Tag: humor

The Kill Switch.

kill switch

Such a loaded term, right? I love all of the potential hyperbole hidden in this simple phrase. A kill switch – as most of you know – is basically an emergency shut down. One single switch that aborts all operations. Immediately.

It came in pretty handy when one brilliant little tech-nerd discovered a kill switch in the software during the WannaCry ransomware attack in May of 2017 (sure, the evil hackers just fixed their flaw and went right on terrorizing the world – but finding that initial kill switch still slowed the spread and allowed the world to catch up and defend itself).

So kill switches are typically a safety measure. A good thing.

But what if it’s in your heart?

My maternal grandmother died of sudden cardiac death at 62. Then my mom died of sudden cardiac death at 67. And everyone knows that if something happens once, it’s merely anecdotal, but if it happens twice, it’s a pattern. (I just totally made that up, but it sounds believable, right?)

So there is the possibility that I managed to inherit a genetic kill switch. One hardwired to my heart that can be randomly triggered (sometime when I’m in my 60s and standing in my kitchen, apparently, based on historical evidence). Which would be a total bummer.

That’s a pretty lousy pattern to be next in line for. (By the way, can I tell you how much my husband *loves* it when I bring up this morbid topic?)

Now, I know, the fix seems simple. Find the kill switch. Disable it. But my mom went to a cardiologist *and* had a stress test ONE year before she died and got a clean bill of health. Which means this particular switch is a sneaky little bastard. And, thanks to an exceptionally lazy coroner who chalked her death up to “heart disease” (you know, minus the blockages, narrowed arteries, enlargement, etc.), we have no real clues as to where the damn switch might be hidden.

I turned 45 this year. So, I figure I’ve got about 20 years to find the kill switch hidden in my code and reprogram it so that it doesn’t randomly abort all operations, so to speak.

Piece of cake. I just have to hack my heart.

*NOTE*

Full disclosure, I wrote this post last fall and hadn’t posted it. Since then, my brother went to a particularly wily cardiologist that discovered a genetic defect in his heart resulting in a bi-valve in his aorta instead a tri-valve. Or something like that. My brother had open-heart surgery in January and they put in a titanium valve so now my brother audibly ticks and sets off metal detectors but he may have figured out the hack. Which spoiled this post. But saved his life. ❤

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I Think My Dog Has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Meet Jack and Sawyer. My head-case rescue dogs that I’ve had now for over nine years.

Jack & Sawyer

Well, they were head-cases. Now they are well-adjusted, borderline-friendly pups.

That’s Sawyer on the left. Sawyer is an ultra-sensitive, timid, attention whore. And I think he has OCD.

More than a year ago, my husband and I started waking up to our bathroom rugs being bunched up in a pile on the bathroom floor every morning. Every. Morning. Curious.

At bedtime, the rugs were laid out flat. Jack and Sawyer were curled up on the double-size dog bed on my side of the bed – like so:

Jack and Sawyer

(I know – super cute, right?)

Anyway, several months ago, I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of one of the boys getting up and going into the bathroom…and digging at the rug. By the light of my phone, I could see Jack, sleeping peacefully next to me. Then, once he’d completed his task, Sawyer ambled back to his bed, curled up, and went back to sleep.

Like nothing happened. Psycho.

Exhibit A:

rug

And, because, apparently he can’t sleep if he doesn’t mess up both rugs in the bathroom, Exhibit B:

rug 2

He wakes up in the dead of night, goes and messes up the rugs, and goes back to bed. Every single night.

So, the obvious question surrounding Sawyer’s nocturnal activities is WTF?

Is he dreaming that he’s making a daring prison escape? Does he hear termites in the foundation? Does he subscribe to Chaos Theory and feels the need to make a small, nightly gesture to his ideology?

Sigh. Alas, we may never know. Where’s Sarah Marshall when you need her?

Sarah Marshall Animal Instincts
Sarah Marshall in Animal Instincts

 

 

All’s Fair in Love and Book Reviews.

I read an article by an author who said never – never – read reviews of your book online.

Okay, but did he mean like never ever? Or just kind of never? Because never seems sort of impossible, right? (For a slightly neurotic, first-time author like me it proved to be, anyway.)

And I looked. That’s right. I read them all.

Here’s the funny thing about reviews of your book – a good review makes you smile and puts a spring in your step. For about a day.

A bad review is like that popcorn kernel that gets stuck between your tooth and gum that you can’t seem to dislodge no matter how hard you try…because the popcorn kernel is in your soul. Giving you something to poke at late at night when you’re trying to sleep.

So even though there are substantially more good reviews out there, the few bad ones are the ones that got under my skin. Which is probably why that author said DO NOT READ THEM! A-ha. If only I had the ability to listen to sage advice when it is presented to me.

Oh well. Some of the good ones make it all worth while.

Lisa over at LostInLit called it “Hilarious, Witty and Quite Charming.” And Lisa (I know – I’m winning with ‘Lisas”!) over at LisaLovesLiterature gave it 5 stars! And Becky on Goodreads said I “hit it out of the park!” Megan over at ReadingBooksLikeaBoss added me to her “Book Recommendations” tab! And then I found this young woman who goes by The Lone Reader who did a very funny and enthusiastic video blog about it. If I can make anyone rattle on that fast about my book, I certainly should be able to overlook a few naysayers.

So if *you* have read my book – and liked it – please leave me a review 🙂  (And I’ll try to keep myself from reading it). If you read it and didn’t like it – my name is spelled N-i-c-h-o-l-a-s-S-p-a-r-k-s. Be sure to get that part right.

 

I’m the ‘Windows Vista’ of People.

Ok, Mac people – bear with me – this analogy will be short.

The year was 2007. We were all happily acclimated to our Windows XP operating system when, bam! Microsoft dropped Windows Vista on us and we collectively went, “Thanks for nothing, a-holes!”

Because Windows Vista was that shitty little upgrade nobody asked for.

It was buggy and slow and didn’t seem to make anything better. But Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, said, “Tough shit. You’ll use it and you’ll like it.” (But it only lasted a couple years before Microsoft got tired of our bitching and came out with Windows 7 – but I’m not here to give you a primer on Microsoft operating systems.)

So, what’s my point?

Well, a couple of years ago I started this blog so that I could write silly posts about stupid things that I found amusing and thought maybe other people would find amusing, too. Then, almost two years ago, my mom, my rock, my BFF, died, suddenly, for no good reason because her heart (despite being healthy and barely 67 years old) went, “That’s it – I quit.” And just stopped.

And then this blog took a wicked hairpin turn and became a place where I wrote mostly about grief. (No, that isn’t the Windows Vista upgrade I’m talking about. Stay with me.) For those of you that have been following along, these last two years have been the roller coaster of a lifetime. And I would come here and talk about terrible, heartbreaking things (but marinate them in sarcasm, hoping to get a laugh here or there). But, regardless, I sort of took you along with me as I figured out my own post-apocalyptic world.

So, here’s my point.

When you lose a close parent or someone important, the general consensus is “You really won’t start feeling like yourself for a year.” Truly. Many people who had lost a parent said the same thing. A year.

Well, the first year came and went. And true, the grief ebbed and I was gradually less of a shit-show. But I kept waiting to feel like myself again. Now I’m approaching two years. And it hit me: There is no going back to the old me because she doesn’t exist anymore.

Cue the Windows Vista metaphor. I’ve been upgraded! Those bastards! I’ve been force-fed the system upgrade I never asked for and that certainly doesn’t seem like an improvement to the prior version. This version isn’t as happy, is slightly less compassionate, has a much narrower bandwidth for bullshit, and crashes regularly around birthdays and holidays. The only possible upside is that this version is proven to be wicked resilient and excels at letting shit go (because they apparently narrowed the “Bullshit Meter” but expanded the “Fuck It Meter“).

So, since I had shared the rest of this Mr.-Toad’s-Wild-Ride-esque journey with you, I figured I would share this revelation as well. If you’ve lost your person, don’t keep waiting to feel like yourself again, because you’ll be waiting a really long time. Just start looking for positives in the system upgrade (that you didn’t want or need) and hopefully you’ll find an improvement or two that will make the You 2.0 version worthwhile.

And to those that know me who preferred the Windows XP version? We apologize for the inconvenience, but that version is no longer supported.

 

Sneak Peek at the November Ballot!

Hey guys – I mocked up the ballot I propose we use for the November presidential election. I feel like it really captures overwhelming public sentiment as we move toward this all-important decision.

2016 Ballot

To quote a friend, “Sweet Meteor of Death 2016.”

So, This Happened.

Galley Cover

Just like that. I have a title. And a cover. And a description that is a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster in that it’s partially my original story pitch and partly what “they” came up with (whoever “they” are that tinker with these things at the publishing houses).

So, sure, it felt pretty real when I got the deal. And it felt a little more real when I signed the contracts. And then it felt realer still when I got that first advance check.

But, I must say, this sort of hit a new level of “oh my god – this is really happening!” Which is a pretty good level.

And, about the time the actual book cover showed up on my publisher’s website (Forge is part of Macmillan), it showed up for PRE-ORDER on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and even popped up on Goodreads!

Oh – and I now have my official release date: January 10, 2017.

So, I’m gonna ride this high until I get my copies of the galley (Advance Reading Copies) and am actually holding a copy of my book in my hands and then I’ll write a post about how that’s the realest real yet! I know. You can hardly wait.

Look at it this way…I’ll probably be a lot cooler on my next go-round. But this time? I’m gonna enjoy every, little, teeny, tiny step. Because it took about 15 years to get here 😉

As Good As It Gets.

I love the movie, “As Good As It Gets.” I’m using the word “love” here, about a movie. And if you love the movie, too, you’ll get that joke. Anyway, it’s a perfect movie about imperfect people without a single wasted line. Including this one:

As Good As It Gets

Remember? He’s trying to get in to see his shrink without an appointment and he turns to the waiting room full of the damaged, anxious and depressed and poses the question, “what if this is as good as it gets?” And there is a collective gasp in the room in response.

So. What if this is as good as it gets?

My mom’s birthday came and went. The anniversary of her death was December 15. The holidays are over. It’s a new year and my catastrophic loss is now 13 months in the rear-view. And I’m haunted by Jack Nicholson’s question.

What if this is as good as it gets?

I mean, it’s not as though I’m sad all the time. But definitely more than I thought I would be 13 months later. And I still think, no less than five times a day, of something I wish I could tell her or show her or ask her. And I still miss her every damn day. And now I’ve racked up a considerable number of days.

I’m sure it will continue to improve with time. But, after 13 months, I can tell you, it moves like molasses. Maybe because you’re trying to watch grass grow because you’re so anxious for it to be green again.

So, I’ll continue to focus on the good – while trying not to dwell on how much better it would be if she were here.

And I know that if this is as good as it gets – I’ve still got it pretty damn good.

We Now Return You to Your Regularly Scheduled Breakdown.

Well, mini breakdown.

So, here’s the thing. In the beginning, everyone expects you to be a mess.

Then, a few months later, everyone understands when you’re a mess.

But nine months in – people seem a little caught off guard when you’re a mess.

So, by nine months, you’ve got this internalization thing going where you save most of your tears for bedtime and you’ve mastered having quiet, undetectable mini meltdowns.

And it’s all well and good except that with all this internalization comes detachment. You wind up feeling removed, distant, isolated (and a fan of synonyms, apparently). You feel less and care less because you’re watching everything from a distance.

I have a problem with this because I typically care about freaking everything. What people think. How people feel.

But now? Meh.

But I’m sure it’s just a phase and I’ll get back to my normal, overly-excitable, impassioned self. Eventually.

But for now – I’m Pluto. Downgraded, distant and disenfranchised.

pluto-new-horizons-july-2015

Anyone else think it’s interesting that Pluto has a big ol’ heart on it? Makes you feel kinda bad for downgrading it to a dwarf planet, huh? Because Planet Dwarfism is no laughing matter. Icy Dwarf Planets need love too.

The True Meaning of “Every Day.”

I feel like “every day” is an overused expression. As in, “I could eat pizza every day.” Or “I’m pretty sure I’m gaining weight every day.” Or “he gets on my nerves every day.” We don’t really mean every day. We mean a lot of days. Enough days to be significant. But not literally “every” day.

The reason this has occurred to me is because there is one instance when it is entirely accurate but its overuse has sort of watered-down the phrase. Because when you lose one of the most important people in your world and you say that you miss them every day, you mean every. day.

My mom died 238 days ago. And I have missed her every. day.

Some days its more like several glancing blows throughout the day and you just keep moving. Other days it settles in to your bones and you wear it like a lead cloak throughout the day.

But the point is that it is every day. No days off for good behavior. Every day. Not a lot of days or enough days to be significant. Every. Fucking. Day. For 238 days and counting.

Oh, and by the way, don’t give me that dirty look for posting something sad on a Monday. It’s Monday. It was going to suck anyway.

For Jenny (and Rory, Too).

This post is for Jenny Lawson. If you follow her blog, it will make perfect sense. If you don’t, go there, get caught up on the last few years, and then come back.

furiously-happyDear Jenny,

I was reading your post last night about taking Rory to visit fun and exotic places and I thought, Hey! He can visit my blog. Sure, it’s no sandy beach, but we do have beer and we won’t mind if he sheds.

So I’ve been following you for some time and wanted to share with you my own furiously happy story.

I’ve had some dark and twisty times in my life but I had come out the other side and I think I was legitimately furiously happy. You know, more than anyone has a right to be. And then about 7 months ago, my mama died…and she was kind of my everything.

And then I wasn’t furiously happy anymore.

I’ve been anxious and moody. Furiously sad at times. And sometimes just furious (because when your mom just turned 67 and is the picture of health, you’re allowed to be angry when her heart suddenly stops for no good reason).

And I read all of your posts and I realized that your own roller coaster ride has been giving you more downs than ups lately, and I can relate. And we seem to be on this journey to be whole.

But, you know what? I’m not whole and I never will be again. Because, basically, I’m a three-legged dog.

But I realized…I’ve seen some pretty fucking happy three-legged dogs. I can’t tell if they forgot they had a leg there, or if they remember but are just so stoked to still have enough legs to allow them to run and chase balls that they are willing to overlook what’s missing.

Baron

This is a picture of my friend’s three-legged dog (used without permission – sorry, Mike). Anyway, pretty sure he’s my spirit animal.

Either way, they seem furiously happy. And that’s my goal: To be a furiously happy, three-legged dog.

And thanks for leading this merry band of misfits. ❤