December 19, 2013

Right Past Joyed Into Overjoyed

When the name Ephemily was born, it came from a few intangibles.  Ephemeral was the biggest "root" concept.  The world and the people in it float in and out of my daily life like feathers on the wind, or leaves in a stream.  I could spend hours contemplating why that is,and have spent more than one golden afternoon on the subject, tumbling over thoughts in my own head.  That's not my purpose today.  Today I celebrate what happens when that feather comes back down to earth and lands in my hat.

This month has been one of many changes.  I could focus on the scramble to make ends meet after losing a source of income for the foreseeable future, but money doesn't mean happiness.  I'd rather focus on feelings, making memories, and stuff that lasts long after the bills are paid and the waitress has been properly tipped.

December 16, 2013

Fucker, BeWare

I've seen this story about being childless floating all over social media recently, and I like the story.  I kinda have to, right?  I mean, this is a thing and all.

December 8, 2013

Song for Spaghetti after 35

♫ ♪
Hello heartburn my old friend.
You've come to torture me again.
With the burning slowly creeping
Scalds my gullet while I'm digesting
And the pain that was burning in my gut
Snuggled in
Banished soon, by pepto.

~Song for Spaghetti after 35

December 5, 2013

Cumming of Age Before I Did

I had been in college a whole 7 weeks before I turned 18, but was perhaps the greatest sense of forever I’d yet experienced.  I was half a country away in a small private school in a tiny Pennsylvania town.  A friend would later describe that part of the county as if you were living in a postcard.  On my birthday, my new friends and I walked across town to the local supermarket to pick up a few things.  On the way out, we triumphantly marched up to the lottery ticket vending machine and I threw away my first dollar bill on state sponsored suckerism.  I didn't win anything, and it's not like security was tight, but it felt like a milestone anyway.  Having found new friends so quickly and being able to stretch my wings away from the oversight of my parents was the best gift I thought I could get.  In a way, I was wrong.  I got this unbelievable story to tell.

November 16, 2013

Thankful November Day 16 - Precious Moments

Day 16. Today I'm thankful for precious moments. Not the doe eyed dolls, but the roses along the path of life that smell so sweet.

November 15, 2013

Thankful November Day 15 - Outta My Head

Day 15. Today I'm thankful to the people who get me out of my own head, either with kind words or linguistic crowbar. Oh, and the occasional inspirational link doesn't hurt.

November 14, 2013

Thankful November Day 14 - First World Problems

Day 14. Today I am thankful that, in my world, I don't have to worry about having acid thrown on me to avenge some kind of family honor, needing someone to accompany me should I want to leave the house, and the freedom to drive and vote.

It's easy to lose sight of these things and focus on the small wrongs like your restaurant serving the "wrong" kind of soda, or the person who crept over into your lane so far that you had to lean on the horn. I don't want to forget all that I do have in light of all that I "don't". I'm grateful to have first world problems.

November 13, 2013

Thankful November Day 13 - Yogi

Day 13. Today I am thankful to all of those who have helped me find my voice. Whether I was told that if they didn't think I was so amazing, they'd throttle me right then and there, or to stop apologizing so much, these were things I needed hear. For my yogis, I am grateful.

November 12, 2013

Thankful November Day 12 - One Off

Day 12. Today I'm thankful for having been a "one-off" for reasons beyond my control from a very early age. I was probably the only adopted kid and I know I was the only Jew in my elementary school. Being different from a young age made it easier to shrug off convention and follow my own path as an adult, and for that I'm thankful.

November 11, 2013

The Stroke of Douche O'Clock

Thankful November has me traveling back in time a bit.  It’s true, the saying that you remember events more than you do material things.  Generally, I think that statement is supposed to convince you to take that vacation over buying a new 3D tv.  You know, make good memories.  That’s not always the case though.  How often have we all done something, or had something happen that we’ve played back over and over in our heads?  This is one such memory.

I was a freshman in college at a school literally halfway across the country.  The love of my short life had just dumped me, fearing that the distance was going to be too great.  (I can’t blame him.  It was the right thing to do, even though I was devastated at the time.)  I was far from home, and lost in my new environment.  If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that I was also slipping into my first bout of real, clinical depression.  

Thankful November Day 10 - College Dichotomy

Day 10. I am thankful for my college experience. Not so much the lesbian experimentation and waking up in someone else's bathtub that others may hazily remember. I'm talking about how I spent my first two years at Dickinson, but graduated from UNL.

My two years at Dickinson taught me that I could hold my own academically. I was challenged and flourished in an accelerated environment. I met wonderful people, some of whom I credit to my self development to this day. When depression drove me to contemplate self harm in my sophomore year, I decided maybe being closer to home and all things familiar might help. So, I transferred to UNL.

My education in Lincoln was completely different, but just as important. Where in Pennsylvania I was isolated to nurture my mind, in Lincoln I was able to learn about the world. I worked 30+ hours a week, lived on my own off campus, and had a live in boyfriend. The academic requirements were undoubtedly less stringent than Dickinson, but the life lessons were no less valuable. If a college education is supposed to be well rounded, then I think I was lucky enough to have gotten one.

November 9, 2013

Thankful November Day 9 - Mediocrity

Day 9: Today I am thankful to neither be the smartest, or the least intelligent in my social circle. Being somewhere along the hump of the bell curve allows me to both continue learning from my peers and to fulfill my need to feel useful when offering perspective to those who ask for it. I also hope I never find myself convinced that I am the greatest or the best at anything because I will have missed the mark.

There are endless lessons to learn and as many different truths as there are stars in the sky. To lose track of that is to lie to oneself. I am grateful for this strange sort of mediocrity to allow me to continue to evolve and grow.

November 8, 2013

Thankful November Day 8 - Headache Toolkit

In honor of fall, aka pressure change season, day 8 of Thankful November is dedicated to my headache toolkit.  My occasional world of hurt would be ever so much larger without blackout curtains, ice packs, pressure point therapy devices, and prescription medications to chase away the bees in my head and the lightening in my nerves. I am thankful for the research into what causes and how to relieve migraine pain.  Without it, I never would have discovered some of my trigger foods and activities in my early 20s.  Without my TENS unit, I wouldn't be able to stave off an attack until I could devote the time to suffering through it.  While these aren't bulletproof methods, they make life a little easier to live, and for that I'm grateful.

November 7, 2013

Thankful November Day 7 - Nature v Nurture

You're going to want to write this down and point to it often in the future. Today, day seven, I'm thankful to find myself emulating my parents.

I know. I know. Those of you who have seen me stomp around the room with steam coming out of my ears, muttering under my breath, and yelling the occasional "Oooooh! That WOMAN!" might find this hard to believe.  Certainly, sometimes her execution might have missed the mark and left us with bloody psyches after a row.  That doesn't change the fact that I'm glad to have been exposed to my mom's spitfire personality and junk yard dog, no nonsense, pull up your panties and get it done attitude. Over time, I've grown to be more and more like that myself.

I'm also thankful for my dad's middle of the road congeniality. As a kid, we joked about calling him Mister Maybe. He's played mediator between the two forces of nature under his umbrella for more than three and a half decades. I don't envy his job, but I appreciate it all the same. I'm glad to see some of his Switzerland-like attitudes incorporated into my own personality.

First, do no harm. Second, do not cross the line first. Third, should your own borders be breached, return fire with tactical precision and anime-esque firepower. That's the combination that Nurture has given me. Thank you, mom and dad.

November 6, 2013

Thankful November Day 6 - Modern Medicine

Day six. I am thankful for modern medicine. Both beautiful and brutal, without it I could not be a functioning member of society.

November 5, 2013

Thankful November Day 5 - Security

Day five. Today I am thankful for security. Security in my home, in my livelihood, and in who I am. Because I can and do feel safe, it allows me the opportunity to chase rainbows (but not waterfalls) and dream big. 

November 4, 2013

Thankful November Day 4 - Second Chances

Day 4 - Today I'm thankful for second chances and the option to learn lessons the hard way. Part of life is being able to grow with experiences. Some of us learn faster than others. For those of us who need a brick to the noggin in order to get the point, I'm grateful that mulligans exist.

November 3, 2013

Thankful November Day 3 - Domesticated Animals

Today, I am thankful for domesticated animals. I have been lucky to have shared my life, my home, and my heart with many animals over the years. From them I have learned patience, responsibility, and dependability. They have shown me what unconditional love is, and taught me that sometimes, you *do* have to touch the icky stuff, and if I want something, it's ok to ask for it. I've been reminded how to play what it feels like when someone is glad to see you, what it's like to have to think about another creature over yourself, and that sometimes, all you need is a good butt snuggle or head boop to make the world right again.

November 2, 2013

Thankful November Day 2 - Curiosity

During my leisure hours, I like to spend my time watching some sort of documentary or trying to find which book in which I left my nose.  I am not capable of much of what I learn about, but I'm thankful to the knowledge, even if it's passive.  I'm thankful for curiosity and how it has shaped mankind into who we are today.

November 1, 2013

Thankful November - Intro

My favorite social media site today reminded me that it's both No Shave November, and Thankful November.  While I might be a little absent minded about shaving at times, I don't think I want to earn Yeti Legs as a nickname.  I won't be participating in NSN.  However, I think coming up with a daily reason to be thankful is a fantastic idea, and one I'd like to attempt.

October 28, 2013

Playdate Denied

Ladies and gents, I would like to introduce you to Les Raub.  Not many people make my list of truly creepy people, but this guy is in a place of honor among those few.  He's earned that place of dishonor but just not getting what it means to be rejected.  No means no!  Don't make me tell it to you with a restraining order.

October 24, 2013

Pre-Birthday Wishes

I'm in a ridiculously warm fuzzy mood tonight, and because of that, I wanted to completely embarrass myself all over the internet.

October 22, 2013

Tastebud Massacre - Spring Break Saison

Author's note:  I have been holding on to this for a while, not sure if I should publish it or not.  I finally decided it was worth it to share for a good giggle.  We're lucky (heh) to have this brewery in our backyards, and hopefully they can take a little ribbing from a beer fan.

Dear Lucky Bucket Brewing Company,

I love you, man.  I do.  I think the fact that you’re practically in my backyard is awesome.  You done made me proud on more than one occasion.  But, we have got to talk about this seasonal brew of yours.  The Spring Break Belgian style saison was more of a letdown than the IRS declining to investigate Amy’s Baking Company for tax fraud.  

October 11, 2013

National Coming Out Day 2013

October 11th is National Coming Out Day.  I know I've said it before, but I'm gonna say it again because it is important for people to feel safe.  I am an ally.  I don't give a rat's ass if you're straight, gay, lesbian, bi-curious, asexual, pansexual, genderqueer, lactose intolerant, Capricorn, or even Republican.
The exception to the above being if you're a girl who kisses girls only when booze is involved.  That's a cry for attention and bugs the shit outta me.  If you're gonna kiss a girl, do it because you fancy her, not because you want the star quarterback to pop a boner for you.  It cheapens the emotions and sincerity of those who truly are attracted to their own gender.  Knock it off.  Find a different way to entice Johnny Bulge.

Those of you who find yourself somewhere other than straightsville, you have nothing to fear from me regarding accepting you for who you are.  I value a person more for their substance than what gets them all tingly in the bits. 

My name is Ephemily, and I am an ally.

October 4, 2013

Kitchen Debutante

It’s not really a secret, but my social life hasn’t been much more than my enjoying my alone time recently.  I've embraced my inner introvert and have been getting lost in my own thoughts and manufacturing my own entertainment.  It’s not a bad way to live, but after a while not only do people start to take it personally, but eventually the hunger for human contact drives me to stick my head above water.

Instead of above water, I guess you could say I’m sticking mine into a pot.  A pot of spaghetti sauce.  Even in my most hermity moments, I do still enjoy company.  So, this Sunday, as a coming out party of sorts, I’m having my spoken word group over for dinner.  It’s Friday, and I’m getting started early.  I don’t want to have to do all my cooking on the day of, so tonight, I’m making the pasta sauce.  It’s not entirely from scratch like the last batch I made.  So, instead of blanching tomatoes and peeling them over the sink, I opted for canned ‘maters.  

First of all, when my neighbor returned my can opener and told me that it sucks, she was wrong.  It’s not a can opener, it’s a failed steampunk project.  Someone glued some gears on a couple of plastic sticks and gave up on making anything costumey or useful out of it.  So, I got to open two 28 oz cans of tomatoes with one clench at a time.  If my hands were my pelvic floor muscles, I could blow smoke rings with my vagina about now.

After plopping the tomoatos into a large stock pot and wiping the splatter off my shirt, it was time to mince up the add ins.  I opted for some fresh garlic, baby portabella caps, and a small onion.  The mushrooms surrendered to my knife without much fight, and they went into the prep bowl.  Garlic is one of my favorite spices to work with, mostly because peeling them can involve smacking the shit out of them with the flat edge of a knife to get the paper off of them.  After a shit day at work, I often have fresh made garlic anything.  Call it food therapy, if you will.

The onion presented a different challenge.  Not that chopping one is hard, just that I hate the burning sensation in my eyes that a fresh white onion causes.  Being fresh out of gum to chew to see if that makes a difference, I had to take a different tack.  

I’ve been mulling over making up a steampunk outfit for some time.  I’m suffering from creativity block when it comes to mechanizing my look.  But, that didn’t stop me from buying the requisite goggles.  They were conveniently located on my bookshelf for absolutely no logical reason.  Suddenly, they became a kitchen utensil.  I give you, cooking with Ephemily, the cover of any future cookbook I decide to make:

I wouldn't recommend using goggles for chopping more than one or two small onions, but in all, it worked pretty well.  I could get through the one I needed to with minimal stinging, and a heck of a selfie to go with it.  

October 3, 2013

Wall of Shame - I Got One Word For Ya

Easy is not the same thing as enthusiastic.  Though, I worry that the syllables in the second description might be beyond his comprehension.

Wall of Shame - Denied Hard

I'm pretty sure there's a one strike rule out there and this guy just violated it.  Hard.

Wall of Shame - Fedora Hard-On

I still maintain an OKCupid account because I like to talk to people, and I'm also a moderator.  It's my dose of schadenfreude when I need it.  I've been getting more and more messages that are really. . . Well, you'll just have to take a look.  I'll be posting them for their entertainment value as I get them.  Enjoy.

September 26, 2013

Three Circuses Worth Of Crazy

Picking up where I left off last time, there's still chaos in my world.  But, it seems like it's at least coalescing into the familiar and typical kind that surrounds me like a dyson sphere.  If we were in a movie, the screen would dissolve into a flashback where you'd see me moping around in a muu-muu, knowing something was wrong in my head, but not having whatever it took to do anything about it.  Everything in front of me looked like Everest, and my sherpa is 90, asthmatic, and I've got to carry his gear.  This is why.  I'm employed.  Heck, I'm doing quite well for myself.  I've got insurance, so I'm not going to lose all my pennies should I get hit by a bus.  I'm doing ok.  Until I have to do more than live paycheck to paycheck.  Which, I've had some emergencies, hastily planned big expenses, and some genuinely splurgey moments in the last 2 years.  My savings are not fat.  My medical flexpay account is depleted, and has been since July.  And here I am headed up the incline of euthanasia mountain in my mental theme park of horrors.  I’m not quite working poor, but I’m certainly working on eggshells.  
When my episodes of my flavor of crazy gets to be a little more than I can handle with the medication I'm on at the time, all it usually takes is a couple of visits to the doctor and maybe a tweak to the dosage.  Problem is, each time I walk into the office to talk to a doc it costs me roughly $150.  I could swing that every couple of months, but not every few weeks.  Not to mention I don't know what any new medications will cost.  I'm lucky that Zoloft works for me because it has a generic I can get for $7 a month.  So, I'm crazy on  budget.  Woo.

July 30, 2013

Judas Converted

I’ve been sweating the idea that I’ve become every-so much less Ephemily-like recently.  And then it hit me.  No, I haven’t.  Ephemily, from the root Ephemeral.  Transient, impermanent.  This is yet another ebb.  One not to fear, fight, or regret.  Though, a small amount of wistfulness for the place I’d rather be doesn’t seem like asking too much.  The moment is now, after all.

I’ve long felt like a grand tree, stretching towards the sky, sheltering those below in a confidant shadow.  While my arms stretch far to touch many, my roots wither in the ground as if salted before they had the chance seek out water and nutrients.  

June 20, 2013

The Unspoken Commandment(s)

It was the solstice.  Not that the day had any special meaning to me, but I do remember that my facebook feed was alive with well wishes and celebrations of the longest day of the year.  That was the day I got the letter.  

It arrived in a powder blue envelope, smelling of old books, fresh currency, and rose water.  Perhaps it was all in my mind, but it felt heavier than a normal first class envelope.  (Later, I would tell myself it was the weight of the expected guilt associated with it.)  The return address was somewhere in New York, handwritten in beautiful, near calligraphy.  And not some font that’s supposed to fool a person into thinking it was hand prepared.  I mean, you could make out the pen strokes on the letters.  

June 17, 2013

2:00 AM Christmas Carol Parody

I'm finishing up my first on call rotation, and at least I can say that the building is still standing.  Thankfully,  I got a 45 minute or so nap in this afternoon since the calls started in for Monday in India a little after midnight.

It's late, and I'm awake enough to not be able to fall right back to sleep, but loopy enough to come up with either works of creative genius, or outright drivel.  I put pen to literal paper in an attempt to find out which I would get.  I came up with a rework of the Christmas carol, the 12 days of Christmas.  Now, I know that there were only 7 days in my rotation, but it was 2:00 AM and I wasn't going for literal.

The 12 days of On Call.
For the sake of brevity, I'm going to give you just the final verse, so you get all the goodness is on concentrated package.

On the 12th day of On Call, the cell phone gave to me:
12 weeks till next time,
11 different passwords,
10 Punjabi accents,
9 midnight phone calls,
8 crashing servers,
7 locked accounts,
6 kinds of malware
5 search donkeys,
4 windows bluescreens,
3 adobe updates,
2 printers jamming,
and a user who can't get logged in.

I want to sing this around the office Christmas party this year.  Wanna bet how many verses it will take before I don't get any more eggnog?

(Just be glad I didn't choose this one to have an audio companion.  I can't sing for shit.)

June 16, 2013

Good Gravy, and Good Night.

For those of you who follow my unintentional kitchen antics, here's another for your scrapbooks.

June 15, 2013

A Short PSA

I don't have it in me for a post of any respectable length today, but I did want to share this.  You know how I've always said that it's not the form, it's the function when it comes to being comfortable in your own skin?  I wanted to put my money where my mouth is.

June 5, 2013

Suicide by Credit

Credit just may bury me yet.  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.  I don’t think it would be unfair to say that if it hasn't derailed my life, it is pretty darn close.  Now before you think I’m one bill collector’s call away from grabbing my torch and pitchfork and storming Visa’s headquarters, let me clarify.  By credit, I don’t only mean money.  I mean anything of the “pay for it later” variety.

June 4, 2013

Dearest Deffenbaugh - A Letter

I have two motivations for writing this.  First, it occurs to me that the fine people who collect my trash on Tuesday mornings must occasionally scratch their head about what they find.  Second, I've talked about publishing a short anthology of both fiction and non-fiction. I wanted to let you, dear readers, know that I haven't given up writing.  I've been busy trying to come up with content for you.  Here's a taste of what I mean to include:

To my caring friends and neighbors at the City Sanitation Department,

April 23, 2013

Blog Post Creation in a Nutshell

How to write a blog post/short story

It's not easy to just dash off a blog post.  There's a real, well defined process to what it takes to go from "idea scribbled on a cocktail napkin" to published.  Everybody has a different system.  Here's mine.

April 17, 2013

My Coffee Smells Like Beauty

Yesterday, a couple of neighborhood facts walked up to me and sucker punched me right in the feels.  My "feels" are buried under so much scar tissue and thickened skin, I didn't expect it to hurt.  Boy, I was wrong.  The perp of this heinous act of wanton emotional endangerment and assault with a dangerous idea was Dove.  You know, the people that make the soap and beauty products.  
Since September of 2004, they've been running what they call The Campaign For Real Beauty.  At the time, only 2% of women described themselves as beautiful, and Dove was afraid that what we stressed as such was becoming "limiting and unattainable".  They've made a real effort to change the idea of what beauty is.  I want very badly to think they're succeeding.  Their most recent campaign was enough to convince me that it seems to only be working on a superficial level.  It would seem that the idea of beauty is being more widely accepted in other people.  But, when it comes to embracing our own beauty, we still doubt ourselves.  Apparently, Dove wanted to do something about that too.  That's why they came up with their commercial entitled "Sketches".  It was a real moment to wake up and smell the coffee.  And the coffee smelled like beauty.

April 14, 2013

Facts About Juicing

I’d been looking at getting a blender for a while, and I finally got the spare change to get one last month.  I’d been eyeballing a heavy duty one, but settled on getting a medium duty blender/food processor combo and a separate juicer for about $20 less than the cost of the high end blender.  

Not long after I made the purchase, it was Bountiful Baskets day.  If you haven’t heard about them, look them up.  It’s a food co-op, run by volunteers, that provides you with affordable, high quality produce.  It wasn’t long after I got my basket home that I started shoving sliced bits of fruits and vegetables through the feeder and laughing maniacally.  

As with any new experience, there have been a few curveballs.  I wanted to share a few of them with you, just in case you’re in the market to get your own shiny, new juicer.

April 11, 2013


It's been a few days since I've been able to spend much time with Seamus, the stray who's adopted the humans in my building.  It's unseasonably cold and snowy tonight, so I took a towel and a heavy coat with me when I went out back to see if he was around and wanted some pets.  I called his name as I looked around for him, hoping he'd be close enough to hear me.  He was.  I'd caught him napping in the garage rafters, trying to avoid the wind.  He hopped down and came running to me, talking the whole way.  I swear, to listen to him, you'd think he's scolding you.  "Where have you been?  Do you know what time it is?  Dinner was supposed to be hours ago.".

April 6, 2013

Sensorship [sic]

It's Saturday, and I spent the afternoon running errands with my friend and neighbor, Ms Jenny Tanner.  (Names changed to protect the. . . damn.)  Being perhaps the warmest day we've had yet this spring, we did most of the running around with the music up and the windows down.

Now, my car has a really fancy feature where if you push the lever to roll the windows up, it will do it with one touch.  You don't have to hold it.  If it senses an obstacle in the way, it will stop and reverse back to open.  That's a safety feature to prevent injuries.  It's a handy feature when you're driving a manual and you want to roll up your window in a hurry, but it's a pain in the ass when the sensor loses its damn mind and forgets where the end of the track is.  It tends to result in the window going up, panicking, and retreating about half way back down, over and over and over.  

April 5, 2013

Plastered of Poop-us

Ladies, turns out the looks you're giving me are as dirty as the towels you want me to "prep" for the next guy.  It's true.  We have these touchless paper towel dispensers in the bathrooms at work, and I generally opt not to advance the next allotment when I'm done with my own.  Why, you ask?  What's the harm?  Well, nothing, really.  Nothing other than a little poop on your hands.

March 28, 2013

Biological Scavenger Hunt

A friend of mine posted an image today asking to help an elderly woman find her grandson, who was adopted.  It got me thinking, do you think it's possible to crowd-source this sort of thing?  And then slowly, I started to think it can't hurt to try.  I have always known I was adopted.  I've also never held out hope to learn much about my roots, so it's never been important for me to find them.  I'm also a worry wort, so to know any potential hereditary conditions also is a sort of boon.  Less for me to worry about in advance.  But, the older I get, the more I love hearing stories others collect throughout their lives.  There's a part of me that wants to hear my biological mom's, and anybody else's that I can find along the way.  So, here goes.

March 27, 2013

Do I Look Like A Goat?

Do I look like a goat?  Because I sure as hell feed the trolls.  It's been a week of weirdos, and I'm beginning to wonder what phase of the moon we're in, or what Mercury is up to.

Some of you know I keep a profile on OKCupid to have new conversations with people I wouldn't have met otherwise.  I like people, and I get to talk to all sorts this way.  I say VERY CLEARLY that I'm not looking for a romantic encounter.  I also make sure to say that in any messaging that happens.  That doesn't stop everyone from trying though.  I give you the latest example:

The Scuttlebutt in the SCOTUS

You wanna talk preserving the meaning of marriage and denying two people who love each other the right to commit to each other legally and publicly, I would like you to consider the following:

  • Kim Kardashian was married for 72 days.
  • Britney Spears was married for 55 hours
  • Larry King has been married 8 times.
  • Newt Gingrich has been married three times and participated in extra marital sex with several mistresses.
  • Rush Limbaugh got into a bit of a jam when he was detained after having an unmarked bottle of Viagra (for which he did not have a prescription) after returning home from known sex tourism hot spot, the Dominican Republic in 2006.
I'll see your DOMA and raise you a Cougar in Training.  

March 22, 2013


I had an interesting few hours yesterday that I wanted to share.  I'm going to give you a play by play along with my own hindsight commentary.  The short version of the story is I had a brush with what felt like a potential creeper on 4square.  

If you're unfamiliar with the service, 4Square is a social network for social butterflies.  It's an app for your smart phone or other mobile device that allows a member to "check in" to various places.  It's very much like Facebook Places, only with its own separate app.  If you check in the most, you're the mayor.  You can have your title stolen, and you can use it to see what your friends are up to, or find places to go in your location.  It can have a dark side, however.  It's easy to see where it might be used to stalk a person, or use their information for other nefarious purposes, like robbing your house while you're away.  I've generally had pretty good luck with the service and enjoy it as the game that it is.  Some people, however, don't quite have the same playbook I do.  This is the story of one such user.

February 28, 2013

Heartfelt Thank You to Walgreens

Dear Walgreens,

I wanted to tell you about the outstanding service I recieved with my last contact with one of your pharmacies.  Six days ago, I had a prescription for a new antidepressant called in to the location where I generally get all of my presciptions filled.  I got an email saying that the pharmacy had gotten my medication, but my insurance company wasn’t going to cover it.  I could pick it up, but would be responsible for the retail price.  I called to follow up and find out if there was something I needed to do.  It was late in the day on Friday, and as it would happen, my insurance company required a letter from my doctor as to why I was changing medications.  When I asked what I could do, I was told that I’d have to wait for the doctor and insurance companies to complete their parts.  In effect, my hands were tied.

February 26, 2013

A Matter of Respect

For me, gift giving is about wanting to, not having to.  I'd rather know someone spent their time choosing something perfect, than know how much of their paycheck they parted with.  When I heard about my friend Maverick celebrating his 6th birthday of sorts, I knew exactly what to get him, my public admiration.

February 25, 2013

Lost Between the Wallet and the Office Visit

Most of the time, I'm quite happy to be in a job that offers me insurance.  It's not perfect, but it is appreciated.  I mean, I won't have to worry too much about being able to pay for my care if I survive getting hit by a bus.  However, I do still have a beef that I think needs to be discussed.

February 7, 2013

Practicing For The Script of "Taken 3"

A fellow Samurai posted the following on our internal message board the other day, wanting to know if any of us would be interested in helping out.  Knowing we're a bunch of creatives, and many of of fancy ourselves writers, his odds were good that someone would bite. 

" I am getting close to the number I need, just a few more pleeeaaasssee ? For this project, I will need a short letter from each person. I would like it to be threatening in nature, as this is a forensic questioned documents research project. Please send me a threatening letter, no less than 100 words long, directed at anything from an organization to the Lego you stepped on this morning to myself. The content WILL NOT be included in the research itself (unless I ask your permission further down the road), so do not hesitate to say something that would otherwise feel incriminating or inappropriate. This can be something you feel strongly about or a made-up offense, as long as it conveys some sort of dissatisfaction and need for revenge or vengeance. Fowl [sic] language is fine and I will not be researching the meaning or content of this letter, only the physical characteristics of the text (lexical density, to be exact). I will need 40 participants, so if you know anyone else that would be willing to participate, that would be great. Thanks!"

February 6, 2013

It's isn't the size of your words, it's how you use them

When I was using OKCupid as a tool to meet people that I might have a romantic interest in, I included a bit in my profile about the criteria required if you wanted to talk to me.  It was as follows:

You should message me if you're interested. Easy as that. Thing is, all I ask is that you have the ability to use whole words, and have something to say other than "Hey gurl, ur prety. Wanna bang?"

I wasn’t too particular, but I did want someone who could express themselves with words.  Not just any kind of words either.  I wanted whole words.  Text speak drives me crazy, and not in the good, squirmy way either.  I may or may not still have some of the love letters I’ve been written over the years, or that I have written to others.  If I want to feel the emotions I did at the time when they were written, I’ll break them out and read them.  There’s a reason that the bodice ripper genre exists.  Generally speaking, women need their lovers to be in their heads, they need their brains to be engaged.  

February 5, 2013

500 Miles of Porn - Vol. 1

One of the founding members of the Samurai of Spoken Word pretty much talked me in to starting a blog a little over two years ago.  Then, the day after Christmas last year, he dragged me kicking, screaming, and blushing up on stage to tell the stories behind the post.  In that span of time, he’s thrown topics seeds my way in case I was short on inspiration.  One of the seeds that has been germinating all this time was to write a review of the adult novelty store offerings in a 500 mile distance east and west of Omaha on Interstate 80.  I’ve sat on the idea through countless shows, several fizzled relationships, and many conversations about how I’m going to eventually do it.  I’m happy to announce that it’s not just talk.  Today’s offering will be the stores in the Omaha metro area.  Due to the length, I’ll have to break this up into multiple posts.  So, without further ado, 500 miles of porn begins.   

February 3, 2013

The Popcorn Chronicles

When I first moved in to my apartment, it was a D-U-M-P.  

I had just begun to settle in to my rented room with my former roommate when we realized that our styles of crazy were incompatible.  I’m a clutter bug and he’s an overbearing control freak.  When asked if he wanted me to move out because of our differences, he said that he didn’t think it would work long term for me to live there.   When I said that I understood that, but did that mean he wanted me out sooner rather than later, I got the same answer.  So much for being the guy who can “tell it like it is”.  In the interest of avoiding playing games and having to address passive-aggressive emails about how he couldn’t believe I’d pack up his snack food with the rest of my kitchen stuff (when in fact I’d just taken the bag into another room and forgotten to put it back.  No better than what I was accused of, but if you’re gonna lay blame, lay the right blame.), I set about looking for a place the very next day.    

February 1, 2013

Ownership of Words

If I had one wish, or one bit of advice to simplify your life, it would be to own the words that come out of your mouth.  One of my pastimes seems to be a kind of people watching.  One of the patterns I've noticed is a reluctance to stand by a statement or to acknowledge fault.  The most recent dustup in the news that caught my attention was the story of the snarky pastor who refused to tip on their portion of the bill for a table of 20 people.  Being such a large group, the 18% gratuity was automatically calculated by the POS system.  In return, this godly creature wrote a sarcastic note to the effect of "I give god 10%, what makes you think you deserve 18%?".

A fellow waitress (Not the one who waited on the party of 20) thought it was ridiculous and posted it on reddit for others to enjoy as humorous.  The image went unexpectedly viral, getting hundreds of thousands of views.  This fine, upstanding member of the church of the poisoned pen later called the restaurant, demanding that all involved be fired for the "leak".  Her note had reached the ears and eyes of her contemporaries and was besmirching her reputation.  

The Valentine In Black

As I was soaking in the tub this morning, dreading the walk through the snow to work, the radio was beating me about the head and neck with the fact that Valentine's Day is just around the corner.  In years past, this made made me snarl out of spite because of my failed attempts at dating.  Heck, a couple of years ago, I had the pry the fact that yet another man I'd been seeing had lost interest in me out of him mere days before the holiday.  Not that I was expecting to be showered with perfume and roses, but it seemed rather cowardly to go to ground in an effort to avoid the problem.  For that reason, I was happy to remove any vestigial obligation he felt towards me by burrowing in after him for the truth.  

January 30, 2013

Overheard on a Recorded Line

Something I've learned since starting my new job in September is that if a help line's phone greeting tells you that your call may be recorded for quality control purposes, that generally means that all calls are being taped.  It's both for QC and CYA purposes.  However, this thought seems to be lost on some people, and we get to hear some of the most interesting side conversations sometimes.

January 25, 2013

How To Piss Off A CSR

It’s Friday, and I’ve had a couple callers that did their level best to get under my skin today.  Rather than get my sweet sweet revenge in the way I wanted to.  (You know, like by using my mouth as a firehose to spray them with obscenities and question whether their parents were also cousins.)  I decided to type loudly and pound out a list of ways to piss off a CSR.  If it’s your purpose in life to be the bamboo under a phone jockey’s fingernails but you just don’t know how to manage it, here’s your starter lesson.

January 24, 2013

DIY Cards Against Humanity

The Samurai of Spoken Word have an event coming up where we're going to be playing a party game called Cards Against Humanity team trivia style.  I'm excited for several reasons.  First of all, it's going to be a hoot juut because the game rocks.  (It's best described as Apples to Apples for people going to hell.)  But, I also get to use my own home made deck AND be the MC for the night.  I can't wait for the 28th.

January 23, 2013

On Losing Daphne

My mom had to make the painful decision to have her dog, Daphne, put to sleep yesterday.  During the course of a discussion about both Daph's life, and my mom's fondness for spoiling her animals, I remembered the following story.  I wanted to write it down before I forgot about it and it was lost to the ages.

January 16, 2013

Hey, You! With the Name on Your Shirt!

In 2012, Americans on the internet went apeshit about armies of Invisible Children.  In 2013, we have continued to ignore the invisible adults.  Sure, I could turn this into a diatribe about homelessness or some other social issue, but I’m a vain, grumpy person at times.  This is gonna partially be about me, or at least, partially about my industry.  You see, depending on who you talk to, working in call center makes you a member of “The Help” social class.  Other members include, but are not limited to the cleaning crew, the lady in the hairnet that makes your sandwiches at the sub shop, the guy who plunges the clogged toilets at work, and the FedEx guy.  On the hierarchy, I believe that the d-bags among us put this class somewhere between dog shit on your new Manolo Blahniks, and severe burn victims.  It’s an unfortunate existence.

January 4, 2013

Calling Bullshit On "Too Old To Work a Computer"

If there’s one assumption in the  help desk environment that’s as close to universally accepted as you can get, it’s that the younger a person is, the more adept they will be at picking up new technology.  I’ve worked with plenty of users who seem to fit the stereotype for their age group.  I’ve talked with young people who are fresh out of college, and all you have to do is tell them in IT lingo what they need to do and they’re on the fix like white on rice.  I’ve had older people who’s hearing aids are whistling feedback into the phone not understand a single word I’ve told them and had them hang up in frustration.  So yes, the stereotype exists because there are people that it applies to.  But, be careful to assume that it’s one size fits all.

January 3, 2013

Shame Is My Vengence - A Help Desk Story

Every CSR, regardless of job description, has been treated like “the help” or as slightly less disgusting than slime mold in the eyes of their customer.  Those who have worked a phone, or an email account know that it’s usually in the job description to take a certain amount of abuse, and frowned upon to exact any kind of purposeful vengeance on your caller.  I have been told that I’m a government employee, so because said customer pays my salary, I am obliged to help them in whatever way they want.  I’ve been told that because the caller is a paying customer, and the customer is always right, I have to do what they say.  I’ve talked to salesmen who feel that their position is higher on the food chain and they’re really not above making sure you know it because IT people are apparently lepers in the sales colony.  However, occasionally, the gods smile down from their omnipotent perch on their celestial Lay-Z Boy and an opportunity to dole out the rope and watch a person hang themselves lands in your lap.  Such was the case with the story I’m about to tell you.