could count passed ten whether they unzipped or not. But I didn't know that when I ordered, or even when they handed my sack of food through the window.

It wasn't until I took my first bite and gobs of mustard oozed down my throat. Okay many of you have heard me say, Lettuce is the Devil and it is but mustard happens to be one of the devils disciples. I hate the stuff and anything that was turned into gas and used as a weapon cannot be good to ingest. But back to the story.

I did a u-turn fast than you can say Blitzen and headed back to Whataburger. I stomped inside with the nasty taste of yellow satan at the back of my throat and headed straight for the counter. There wasn't another customer in the place, but that didn't keep the forty something year old dud behind the counter from staring at me with the slack jawed expression of a teenage pot head. Which no doubt he had been at one point in his life. The pothead probably still fit him but you can bet your Stretch Armstrong (that was a toy back in the day for any youngsters reading this) he hadn't been a teenager since sometime in the seventies.

Weird look aside, I told him my order was wrong and I wanted a bacon cheeseburger with meat and cheese only.

He opened up my burger and said that's what this is.
"No it had mustard. I just want meat and cheese."
"Oh .." He nodded his head despite continuing to stare at me as if I had an oatmeal turd for a nose. "No mustard. Got it."

I waited four or five minutes and he handed me a new sack. I pulled out he burger to check it and right away knew it was wrong again. I unwrapped it and there was the Devil itself in all its green evilness. Along with a slice of tomato and onion ... but at least there wasn't any mustard.

I should have just scraped the offending veggies off and lived with a bit of tomato juice and what not but after my long night I was agitated and said, "This is still wrong. I only want meat and cheese. Nothing else."

By this time I had noticed the cook peeking over the fryer at me. Along with the occasional weird glance from the drive-thru girl. They took my burger and again I waited. This time when I opened it there was not a drop mustard, nary a vegetable in sight, but you know what else was missing? The hamburger patty.

Right about then I lost it. I freely admit when I raised my voice and said, "What the hell is a matter with you people!" I was not only taking out my frustration about the burger but every crying bawling kid, every Doubting -too-smart-for-their-own-good-Thomas of a kid, every belligerent parent as well.

I ranted for a few minutes and then asked to see the manager. When the man in charge appeared he frowned and gave the same exact dumbfounded expression I'd been getting from his employees, but finally he said, "Can I help you sir?"

"I sure as hell hope so. I want a bacon cheeseburger with meat and cheese only. Nothing else. Is that too much to ask for?"

He opened up the wrapper and looked at his employees last effort. What wrong with this one?"

"There is no hamburger patty in it."

Ne nodded still staring at me and I cam to the conclusion he hadn't really heard a word I'd said because he was too bust eyeballing me.

Again I lost it and a little sarcastic elf began whispering in my ear so I asked. "Is hamburger meat?"
The manager nodded.
"Is bacon meat?"
Another nod.
"Is lettuce meat?"
He frowned but shook his head.
"Is it cheese?"
"Of course not?" A bit of irritation seeped into his speech.
"Is mustard meat?"
"Are they cheese?"
"Sir, we both know they are not."
"Then quit putting on my burger and make it the way I ordered it."

My tone finally wiped the dazed looked off the guys face as he crossed his arms and said, "Tell me how you want it and I'll personally guarantee it is made right."

I nodded and said. "I'll make this real easy since all of you seem a bit slow. "Put down the bottom of a bun, add a hamburger patty a slice of cheese, three slices of bacon and then put the top on with out adding another damn thing." I delivered this fine little speech with a good bit of hand gestures to demonstrate how it should be done.

A minute later I finally had my burger just like I wanted, but possible whit a bit of spit added after the fir I'd thrown but the spit of some middle aged pothead is still better than lettuce or mustard.

Out in the car my wife asked, "What took so long."

I gave her the complete replay and then said, "And the whole time those people kept staring at me as if I was crazy."

She gave me a look very reminiscent of the ones I'd gotten inside Whataburger and said, "Maybe it's because when you get mad those freaky little white eyebrows of your dance all around."

That's when it dawned on me. I still had the colored eyebrows as well as the Hitler portion of my mustache colored white. Somewhere, a former Whataburger employee is probably blogging about the Christmas where some crazed guy with flocked eyebrows and mustache came in ranting and raving about meat and cheese only.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I didn't blog yesterday -- and I know what all of you are thinking. Sure, he goes off and wins a big fancy new television and now he's too busy to blog.

You're half right.

I have been too busy to blog, but not for the reason most of you think. The TV is still safely ensconced in it's box, where it will stay until after Christmas. Why? Because I'm going to have to rearrange my entire living room to make the new TV fit right. The room is fairly small and our old entertainment center will not hold the new TV so we are going to move it and the old set to our bedroom. Then we have to get a new stand and with the Christmas tree up and all of that, we've decided to wait until after Christmas. And besides, I need to get an HD receiver for my satellite so hopefully, I'll have the whole thing up and ready by the time the big bowl games roll around. And just for the record, I'm picking LSU to defeat Ohio State in the national title game.

Back to the issue of time. I don't have much right now. Working at the Post Office at Christmas time is nearly as bad as playing Santa at the mall so please excuse me if my posts tail off a bit over the next few weeks. I also may not be weighing in on your blogs quite as often, but I will try to visit every other day or so to keep up.

Besides work there is also the dreaded shopping to do. I have finally started but I'm a long way from finished. Do you know what my idea of a perfect world would be? Good 'cause I'm going to tell you. In a perfect world every last single person would be an avid reader. Forget expensive jewelry, smelly perfumes, and boxes of fruitcake and summer sausage. Okay, keep the summer sausage because that is just plain meaty goodness, but the rest can go. I'd love to be able to hit the bookstore and buy a book, or two, or three for every last person on my list. Spending all day roaming up and down the aisles of a book store -- now that is my kind of shopping.

***As I was typing up this post this morning my computer decided to turn belly up and die. A power supply later I am back up and running. While at the computer store I also decided to buy some memory to crank things up a bit so all is good once again in techno land.

I realize this is a crummy post about nothing but this is what you get just the same.

***Another add on. While looking for some screws to replace the ones I dropped for the shell of my computer case i found a really great novel read a while back. It is called The Rock Orchard and it was written by Paula Wall. I read this novel before i started blogging otherwise I would have already sang it's praises to y'all. I do not know anything about Ms. Wall but I will tell you as a writer reading this book made me envious. I can't tell you how many times I read a passage and thought, Dang, I wished I would have written that. I am fairly certain The Rock Orchard was her debut novel, but she may have another out by now. It's been too long since I've read it to give a detailed review but if you like southern fiction and unique characters all told in a distinct and humorous voice you'll love this novel.

What other random thing can I insert here to further prove I have adult A.D.D? How about I through in some random pics and leave it at that.

This is a shot taken in my front yard this past January. Yes, it does snow in Texas. At least the Panhandle where I live.

This one was taken by my wife

last June. We found this patch

of wildflowers inside Palo Duro

Canyon State park. Told you

these were random.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Winner, Winner - Chicken Dinner !!!

I'm not really a T.V. guy. I watch a bit of sports here and there. A few movies, but zero, zip, zilch in the way of primetime television. I gave on the major networks long ago, although the first season of Earl brought me briefly back. I loved the first four or five seasons of the Sopranos, but the series went on too long. Deadwood was good, but HBO left me high and dry on that one, and I consider Rome to be one of the best written shows of all time. Never, has a series ended so perfectly.

All that being said. I still have an old thirty two inch television that I bought better than ten years ago, just before I got married. Sure I've envied a few people their big screen HD models, but I simply never watched enough tv to justify buying something like that.

But guess what? My wife went to watch friends of ours daughter perform a Christmas concert with her high school orchestra. We'd also bought some raffle tickets to help support the music program as well. They announced the winner at the concert and we won this ...

Oh yeah, that is fifty inches of Samsung HDTV for my viewing pleasure,a ll for seven bucks worth of raffle tickets. Yes siree, it is better to be lucky than good. Thank you Lady Luck for once again smiling my way. And if you're sister Karma were here I'd give both of a you a big kiss smack dab on the lips.

Prior to this I once won a thousand dollar hunting rifle for a twenty five dollar chance but this win tops that. So tell me. What's the biggest thing you've ever won?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Awards, Offspring, and Google

This is another one of those random kind of blogs. First I want to thank Bubblewench for bestowing on me the Mad Skillz award which comes with this nifty picture. She had some very kind things to say about me and my writing.

For a look and the long and storied history of this award pay CamiKaos a visit. She also happens to be the woman displaying her skills in the photo and she writes a mighty fine blog herself. I need top take the time to add her to my blog roll.


A conversation at the Erwin dinner table after Z (my 5 year old burped again)

My wife said, "Stop burping at the table, it's not nice."

Me, "Don't make me call Santa."

T, my 7 year old, "And he won't bring you any toys if you're not good."

Z "Yes, he will. I was bad last year and I still got presents."

Stay tuned. I might just have to teach him a lesson Christmas morning. Tears will abound if I hide his presents for a while and let him think Santa skipped him this year.


Every blogger who tracks their hits and page views eventually does a post on the odd search terms that brings visitors their way. Here is mine because I've had some real head scratchers as of late.

Diseased bull dog penis's apparently links to here.

Horseshoe proctologist to here. And who searched for this thing. I sincerely hope this isn't another thing to add to close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades because call me silly I don't want a proctologist where close is good enough.

Sasquatch hair brings you here.

Evil Vegetarian here. I get this one several times a week, and I even had an offer to join some kind of anti vegetarian club.

Short shorts with writing on the butt brings a visitor here.

Tortoises having sex will land you here.

Crackwhore confessions leads here.

Boy impaled by deer antler links to here.

There have been some other great ones in the past but I've forgotten many of them and they only stay on statcounter for so long. Looking at this list makes me wonder, who is crazier -- me for blogging about stuff that makes these searches link to me - or the people who are actually out there searching for these things on Google? Feel free to chime in with an answer to that question in the comments or toss out the weirdest search that links to your blog or website.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Another Second Rate Santa Saga - Ye Olde Yuletide Log

The shopping days are dwindling, Jack Frost is nipping right along, and credit card CEOs are grinning. Yep, we're smack in the middle of Christmas season so here is a new edition of my Santa tales.

If you missed out on the picture of me in the red suit go here and read how I happened to become a mall Santa.

Installment two, can be found here.

And numero three, here.

Or you can skip those and join in the fun with this new edition.

I'm the kind of guy who tries to have fun regardless of the situation. You can call it what you will - finding the silver lining, making lemonade out of lemons, believing there might be a diamond inside that lump of coal in my stocking. So even though playing Santa wasn't all Ho, Ho, Hos and gold tinsel, I tried to have fun. Though my idea of fun and other's isn't always the same, as this story illustrates.

Santa' domain sat smack dab in the middle of the mall. The set consisted of a small house open on three sides, a white picket fence which contained white cotton spread out on the ground to look like snow and a bunch of mechanical elves and reindeer. Some of the elves waved, others bent to pick up a package, or slowly turned their heads. But they all moved in some way as did the reindeer.

Kids often asked about these mechanical critters and I would tell them that elf is named Squirtamirt or that one is Higgligiggle. And the reindeer I'd call Comet or Blitzen or whatever struck my fancy at the time. None had a red nose so I'd tell the kids that Rudolph was up on the roof.

Also from time to time I'd stand up, because my butt got sick of sitting for hours on end in that dang red velvet chair. Santa tried not to dig out the wedgies while anyone was watching but a guys gotta do what a guys gotta do. When I stood to "stretch" I'd always wave at the kids along the fence and shout out, "Merry Christmas!" I'd also have a little fun with Galen, my boss.

The mall provided us with Oatmeal Creme Pies to hand out to every kid, whether they paid for a picture or not. I like Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies myself, so in order to maintain the proper Santa physique I indulged in one, or two, or ten a night. Thus, I always had a few of the little round brown patties of goodness in my pocket.

Id you have an aversion to bathroom humor and the immature actions of adult males -- stop reading now. If not proceed.

Did you know an oatmeal creme pie, removed from it's cellophane package and rolled up looks a lot like a human turd? Alarmingly similar of the person who rolls us said cookie goes to the added trouble of tapering each end.

I left one of these "presents" under an elf for Galen to find and when he did, I got quit a reaction. He squinted, stepped closer, squinted some more. Then he called me over and pointed. "What is that?"

Waving to the kids, I said, "I don't know."
Galen scratched his head and bent down for a closer look. "Looks like a turd," He finally said.
Trying hard to maintain a straight face I chimed in with, "Guess Elves gotta go to."
"Well pick it up," Galen said.
"I'm not picking it up. It wouldn't look very Santa-like to go around picking up Elf crap. Now would it?"

Galen stared some more. "What do you think it is, Really?"
I continued to wave, "Beats me."

Finally, he bent down to pick it up and found it to be softer and stickier than he ever imagined. The look on his face combined with the fact he nearly gagged had me laughing so hard tears filled my eyes. There for a few seconds he really believed that Elf had laid a yuletide log and my only regret is that he threw the thing in the trash before I had a chance to grab it and take a bite, ala Bill Murray in Caddyshack.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My Wife Knows Everything

I am a both a failure and a liar. But I had good intentions.

Remember when I told you I had special plans for an upcoming Santa Saga? One entitled, Midnight Meat? Well I did, but now I don't.

I planned to tell the story orally through a video blog. I even went over to my friend Brad's house this morning so he could help me film it. He is my unofficial technical guru, and by the way his wife Jayme, writes a great blog, except she doesn't post often enough and she uses the dreaded MySpace to host it. But don't let either of those factors stop you. Go here and read what she has to say, and encourage her with your comments to post a bit more often.

My wife has always thought my idea to do a video post was a bad one, and once again she has proven to be correct. We did film it. I stood there like an idiot and told a story that I have recounted a thousand times to friends and whatnot, but the finished product was ... crap for lack of a better word, so unless you can bribe Brad the orally version of Midnight Meat will never see the light of day. Y'all will have to settle for a plain vanilla written version sometime in the near future. Sorry.


I had conversation with my boys today that y'all might get a chuckle out of.

We were riding down the road talking and my youngest, 5 kept asking what various things were made out of.

"Dad, what are cars made of?"
"Metal, plastic rubber, fiberglass."
"What's fiberglass?"
"Just stuff they make cars out of and use to insulate your house."
"Is it glass?"
"Sort of, but they spin it like cotton candy and then I think sometimes they heat it up to make it hard and make shapes."

I'm sure that is not entirely accurate but I was trying to appease a five year old on the fly.
Seconds later, "Dad, what are airplanes made of?"

"The same stuff." I glanced in my rear view mirror and could tell he was searching for another object to ask about so I decided to head him off.

"What are you made of I ask."
I dunno," he said.

This is where my seven year old chimed in. "I know what we are made of."
"What?" I asked.
"Meat," he said.
To poke some fun at him I said, "Chicken meat."
"Nope," He proudly raised his chin and proclaimed, "I'm made of man meat."

Cracked me up anyway. And more accurate than snails, tails and puppy dog tails.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Something Ain't Write

I hoard of Bulgarian women yanked me into the back of the van and took me to see their leader - Karma, but I escaped my captors and spent the last two days hiking back to town .

Or ...

I ate some tainted lettuce and have been too weak to type.

Or ...

The real Santa dispatched a dozen elves to rough me up for making a mockery of his age old tradition.

Feel free to pick your own fantasy as to why I haven't blogged in a few days, because they all sound better than, "I was lazy, had very little to say, and just plain didn't feel like it."

Then there is the fact I've been using my computer time to do research. For some unknown reason I have decided to attach an apt quote to the beginning of each chapter of Plundered Booty. So I have been scouring through books and scoping out the internet for funny little quips that convey the mood, tone, or theme of each chapter. I'll share a few of those with you very soon, but the project has already consumed more time than I ever dreamed. And I'm not sure if it is even a good idea.

Another update on the writing front. I had a call from an agent last Friday. This particular agent had had the complete manuscript of my last novel , A River Without Water since August. She was the third agent to call me this year but once again no offer. unfortunately despite interest and personal phone call you cannot add acquiring an agent to the list of horseshoes and hand grenades where close is good enough. She did offer some helpful advice and offered to reread a reworked version of A River, or any future projects I might have. But she also said she would not submit any of my women's fiction under my own name. She said I would have to choose a female pseudonym because despite the fact I write women's fiction well (her words not mine) too many editors would think otherwise and start reading with jaded eyes.

I'm sure the agent knows a ton more than I still can't help but think about Nicholas Sparks, Nicholas Evans, Larry McMurtry and many other male authors who have written successful women's fiction titles over the years. Why can't a big hairy guy write an emotionally driven story from a woman's POV? I don't know but after more than six years of trying to sell such an animal I can tell you there are a LOT of skeptics. Chime in here Alex, I know you have an opinion and you have seen a bit of that bias up close and personal at Arizona.

But maybe my gender has nothing, or very little to do with my inability to acquire an agent, or sell my novels. Maybe the writing isn't good enough?

Guess I'll be able to better answer that once I finish Booty and begin sending it out, because it's not women's fiction. Since a few of you have asked about Plundered Booty in comments and emails I'll give you a vague take on what the novel is. I haven't worked on my query or pitch yet so this is just the thoughts in my head and in no way a concise description. Plundered Booty is a humorous, modern day pirate tale that stretches from the red dirt of Oklahoma to the white sands of the Caribbean, told entirely by first person narrator Hank "The Captain" Zybeck. I see it as a cross between a Kinky Freidman novel and a Jimmy Buffet song, but here is a small piece of Hank's take right our of the beginning of the novel where he introduces the reader to the story. I'll warn you right up front I'm breaking many of the so-called writing rules and the entire piece is a bit unconventional but so far following the rules hasn't gotten me where I want to be.
Now a sample of my work in progress ...

... But first, let me explain a couple of things since a few of you are probably getting squeamish. Here you are holding a book titled Plundered Booty, and I'm rambling on about underage girls and teenage boys. That's enough to make most anybody uneasy.

Don't worry. It ain’t that kind of book. Reading my story will not land you on the F.B.I.’s watch list. A Dateline camera crew isn't lurking in your bushes ready to demand answers for your shoddy morals. Your neighbors will not receive a postcard from Barnes and Noble telling them you have recently bought this book.

In other words, you will not be labeled a pervert for reading this. As I said, it ain't that kind of story.

No children were exploited, no animals were hurt, and no harmful greenhouse gases were released in the creation of these words. Unless you count the vapors emitting from Junior's bullshit, but neither you nor I can be blamed for that.

Now that we’ve covered what this story isn't, let me tell you what it is. Like all good tales this one is about love ... with a healthy dose of lust thrown in for good measure.
Love and lust. Caribbean rum and brand new automobiles. Blatant lies and plundered dreams. That's the foundation. Yeah, I'm leaving out a few things, but you’d stop reading right now if I told you everything up front.

Don't be shy, weigh in. What do you think about a man writing women's fiction? What do you think about this small piece of Plundered Booty? Does it feel too author intrusive?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I'll Tell You What To Believe, another Saga of the Second Rate Santa

I don't want this blog to become All Christmas ... All the Time, but I did say I would get another Second-Rate Santa Saga up this weekend. But this will be the last one until late next week or even the weekend, because I'd hate for my readers to require insulin after too many tales of sugar plum fairies. In another couple of weeks we'll all be so sick of hearing Jingle Bells and All I Want for Christmas is a Hippopotamus that the only way to make our spirits bright is to mount a giant hippo head above our fireplaces. But I digress.

I've had a hard time deciding which Santa tale to go with next. There is my personal favorite,which I think will be titled Midnight Meat, - but I have special plans for that one later on in the month and besides, I need to set up a few things through other stories first. There is one highlighting the immaturity of grown men, myself included, that I'll call, Ye Olde Yuletide Log, but since I described the three kinds of adults that visited Santa in the last post, I think I'll do the same with kids in this one. Again most of the kids fit in one of three categories.

The Awed - These were the kids that approached wide-eyed with mouths agape. To them I was a mystical hero capable of fulfilling all their dreams and wishes. The would climb up on my lap and speak their hearts desires in whispered tones. And they would listen with rapt attention as I instructed them to listen to their parents and not fight with their brother's and sisters. I'll tell you there wasn't near enough of these kiddos, but they were the ones that made it fun.

The Scared - Again these kids were wide-eyed and their mouths were open - screaming at the top of their lungs. "No! I don't Want to! Please Mommy, please!" Nothing makes you feel better than to instill raw terror into small children. I know what Quasimodo felt like. But it could have been worse. The parents could have gathered up torches and pitchforks. Instead, they handed me their squalling and bawling offspring and then stepped back and said, "Smile, pretty for you picture honey." Ever try to get a terrified kid to stop crying and smile? It ain't easy. Especially when the very thing they are afraid is holding onto them.

The Skeptical - These are the kids who walked up with narrowed eyes and smug grins. The IRS should hang around Santa's throne at malls and recruits these little doubters cause once they get on your case they can't be dissuaded. And is there really much difference in these two questions? "If you're really Santa then where is you Reindeer?" "Mr. Erwin, do you really expect me to buy into your claim that you traveled to Las Vegas solely for book research?"
They have the same ring to them huh? Yep, and it is about as joyous as the racket those Salvation Army Santas make out in front of Wal-mart. And here is a little tale to prove my point.

There I was sitting on my throne, well not my throne, the mall's throne they built for Santa. My throne is made of porcelain and doesn't have a stitch of red velour in sight, but at least there is always a good book near my throne. But back to Santa and the mall. The line was fairly long as it was a weekend afternoon. In times like that I fell into a routine. Welcome the next group in line, ask them what they want for Christmas, smile for the picture, and then tell them to be good little boys and girls because my elves were watching. In between I'd try to wave to the kids that gathered around the little white picket fence.

For a long time I noticed this one little girl about eight or nine standing there. I'd wave but she wouldn't respond. Finally, a small boy of about five joined her at the fence and finally the two of them along with a man and woman got in line. A good fifteen or twenty minutes went by before they made their way to the front. Here is the scene that followed.

"Merry Christmas," I shouted.
The boy smiled. She did not.
"And what would you like for Christmas?"
The boy said, "A new bike and a hamster."
I turned to the girl. "And how about you."
"I know you're not the real Santa Claus, and my mom won't let him have a live animal cause he squeezed our parkeet until it died."

At this point Galen, said smile and the flash went off, but the girl wasn't done.

"The real Santa does't have time to sit around all day taking pictures."
"So what does the real Santa do all day?" I asked.
"He builds toys."
"I have elves to do that." Yeah I now. I was arguing with an eight-year old over something she was right about and I was wrong, but I had to have fun somehow.
"And he has to feed the reindeer."
"They fly around and find their own food," I countered.
She rolled her eyes, "Right."
I appealed to her little brother who I decided was an easier sell. "You be a good little boy and Santa will leave you a surprise Christmas morning."
"Will you bring me a hamster?"
"I'll have to ask you mommy first. Santa can't bring you something unless your parents say it's okay."

At this the girl gave a hearty, "Huuumph," and hopped off my lap. She grabbed her brother's hand and drung him off with her. As she left I heard her say, "See, I told you he wasn't the real one. The Santa can do anything he wants. as long as Mrs. Clause says it's okay."

I couldn't help but laugh, but deep down I already felt sorry for the poor guy who would end up married to her.