Saturday, May 31, 2014

Meet Mr. HDL Cholesterol #writerfuel

Yes, I said Mr. HDL Cholesterol. I was out running the garage sales this weekend and I found one of the mugs from about as bizarre a series as ever produced.

In 2002, the pharmaceutical company that produces ACTOS QD for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes created a series of mugs as salesman premiums to drop off with doctors.

Enter Mr. HDL Cholesterol . . .

Don't worry, I'm the good guy!
I know this will shock you, but I have the entire set. It started innocently enough, I found Mr. Muscle in an auction box. That was followed by Mr. Liver, Mr. Kidney, Mr. Pancreas, Mr. Stomach, and the villain, Mr. Triglycerides. Cookies anyone?

Collecting the weird stuff, so you don't have to. #writerfuel

Friday, May 30, 2014

Okay, I Need to Hug a Puppy Now . . .

Obligatory PSA: This post is vile. If bad language, degrading sexual discussions, allusions to rape culture, and just general douche-baggery offend you, then check out this photo of an adorable toddler in a bear suit and back away slowly.

In response to a trolling I took on Twitter when I posted on the #yesallwoman hashtag and after reading article after article on the UCSB shootings, I took a stroll through the man-o-sphere, a collection of websites loosely organized around the MRA movement.

On the advice of someone I respect, I decided to summarize what I found into a blog post. Before I start, let me tell you a bit about myself. I am not politically-correct nor thin-skinned. I sit in the front row at comedy clubs. For 10 years I both prosecuted and defended child support cases. In the corridor of the jail, I had a guy put his finger in my face and tell me I was the "stupidest fucking bitch" he'd ever met. I tore his plea agreement into pieces, turned, walked away, and asked the judge to reschedule him with a different lawyer. It cost him 6 extra weeks in jail. I am not a shrinking violet.

What I found in my journey made me laugh, made me retch, and made me want to wash my hands. I'm not going to hotlink to sites because I don't want them to benefit from the pageviews, but I started with the Southern Poverty Law Center misogyny sites.

The first one calls for all American men to boycott American women and seek brides overseas. Asian, Hispanic, Eastern European, and Russian women are all desirable wives.

One post sums up the posters' general opinion of American women:

American women..
- highest maintenance (I've never heard of a foreign bride demanding her husband buy expensive house & cars)
- fattest in the world
- most likely to cheat
- highest rate of divorce (60% - US-US marriages; 20% - US-foreign marriages)
- largest payout in divorce court (you'll be ass-raped for everything you earned, plus most of what you will earn for years to come)
- bitchiest
- most likely to nag constantly
- most likely to believe in feminism and "equality"
- most likely to hate men
- spend least amount of time with her children
- worst at cooking and cleaning
- fucked & chucked by tons of guys before tricking you into marriage

Another opined:

American women love abortion, they love abusive men, they open their legs for any man, and yet they still want to be treated as a princess, their hatred for GOD and men is ridiculous. They are selfish parasites that waste oxygen, land, water, cause traffic congestion and cause all types of pollution, ever looked at a modern women????. These women are bacterial and filthy. Statistics from the department show that they cary the aids virus around. 40% of the this slut population carry aids.

Although I did discover that American women are suitable as "fuckdolls" for pump and dump "sportfucking."

How are these guys still single?

Moving on, Chuck Wendig of Terribleminds wrote a couple of tremendous posts on the subject and was spammed by haters who thought he was a woman. He got a couple of insults that I recognized from my stop at a post giving men a variety of really lame insults to use on women. "Did your cat die?" is a common one.

*** Side note: I did find some real wit in some articles written by guys who have some skill. One gave a witty comeback to the curvy women meme, "only dogs want bones," by saying "only alcoholics want six-packs." Another article was about how to get a women to break up with you. "If you smoke, do it all the time, chain-smoke until you puke. Constant sparking works best on California beach girls." (Remember what I said about not being politically correct?) ***

Moving on, this same blog gave biblical reasons women should not be allowed to vote. Yeah, I know. One of the commenters took it way farther:

"Strategy and long-term implication are vital. Women are one-move players. They have no grasp of mathematical game theory. Why do you think they suck at STEM courses?"

(Okay, I confess, I got my civil engineering degree in a Cracker Jack box.)

Moving away from the women haters in our tour of man-o-mania, we come to the PUAs. The pick-up artists. The guys who treat women as prey. A helpful article gives definitions to "common words used by men to describe women." I now know the difference between a shank and a skank. Fear me. Also, evidently you guys should beware of "thick" girls because they have short shelf lives.

To PUAs, all women fall somewhere on the 10-scale. In all fairness, no one is immune to this. Women objectify hot men all the time. However, I have yet to hear a woman say this about a good-looking guy:

"Hot women are good for eye candy and sex, but to date one is a prodigious task that is usually not worth the reward. She usually brings nothing to the table except her looks and those fade. Being deemed 'hot' she never had to cultivate personality or intelligence as everything has always been handed to her. She is often dull and vapid . . . Often times hot girls are deceptively hot. Meaning once the make-up is off and the body enhancing clothes are removed, she is actually a couple points lower."

With women (and I have dated my share of alphas, including my ex-husband who, in jeans, made habaneros seem like gummy bears,) it's more often, "Nice work Mother Nature."

PUAs also, in their "lay reports" occasionally use the modifiers "HB" for hot babe or hunny bunny and "SHB" super hot babe. The general consensus is that a 6 can be bangable, but only a minimum HB7 is worthy of pursuing for the swoop or the "fuck close."

The goal, the holy grail, part of what Elliot Rodger used to justify his murderous spree is the "dime piece."

"A beautiful, gorgeous, sexy woman, but not just looks, her personality as well. Along with the looks and personality, she is usually a virgin or had few sex partners."

When these incels (involuntarily celibates) put their focus on a single dime piece, it is called "oneitis" where the incels torture themselves that their chosen piece is shopping it all over town to the alphas and will only look at them when they are fucked-out skanks looking to hang a kid on a beta and ride him into the ground.

And they say romance is dead . . .

I'll close this out with a shard of a comment on a hard-core PUA-game site. A woman had surfaced and compared the readers of the site to Elliot Rodger. The response:

"The important difference between [readers] and Elliot Rodger, is we don't place any importance on your worthless fuckhole. It can be obtained for less than the price of a tank of gas. Bullets are expensive, you know. But pussy is worthless."

After something like that, I got nothing to add, except that #yesallwomen is real and true and to say that Elliot Rodger was just mentally ill, and he "killed more men than women" and blahblahblah and "hey, instead of you, let's talk about me, I'm a nice guy!" puts all the women you love at risk.

So, who wants to hug a puppy. I have plenty.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Diner Days #writerfuel

Today's Writer Fuel is a souvenir of my trip home from my vacation in Tennessee. After driving through a thundering rainstorm, I stopped at an out-of-the-way Denny's and had the most incredible stupid-good bacon-cheese-avocado omelet in the history of omelettes.

#writerfuel - you're doing it right

Mid-Century Night's Dream - It's the Little Things

My house is a faded gem built in 1950. Solid as a rock, just needs to be redecorated (okay, the bathroom need full vintage remodel, but that is a job for another day.)

Finding this little gem in the box I unpacked last night gave me a major happy.

Authentic mid-century modern color chips. What's not to love?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fiction in a Flash . . . This Week at Terribleminds

I decided to have some fun and enter the weekly writing challenge over at Chuck Wendig's one and only fountain of dubious writing advice, the veritable "Terribleminds." This week's prompt gives you 100 words. 

If, like me, you're a fan of flash fiction, go check out what will be a selection of some of the best. 

Last year I moved two miles. It took ten hours on the phone with billing and tech support to move my Internet service. It would have been easier to run two miles of Cat 5 cable from the old place. With that in mind, I present "Customer Service":

* * *

Every night at five, I shut down the phone company's customer service switchboard and smile as the entire on-hold queue blinks out. 

Fuck'em. They can call back tomorrow. 

A loud scrape, the Jeopardy theme song, and the noose yanked me out of my chair. I clawed at the knot, cinching it tighter. 

Her soft voice barely penetrated the pounding in my ears. 

"We value your time. As the hold time on this line could be longer than fifteen minutes, you may want to use our self-service option. Goodbye."

She pressed the gun into my hand and closed the door. 

* * *

Friday, May 23, 2014

On the Query-Go-Round #writerfuel

To everyone who is at any stage of the submission process . . .

1982 promotional mug for one of my favorite shows. I found it at the Treasure Hunt Flea Market in Iola, Kansas. #writerfuel

Ruined Treasures

When I go to a new town, I don't want to see the mall or the manufactured amusements. I want to see the old neighborhoods, the ruined places, and the faded treasures.

I own a micro (nano actually) press that puts out a monthly shoppers newspaper. Part of my glam job is to deliver the papers every month. Three days and 500 miles and ink-stained fingers. Overall, I enjoy it (okay, winter not so much.)

One thing I hunt are the ruined treasures hidden in the small towns on my route. I don't care about, in fact I mourn, the brand-new shiny pre-fab siding with pre-formed plastic picket fence you've put on your Victorian. Instead, I hunt for this:

On a side street in Butler, Missouri is a ruined building that evokes shades of New Orleans, even Paris. Its dirty gold stucco exterior is covered with gaudy lovely wrought iron lights and details.

Even thought it doesn't tone with the design aesthetic of my mid-century modern home, I covet this light fixture. Seriously covet.

Every window and door is lined with these wrought iron trims and grills.

Can you imagine your porch lined with these trims? Not my current house, but I see houses all over town that have installed weird period-incorrect porches, rails, and overhangs when this is what they need.

The first rule of Renovation Club:

Always talk about Renovation Club. In fact, do it until people run away screaming. Then chase them with your color swatches.

The second rule of Renovation Club:

Be true to the architecture of your home. 

You can't make a Victorian into a Craftsman, no matter how hard you try. And everything (like granite countertops) that you think is so chic, classic, and timeless? In a few years people will be looking at it and saying, "How utterly millenial. Get the sledgehammer."

Sorry, I digressed. I hate seeing beautiful vintage architectural detail kicked to the curb in the name of "modernization." I remember looking at a house with a plastic tub insert and the woman proudly proclaiming that they "ripped out that tacky clawfoot tub!"

Part of it is that I was a picker. My then-husband and I made a living recovering treasures like these and selling them to the highest bidder. I totally enjoy seeing a house or building restored with vintage and re-purposed architectural detail. I still do it as a sideline and hope to return to the trenches.

In the meantime, I hope all this vintage wrought iron is rescued from this hulk and given the home it deserves. They don't make it like this anymore.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wild Furniture Kingdom Presents A Rare Sight . . .

Today we have a rare sighting of a feral recliner in its natural habitat. Usually they don't come out to graze until dusk, and can create a significant traffic hazard. Drive carefully!

I'm still sorting hundreds of pics from the recovery of a crashed hard drive, so episodes of "Wild Furniture Kingdom" will continue to be sporadic. But, don't worry, I will continue to stalk feral furniture so you don't have to.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Card Game for a Lazy Saturday #writerfuel

Today is just lovely. One of those rare spring days that remind me why I live in the midwest. So, who is up for a round of The "Authors Card Game" from the 1960s and a cup of tea served in 1950s Marcrest/Stetson Blue Spruce china? After all, we are writers, there's no need to be barbarians. #writerfuel

So civilized . . .

Friday, May 16, 2014

Now That's Rock and Roll . . .

It started simply enough. My house has a huge laundry/utility room with a staircase at the far end that goes to the two dormer rooms on the second floor. The back wall is paneled with nice vintage paneling (the house is a faded mid-century gem) and I thought the wall and staircase would be fun to decorate with my fav music memorabilia, primarily album covers.

I have a decent collection of Springsteen vinyl, so that seemed like a good place to start, because, duh, Springsteen:

Quite decorative.

But, not even the Boss put out enough records to cover the wall and staircase, so, when I was out running my monthly delivery route of the little newspaper I so haughtily refer to as my publishing empire, I decided to hit the thrift shops and see if I could find any eclectic inexpensive vintage gold for my decorating scheme.

Okay, I should never be allowed in a thrift shop with a camera. I just really shouldn't.

Because, stuff like this happens:

I'm sure quite a few of those voices were inside his head.
And then this:

Happy little children, out in the corn . . . 
Then this guy wanted to thank me for touching something:

I declined.
Then, out of nowhere, I was attacked by the 1980s:

I think I met that middle guy on the bus not enough years ago.
I've also discovered I can find a "Criminal Minds" simile for just about everything I encounter. Now that I have that planted in your head:

You're Welcome.
By now, people are looking at me as I cackle my way through the record racks, so it's time to wrap it up. Did I find anything for my wall of awesome music? I DID! An album of old school talent. The kind of talent that shows up at your house, drinks your beer, and dares you to do something about it. Talent that already had a prison record by the time most rock and rollers trashed their first hotel room. I gladly gave up the 25 cents needed to bring this one home:

Kicking it old school. 
Assembling my personal utility room wall of fame will take a while and be a lot of fun. I know not everyone will agree with my choices. Okay, you can do your laundry elsewhere. But until then, me and my camera will be prowling the stacks, so you don't have to.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Serial Novel: Burning Kansas - Chapter 5

If it's around the 15th of the month, it's time for The Deadline to be published and another chapter in "Burning Kansas."

Tensions are running high on the Kansas-Missouri border. Bleeding Kansas is a war within a war and Caroline Cassett and Creighton Blaylock face a parent's greatest nightmare. Their children are missing. What they don't know is their world is about to explode.

Miss a chapter? Just click the "Burning Kansas" tag to read the entire story to date.

* * *

Burning Kansas

Chapter 5

            When Blaylock returned from the barn, Caroline was waiting on the porch. Her hair was wrapped in a tight bun under her wide-brimmed hat and King was at her side.

            "I wasn't sure which saddle you wanted, so I guessed," he said.

            Caroline smiled. "Creighton, the varnish is still fresh on that side saddle. That should have given you some indication of my preferences."

            "Well, it was an educated guess."

            She brushed past him and before he could offer a hand she mounted her horse. Blaylock had a brief glimpse of snow white petticoats and trim ankles in brown ankle boots.

            "Caroline, lead the way."

            I wish this ride was under better circumstances, he thought.

            The countryside, green and deceptively peaceful, swept past them as they trotted toward town. Blaylock couldn't help sneaking sidelong glances at Caroline as she sat relaxed and comfortable in her saddle. Once she caught him and flashed a small smile.

            The town came into view too soon. As the road grew rutted from the heavier traffic and Caroline exchanged nods with other riders, her posture stiffened and her smile disappeared.

            Instead of turning onto the main street, she led him to a small grove of trees and stopped. King rolled in the cool grass before seeking out the shade.  

            "Mr. Blaylock, we need to talk. I don't know how to say this."

            The formality surprised him. It wasn't the black ice he'd seen back at the cabin, but all the warmth was gone from her tone. If her cheeks hadn't been pink, he would have been concerned.

            "Mrs. Cassett," he said, matching her tone, "Please speak up.  We don't need to have any more secrets at this time."

            Well, maybe one.

            "Mr. Blaylock, this is no surprise, but the folks here in town don't have much use for Missouri in general and Bushwhackers in particular. You've been getting some dirty looks and we don't have time for trouble."

            I do believe I know what this is about, but out with it, Caroline.

            "Well ma'am, I can't do anything about my blood and I'm not ashamed of my home. What do you propose?"

            Her exasperated sigh told him he was likely right.

            She's going to have to ask.

            "Mr. Blaylock, you look every inch a soldier. You can't change the way you walk or sit a horse, but you can change some things about the way you look. People would take more kindly to you if you looked like a farmer or, better yet, a doctor or storekeeper."

            Creighton smiled, but said nothing.

            "It's the beard!"

            And now we have it.

            "Would you please consider trimming it?"

            His laughter raised more pink in her cheeks and a twitch to the corners of her mouth.

            "Caroline, I've known you for exactly three hours and you're already trying to change me. Hell, it took Lucinda a week."

            He stopped laughing when she wrapped her hands around the pommel and dropped her head.

            "Look at me," he said.

            She didn't move.

            He put an edge of authority in his voice. "Dammit, look at me."

            The glisten in her eyes tugged at his heart. This time his voice was gentle.

            "Caroline that's an excellent idea. Depending on where we are going, I can't promise we won't meet someone I've had a run in with before. So, some gussying up might keep them from recognizing me. I assume this town has a barber?"

            She nodded.

            "How about I drop you wherever you need to be and I'll go see if I can scrape some trouble off of me. Would that be alright with you?"

            He caught a hint of a smile before she whistled for King and got back on the road.

            She reined her horse in front of a fancy house that had seen better days. However, like Caroline's cabin, Blaylock caught hints of security among the casual disarray. Even though the paint was peeling, the shutters on the first floor looked stout and steel bars covered the side and upper floor windows.

            "Creighton, this is my destination. How about I meet you at the general store in an hour or so?"

            "Are you sure you don't want me to stay?"

            "I'm positive. I promise that if I confirm what I suspect, I will explain everything."

            He answered by swinging to the ground and holding out his hands to her. When she didn't move, he said, "Caroline, a gentleman helps a lady, even if she rides like a man, dismount. If you want folks around here to think I'm not a barbarian, you need to let me act the part. Now, get off your horse like the damn lady you are."

            Despite his cavalier words, the light touch of her hand flashed warmth down to his toes.  

            Twisting away from him, she straightened her hat and said, "Thank you, Mr. Blaylock."

            With a nod and tip of his hat, he was back in the saddle and headed down the shady street.

            To be continued . . .

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Garage Sale Days! #writerfuel

Life in a small town has certain benefits that a city just can't replicate. One of them is the twice-annual town-wide garage sale day.

Plans, maps, and routes are discussed over breakfast at the local diner and McD's. In small towns, garage sales are part community festival and part bloodsport.

I am a semi-retired/semi-pro picker. For years my ex-husband and I made a living by going through your scrounge and reselling it. These days I still hunt those perfect items for resale, but mostly I am looking for trinkets for my house (I collect vintage S&P sets, teacups, and melmac.)

The day dawned bright and cool and the number of sales was the best in years. Over the next three hours I knocked the stuffings out of a $10 bill (and a gallon of gas) and got 10X that amount back in fun and therapy.

The take?

Candles, bath mat, shorts, vintage National Cash Register coin sorter, "Barbie Sings" 45s, vintage dimestore (Kreiss? hmmm . . . .) comic skunk figurine, bag of vintage sheer curtains (I am doing a mid-century remodel on my house,) Japanese blue luster teacup set, mod wall sconces, and 13 Lee Child/Jack Reacher novels (yup . . . 13)

Not a bad day all around to fill the #writerfuel tanks.

If anybody needs me . . . #writerfuel
The cup is a lovely piece that I found on the grungy table at a tumbledown bungalow in the old neighborhood. Treasures abound if you are willing to look for them. I wonder what I missed there. A closer look:

Vintage Japan blue/peach luster hand-painted teacup and saucer

Yeah, I know that cities have garages sales as well. But there is just something about a small town when the old boxes and bins are opened and the dust blown off. And I didn't even go back out for bag-for-a-buck.