All Blogs Must Pass

Image result for blog
To every post (churn, churn, churn)
There is a season (churn, churn, churn)
And a time to every bloggy purpose, under heaven
A time to be write, a time to cry
A time to edit,  a time to die, words, die!
A time to be wracked with self-doubt, a time to heal
A time to alienate your entire family so you can waste precious time to write a post no one will ever read

Hey gang! There is still a gang out there, right? Hellllllllllloooooooooooo?

This year was my blog’s seventh anniversary. I was a spirited 39-year-old when I started She’s a Maineiac and now I’m still 39 so shut the hell up.

It’s been seven frigging years and I still, STILL! feel compelled to post crap at least once a month, much to my own chagrin. I feel like my blog has pretty much died a long slow death.  Or maybe it’s just in a coma and waiting for someone to wake it up so it will have amnesia and start over again with a new personality.  I like that idea! Hey, it worked for Sandra Bullock!
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C’mon, Darla! Wake the f*** up! Also, you look like shit.
Let’s take a groovy-graphy trip down my so-called bloggy life’s past to see how things evolved over time….

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As we all know, everything has a purpose and a season under heaven.  I think it was George Harrison who once said, all things must pass. Or maybe it was Dr. Oz talking about constipation. We all know that life is an endless cycle of life, death, rebirth, and more life and more death and you get the picture.

The cool thing about a cycle is it can start fresh again, it can be reborn! Like my snazzy graph below illustrates….

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So, it appears I’m back to writing for only me again. Yikes. My blog readers have pretty much vanished. Blogs are dead. Disco is dead. Elvis is alive and well in an underground bunker in Albuquerque. This is good and bad. Lately, it seems I have forgotten how to write. I have that thing you get when you….what’s that called again?

But I do love to write for myself. Sure, I’ve started to rehash ideas and tend to do the same post over and over again and maybe I won’t ever get the level of readership I once had years ago. And maybe the grammar police will always be lurking around every dangling particle. And yes, I have no clue what that even means. I don’t care! I’m too old to care anymore! This is my place! I get to do whatever the heck I want here, gosh darnit! If you don’t like my blog, good riddance!

 

But you’ll stick around, right?

If you’re still here, tell me in the comments below about your blogging career. Did you make oodles of money and gain boundless fame? Or just a bigger ass like me?

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Bloggers Gone (Mildly) Wild

I’ve been lucky to have met several bloggers over the years. As lovely as all of them turned out to be, I admit that I had my doubts.

What if they’re really ax murderers?
What if they think I’m totally uncool?
What if I end up wearing a fake mustache, plaid earmuffs, and yellow yarn on my head in public?

Preparing to blow the hipster restaurant crowd away with our epic dorkiness.
Preparing to blow Portland away with our epic dorkiness.

Ayuh, that’s right. I met up with Jules from Go Jules Go AND Peg from
Peg-o-leg’s Ramblings! I know!! INSANE!! I was delirious from the pure excitement and adrenaline. Or maybe that was because I pounded down a Blueberry Ale in ten seconds.

The Three Amigos: Three Blondes Make Everything Right
Three Wrong Blondes Make Everything Right

The best part was we didn’t even really plan (much) for this to happen — it was like fate, destiny, or pure coincidence. Jules is from New Jersey and just happened to be up here in Maine for Labor Day weekend. Peg is from Illinois and she and her family just happened to be up here in Maine for Labor Day weekend. And it was my birthday! I’m 29 for the 18th time. What a gift it was to chill with some bloggy peeps!!!!! (extra exclamation points absolutely justified)

After bribing Peg’s visiting family with lobster rolls, they graciously allowed me to hobnob with WordPress celebs Peg and Jules (and her adorable dog) on the Portland waterfront.

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Chillin’ with Uncle Jesse.

I tell you I have never been so giddy. Peg is exactly like you’d imagine from her blog times 100. She’s beautiful, bubbly, and hilarious. I’ve already met with Jules a few times, so it goes without saying she’s gorgeous, witty and totally rocks. The three of us had lunch, gabbed about stupid blog stuff, and played with vibrating lobsters

What? The restaurant handed them out to us so we’d know when our lunch was ready! Sheesh!

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Hello, Portland Press Herald? Breaking news — Darla, a born-n-raised Mainah, actually hates lobster.

I’d love to end this post by bragging about how after lunch we jetted off to party on a rented lobster boat while we toured lighthouses and Stephen King’s estate, but that’ll have to wait until next year.

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Bonus footage: Jim Gaffigan tells you exactly why I don’t like “lobstah”

Have you ever met a blogger in real life? Did you get as nervous as I did? Did you also make a complete fool of yourself in public? (Not hard for me to do…) Do tell!

So you want to be a blogger

Sometimes I receive emails from newbie bloggers asking me stuff like:

“Hey, Darla! How in the hell did your blog get to be sort-of-but-not-really popular? Why on earth do you have as many followers as Danny Bonaduce’s Twitter account*? You ain’t no big thang! Please explain.”

As I’m sure Danny “The Dooch Man” Bonaduce would tell you — it takes pure luck plus the perfect amount of narcissism mixed with self-loathing to become this mediocre.

True dat.
True dat.

If I had to pick one thing that helped skyrocket this blog into “eh-dom”, it would be the day my post about getting my hair cut was picked by a WordPress editor for Freshly Pressed back in the days of bloggy yore, circa 2010. Soon people all over this great land of ours were leaving me comments like, “Nice post” and “Please visit my blog at buttmunch.com!” It was a magical time. My stats climbed (then plummeted) and my ego exploded (then imploded). Messy.

Still I was convinced my little post was picked at random and that’s because it was. Random. It had to be because what good writer ends their sentences with the word ‘was’? Or even worse, I’m thinking a WordPress editor was in the middle of cleaning her keyboard of doughnut dust and accidently typed in the words “bad hair Darla” to find me.

Then for some odd reason WordPress put me under “recommended family”. This led many family-oriented people to my blog. Yet I had this burning desire to occasionally swear and write about broken asses. Write what you know and all that bull. I followed my bloggy dreams and never looked back. Over the years I’ve dropped hints for WP to switch me to humor but they insist I’m never funny. Fine, I’ll be a friggin “mommy blogger”. But I’ll be damned if I blog in torn yoga pants and a shirt covered in mac-n-cheese with my hair all a mess and oh yeah, right … I guess I am a mommy blogger. Damn it all to hell.

So it was a bit of luck that got this blog going. But then I took that luck and ran with it. And ran and ran and ran. Then I sat down again because I was winded and by golly, I blogged and blogged and churned out endless heaps of ridiculous posts, up to and including this one. To be honest, it does take a fair amount of blood, sweat and wine for me to crank out this shit. I don’t just sit down and spew words onto my laptop. (current post excluded)

So, you also want to be a “famous-in-your-own-mind” blogger?

Here’s what I’ve learned in my five years at WordPress:

  • Less is more. (Danny Bonaduce, I’m talking to you)
  • Wrong is right. (Danny Bonaduce, I’m not talking to you)
  • Just write. Who cares what a reader might think?
  • Always care what a reader might think.
  • If it makes you laugh or cry, it’s good enough to post.
  • People will get offended. They’ll think you’re being serious. Holding up a sign might help.

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  • Bullet point lists are the key to any good post.
  • Self-deprecating humor usually works because it sounds like “self-defecating” and who doesn’t want to see someone else shit all over themselves? Fun.
  • Find your voice.
  • Keep your voice even if you have to break all the rules. We’re not writing for The New York Times. Yet.
  • When your voice is hoarse, rest. Don’t force it. It’ll come back again.
  • Write, write, write. Edit, edit, edit. Sleep, sleep, sleep.**
  • Have fun. Play nice. Be good.
  • (Wait — that’s what I told my kids yesterday on their first day of school, sorry.)

Fellow bloggers — any other advice you’d give a newbie? Besides “you’ll never make a dime blogging so you might as well give up now?”

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*Danny actually has 25,000 followers. This means you probably shouldn’t be taking advice from a blogger with half the followers of someone who calls himself The Dooch Man.

**I really like sleeping.

Blog Review 2014

Like most of us, I’m obsessed with meaningless numbers. Sadly, I tend to let them define my self-worth. I was born in 1970. I’m 140 pounds. I need to workout for 6,000 straight minutes to burn off the 3, 786 calorie doughnut I just inhaled.

Somehow I think these numbers mean something.

Yet no matter how much these numbers fluctuate (and believe me, my birth year is not set in stone) deep down I am still the same ol’ me. Numbers aren’t so important in the grand scheme of things.

For instance, I used to get excited that I have nearly 10,000 blog followers.

Until today when I realized my son also has a blog.

He’s twelve.

His blog is on Mario Kart Wii U.

He just started it yesterday.

His entire blog profile?

Hi!!! My name is C. Do you like pie? Good day.

He already has over 500 followers.

So I looked over the past year’s stats for my blog this morning (because I admit I do love numbers) and noticed a few things. When I write about blogging, I get the most views. My post Is Blogging Dead? got close to 1,500 hits. Yet oddly enough, posts like “Yes, but how high does a flea jump while farting?” get only one view. Crazy.

As for countries, I had over 26,000 hits from the US, but only one hit from someone in Madagascar. What gives? It’s a mad mad world.

Thank you all for hanging out and reading my blog, I do appreciate it. Happy New Year!

Oh — and do you like pie?

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Happy [insert holiday here]!

Hey guys! Whassup?

It’s time to get down and funky….

“It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone….ba-da-ba-da-ba-daaaaa….”

I’m writing this post because:

1) I wanted to see if I forgot how to write (looks like I did)
2) I missed you guys.
3) I needed a distraction from reading online all about how 2014 was the “Year of the Booty.”

I think this is the most serious case of writer’s block I’ve ever had. What is my problem lately? Why am I having a hard time writing? I can’t even get past the new-fangled wordpress dashboard/stats page. I went to create a new post just now and panicked when I saw this:

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And I thought — Well Jiminy Cricket! They’ve done gone and changed it again! What in blue blazes do I click on now? Heavens to Betsy! Where in the dickens is the old dashboard?! Have I been gone from blogging that long? Has the entire WordPress world gone mad?! Looks like yet again some dadgum whippersnapper WordPress “genius” decided to fix something that ain’t broke! Well hell’s bells, ain’t that a kick in the moderately-arthritic lumbar discs! How am I supposed to function like this? Is it cold in here? Have you seen my glasses? Where’s my Tylenol?

Then I put on my prescription-strength trifocals, squinted real hard and saw there was an option to click on “Classic Dashboard” and I heaved the heaviest of heavy sighs. Dislodged a few more lumbar discs in the process. And then I pooped a couple more Tylenol pills.

That’s not a typo.

How is this old lady supposed to find her way around The Interwebz when some young techno-fool keeps changing it all around? Okay, we get it! You’ve been to college! You like to make things all fancy-schmancy in the hopes us old farts will finally give up and get back to knitting you that hip-n-cozy beard warmer.

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And then there’s the problem of what I should write a post about. Oh my god the choices! The news? Too depressing. The holidays? Too controversial. Something funny? Waaaaaay too hard.

So this is it. My gift to you — My worst post ever.

But I also want to say to all of my readers: Happy Holidays, etc ! (I’m thinking of putting that greeting on T-shirts) And yes, I’m still alive! We do have power! If it goes out again for Christmas then no worries, I’ve stacked extra logs crafted from life-sized posters of Kim Kardashian’s “break the internet” butt, should keep us warm and toasty until Armageddon.

I’ll get back to blogging more soon. Unless my dashboard changes again.

Oh, and here’s a few photos to warm your jaded hearts in the meantime. A letter from my 12-year old son to his sister and my daughter doing her Elf on a Shelf impression. Enjoy!

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Bloggers Gone (Mainely) Wild

What happens when bloggers get together?

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Last week an amazing thing happened. I met two WordPress bloggers in person.

Yes, bloggers are actually human. They exist in an alternate reality I like to call “real life”. And online relationships can turn into genuine friendships. I know, crazy!

Jules from Go Jules Go and Rachel from Rachel’s Table decided to make the trek up to Maine. Not only to possibly catch a glimpse of Stephen King or enjoy the local cuisine — but to see me.

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My mind reeled as I imagined all the shenanigans we’d enjoy. Maybe we’d visit L.L. Bean’s at 2 am and try on flannel bomber hats while chugging maple lattes! Or we’d have a pajama party and stay up all hours of the night giggling about boys while braiding each other’s hair! (but if one of them even so much as dared hide my bra in the freezer I would go home immediately)

But first, they had to do the seemingly impossible — drive the six hours up 1-95
(aka The Big-ass Pothole Highway to Hell) to reach me.

Unfortunately, their epic adventure was filled with obstacles like horrible winter weather, a flat tire, and a late-night rescue via tow truck somewhere off 1-495 just north of Boston.

They were supposed to be in Maine Thursday night. I got a message from Jules late that night as I sat anxiously by the phone crafting their friendship bracelets. They were stuck on the side of the cold dark highway with a flat tire.

I thought they’d never arrive. Maybe they could hitchhike? Hop on a scooter?  Catch a free ride in the back of a UPS truck?

Fast forward to Friday night — a full 24 plus hours after they had left for Maine — still no blogger peeps. They were trapped in Massachusetts at a repair shop, the victims of endless paperwork and tire rims that had to be “special-ordered”.

I looked wistfully over at my punch bowl full of gin and ginger ale and wept. Why, universe? Why keep us kindred blogger spirits apart? It’s so not fair! Who will drink all this gin? And devour my 50 ft. long Subway with extra pickles?

EAT FRESH!
EAT FRESH!

Well, I would, of course — but it wouldn’t be half as fun without my friends. Maybe more like 10% less fun. I do love my gin and pickles.

But I never lost hope, they would get to this godforsaken frozen hell of a state eventually!

A new day dawned Saturday and they were finally safe and sound in Maine. I booked it to Freeport, giddy that our blogger meet-up was finally becoming reality.

It was so worth all the hassle.

Yay! We're finally together! (I might have already had a hangover in this pic)
Yay! We’re finally together! (I might have already had a hangover in this pic)

We managed to cram a lot of fun into those 24 hours we had together.

We ate food.

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Then we ate more food.

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We laughed while drinking and eating.

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It was pure magic.

Well, until Jules chose not to heed my warning to “never feed the bears” in the L.L. Bean parking lot. She learned her lesson the hard way.

Apparently Mama Bear is on a gluten-free diet.
Apparently Mama Bear is on a gluten-free diet.

Thanks Rache and Jules for everything.  I love you both.

Be sure to visit their extended version of our bloggy meet-up  here at Go Jules Go and here at Rachel’s Table.
(I’m hoping they don’t publish those photos of me drunk with a lamp shade on my head, weeping and belting out “I Will Survive” on karaoke night.)

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Have you ever met any bloggers in real life before? Any blogger meet-ups you’ve got planned for the future?

A Blog by Any Other Name

I remember how challenging it was three years ago when I had to cough up a name for this blog.

Mainly because both She’s Menopausal and She’s a Mean Mofo were already taken.

I picked She’s a Maineiac on a whim and just went with it. At first, I regretted it. Too many vowels, hard to spell, could’ve used a hyphen. Maybe a dollar sign instead of the S.

But it grew on me because it really fit my personality. After all, I’m from Maine. I live in Maine. I’m a she. It was like it was meant to be.

I was recently asked by a WordPress editor: Hey, Darla!  What gives with your blog name? and the result is an interview I did this week for The Daily Post.

daily post

This series spotlights bloggers and details the stories behind their blog names.

As thrilled as I was to do this interview, sadly, my backstory doesn’t involve sex, drugs or rock and roll.  More like an ice hockey team, a couple Advils and a cold cup of coffee.

But please do drop by The Daily Post today to find out why I chose my blog name and not something else more intriguing like She’s A Man.

Click here Choosing the Perfect Blog Name: She’s a Maineiac

How did you guys come up with your blog name? Are you still happy with it?
Did you have any other choices you wished you had gone with instead?

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I want to thank you all for being the best group of readers a Maineiac could ever ask for. I heart you all.

Hopefully, I’ll be back to posting more regularly after my finals-from-hell week is over. (But that’s only if my lab partner doesn’t accidentally sever one of my arteries during our phlebotomy exam today.)

Happy Holidays!

Firsts and Lasts with The Good Greatsby

Have you ever wondered who invented dessert? Or who was Brad Pitt’s body double in Thelma and Louise? Or pondered why Paul McCartney decided to abandon all sense of musical taste and write the song Wonderful Christmastime“?

Well, all these answers and more can be found by visiting the hilarious blog,
The Good Greatsby.

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If you’ve been searching for a blogger who’s always witty and entertaining, then Paul is your man. If you’ve been searching for someone to give all your extra cash to — Paul is definitely your man. (He’ll also accept gift cards but please, no personal checks.)

He’s been Freshly Pressed numerous times, he’s a WordPress Recommended Humor blogger and he’s a humor blogger for The Huffington Post.

I know. I’ll have what he’s having. My guess is that’s not really tobacco in his pipe.

67d4fbb9393c077fa9d40657ff176cafHe tackles political satire with ease, Obama Reels in Big, Bigger, Biggest Fish, explains why you should never invite him to your party, Thank You for Inviting Me to the Party. I Apologize for My Behavior at the Party, and occasionally waxes poetic while writing about his favorite celebrity obsession, Vin Diesel, When I Become Famous: The First 24 Hours, although his heart really belongs to Zooey Deschanel, Friday Love Letters.

So what makes Greatsby tick? Who is the man behind that snazzy smoking jacket? Will I be able to sufficiently poke fun at him with my crafty PowerPoint slides? Let’s find out!

FIRST

Blog Post:

Tough Childhood

Love:

I’m not definite I’ve ever been in love. I used to think I fell in love a lot but I once described love to a doctor and he said what I was experiencing was remarkably similar to the symptoms of car sickness. He suggested I stop taking first dates on high-speed drives through winding canyons, and after following his advice I never fell in love again. I also used to think women fell in love with me a lot, but it turns out they were just frightened to death at my driving, and that their trembling hands, wide eyes, pale faces and shrieks were more likely symptoms of terror and not love. Love is complicated.

Childhood Memory:

For some reason I don’t remember the exact moment of being born, but I do remember my parents arguing with the hospital staff about the bill and thinking, Uh-oh, Mom and Dad are cheap. Looks like I’ll be going to a state college.

Why, Mommy and Daddy? WHYYYYY?
Why, Mommy and Daddy? WHYYYYY?

Moment I met my significant other:

I was sitting on a bus with a bag of groceries on my lap. The bag broke and an avocado rolled down the aisle until finally resting against a woman’s black high heel. Prada. Spring collection. The woman reached down to pick up the avocado and when she turned back to look at me I found myself locking eyes with the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. I stood and slowly made my way across the bus, never breaking eye contact. I put out my hand. “I believe you have my avocado.” She smiled, raised the avocado up to her face, gave it a squeeze and said, “You’ve picked a ripe one.” As if on cue the bus jerked to the side, and in one smooth motion she fell into my arms, my lips brushed her ear, and I whispered, “I always pick the ripest produce.” She shivered. And then she shivered again. And then I realized it was actually my cell phone vibrating. Embarrassed, I turned my back as I took the call, which was my brother asking if he could set me up with his wife’s cousin. That wife’s cousin turned out to be my future wife and I first met her the following Friday after I pulled up in my car and she came out the front door of her grandparents’ house.

Possession I would take my house were on fire:

The vortex invasion pod in my basement, because the aliens were very clear that the vortex invasion pod should never catch on fire or the universe would implode. Also that it shouldn’t get wet. Also that I should stop hanging laundry on it.

Job I had:

Loose change collector. Every day, starting when I was about five, I would search under couch cushions or in the pockets of coats hanging in the closet or under the seat of my dad’s car. The pay wasn’t great, the benefits were non-existent, but the hours were flexible.

Time I got pulled over by a cop:

I’ve only been pulled over once. The police officer said I’d entered the turning lane too early, but my very reasonable explanation fell on deaf ears. I grew suspicious of his motives when he saw my driver’s license and failed to compliment my photo. And that’s when I realized what I was up against: handsomeness discrimination. Sometimes cops see a handsome man passing and think, That looks like a guy who needs to be taken down a notch. This is why I gave up driving, because I wasn’t willing to give up being handsome.

A still-handsome Greatsby's  new mode of ultra-groovy transportation.
A still-handsome Greatsby’s new mode of ultra-groovy transportation.

Thing I think God will say to me at the pearly gates:

“Don’t tell me who won the Super Bowl. I’ve got it on DVR but I’ve been absolutely swamped. Also, why is Kim Kardashian famous?”

LAST

Blog Post: When I Was a Kid, Things Were Tough

Thing I cooked:

Pad Thai. I make this pretty regularly and it’s usually good, but I tried something new and the result was too spicy. As we sat down for dinner and our eyes watered and throats burned, I told my sons if they learn one lesson from this meal it’s that you should never, ever try anything new in life. Find a bunch of comfortable behaviors, ideas, and habits at a young age and spend the rest of your life angrily refusing to see life from any other perspective.

Movie I saw:

Doctor Zhivago—the 2002 British edition with Keira Knightley. You should see this. But not with anyone who hates Keira Knightley. Why do so many women dislike Keira Knightley?

(editor's note: I think it's her hat. No...on second thought, it's everything else about her.)
(editor’s note: I think it’s her hat. No…on second thought, it’s everything else about her.)

Song I listened to:

We Are the People by Empire of the Sun. I’ve heard this song hundreds of times just this year. You could walk up to me at any moment and ask what was the last song I listened to and there’s a good chance the last song was We Are the People.

Book I read:

Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

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Reality TV show I watched:

We don’t get American TV here in China so I don’t have regular access to reality shows. But a friend’s laptop was stolen from his apartment and he asked me to translate as he spoke to the security guards, and when we viewed the CCTV footage of the previous 24 hours and all the comings and goings of his apartment complex, and watched most of it in fast forward, it was the most compelling reality show I’d ever seen. Seriously. I’d watch that show again.

Person I kissed:

This answer has changed so many times in the last couple weeks. I kept putting off finishing this interview until the last person I kissed was really impressive. Unfortunately the only celebrity I met in the past few weeks was Joe Montana, and although he was definitely giving me signals, the timing never felt quite right.

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Time I cried:

At the end of Doctor Zhivago—the 2002 British edition with Keira Knightley. If you didn’t cry, what’s wrong with you?

Time I laughed hysterically:

Yesterday. I was doing a voice recording for a hospitality training manual. The script made multiple references to “duties” and “the duties of a duty manager” and that “the duty manager has to be attentive to his employees’ duties.” I know it’s juvenile but I giggled like a schoolgirl. I never giggle. I hate to even write the word giggle. But I giggled every single time.

Time I told a little white lie:

Once I gave away the children’s puppy. I was taking him for a walk and a man stopped his bike and said, “I like your puppy.” And I said, “Take him. He’s yours,” and placed Mr. Lunch in the bike basket. When I returned home I told my sons that Mr. Lunch was on vacation. Almost nine years later and they still look out the window and ask when Mr. Lunch will be back from vacation. Hilarious.

Time I swore like a sailor:

A couple days ago when I argued with my cell phone provider. International coverage in my plan had somehow expired without my knowledge and I was charged about $200 for 3 calls to the US at a rate of about $1.75 a minute. The conversation was in Chinese but the swear words were in English. (Note: Initially I misread the question as “Time I swore at a sailor”. That would be a great question. A lot of my favorite comedy ideas come from misreading things.)

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Good deed I did:

I flirt with a lot of married women right in front of their husbands. This might not seem like charity in the biblical sense, but when your husband sees me write my number on your hand, his jealousy is going to make him treat you right for at least two weeks. You’re welcome. (And don’t worry, I didn’t write my real number. It’s the number of a marriage counselor. I get a small referral commission.)

Indulgence:

I bought myself really expensive skinny jeans, so skinny they couldn’t even be seen with the naked eye.

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Thanks for playing along, Greatsby! The 50 cent coupon for a single serving size of Totino’s Party Pizza is in the mail. (unless it gets “lost” on the way to China)

Firsts and Lasts with Nicole from The Middlest Sister

b6ce6ec415c4f664861108fb04fa3366It’s November! This means I get the honor of spotlighting Nicole — a warm, witty blogger and inventor of ridiculously clever comic strips she painstakingly crafts using mere scrap paper and scissors.

Perhaps you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t visited her popular blog, The Middlest Sister, where she details what it was like to grow up with four sisters. Not only has it been Freshly Pressed numerous times, but it holds a coveted top spot on the Recommended Blog list as one of the WordPress Staff Picks. And with good reason. She. Is. Amazing.

Now time for the interview!  After you’re done, be sure to drop by her blog. You’ll be so glad you did.

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First

First Blog Post  

My first blog post, “The Refrigerator” is one of my favorite “Chrissy” memories. I came home from school one day and saw all these good report cards on the fridge for the rest of the sisters, awards and ribbons… and then there was this note for Chrissy:

The Refrigerator

First Kiss firstkiss It was awful. I was in second grade on an overcrowded bus. The kiss was stolen, and I was so angry about it for years and years afterwards because I had wanted my first kiss to be “special.” I decided it didn’t count, but then my next first kiss was also awful and unspecial. And the one after that. AND the one after that. If none of the firsts were going to be special, might as well count the real first one!

First Thing I Think God Will Say To Me at the Pearly Gates

I don’t know the exact circumstances that will lead to it, of course, but I really feel like it’s going to be something a little condescending and petty. godsaid LAST

Last Blog Post

The Hands-Down Tree [editor’s note: very cool-n-creepy story, the lightning panel she created is fantastic]

Last Thing I cooked lastfood My favorite, a peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwich! That counts as cooking right?

Last Book I Read maddaddam   Last Person I kissed personkissed

My beardy, mysterious husband (I have never seen his face)

Time I Swore Like a Sailor

sworeIt’s a hazard of having a house-rabbit. I like to say that “Faye” is short for “Faaaaaavorite pet!” but sometimes, it really, really isn’t.

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Thanks so much for playing along, Nicole (I think fuzzy bunny Faye is my new fave…) and for being my November Blogger of the Month!

Firsts and Lasts with Steve from The Brown Road Chronicles

How often do you come across a blogger who not only is a fantastic storyteller but sings and plays a mean guitar?

farmerSteve’s blog, Brown Road Chronicles, is about country living, old houses, dirt roads, raising kids and a couple lively goats named Holly and Ella.

I adore his writing style, which was highlighted on Freshly Pressed with the fantastic post, Old Barn Coat.  He also writes funny children’s poems, song lyrics and occasionally rants about WordPress and BOOBs. And he recently created a super hot all-male blogger calendar you must check out. It’s all good clean fun.

Before you enjoy his interview, take a listen to one of his songs, Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Bloggers — the man needs a recording contract!

Now let’s delve into what makes him tick. Please, give a warm welcome to

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Steve from The Brown Road Chronicles

FIRST:

Blog Post:

Diary of a Flat Tire: How I got to Keep my Man Card for Another Day

This was a funny story that happened to me back in September 2009. I didn’t have a blog at the time but I wanted to remember the situation so I wrote it down. It eventually became the first post on my blog. I didn’t write again until almost a year later in August of 2010, when Brown Road Chronicles was really born and my normal, stable life pretty much ended.

Kiss:

My dog Tiger used to kiss me a lot. Ohhhh… wait… you mean, like a real kiss? I believe it was my high school girlfriend, I don’t remember anything before that unless I’ve just forgotten. I’ve only had two really serious women in my life, my high school girlfriend and my awesome wife Kim who I met in college. Well… there was this totally smokin’ hot girl in like first grade, named Brandy, that I used to really like. But I don’t think I ever got to kiss her. She probably didn’t even know who I was. She’s probably a stripper now.

Love:

Brandy from first grade who’s probably a stripper now. Seriously though, who really knows what love is? Insert Foreigner voice: “I wanna know what love is… I want you to show me!” I honestly believe there is only one person for each of us. I’ve found mine.

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Childhood Memory:

I remember fighting my way out of my Mom’s vagina through all this blood and gore, thinking “oh my god, what the fuck is going on here?!?” Then this guy all dressed in white grabs me and wipes me off and I’m like “dudes, what the hell just happened? I think I need a beer!”

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Moment I met my significant other:

Kim and I met at a Toga Party at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. It was very romantic and sophisticated and Greek.

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You can read about it here:
How I Met Your Mother

Possession I would take if my house were on fire:

Seriously, if your house is on fire are you going to stand there for even a few seconds and think about what the hell to take out of there? Dude, get out of the house! Everyone always says they would grab photos. Honestly though, I would have one thing on my mind, getting my family first, then pets if possible, to a safe place. I probably wouldn’t even think about what else to grab.

Job I had:

Other than mowing my neighbor’s lawn, the first real job I had was working for a guy that owned a landscaping business and operated out of my neighborhood where I grew up on Long Island. We cut grass and did landscaping for commercial and residential accounts. I started working for him after my senior year of high school, then during the summers while in college. It was very hard work, but was a good gig. He often paid us in cash, we got sweet tans and could let our hair grow long and we could swear and naively believe that all the chicks thought we were the hottest, shirtless guys in the world, even though we had long hair and smelled like gasoline and rotten grass. Sometimes I miss those days!

Time I got pulled over by a cop:

When we first moved to Michigan, when I was about 24, I got pulled over on the college campus I was working nearby going about 40 in a 25. I’m thinking, “Seriously, don’t you have anything better to do, like arrest some drunken college students that are lighting their couch on fire?” She gave me a ticket for 10 over. I ended up getting to know her pretty well over the years and always wondered if she remembered writing that ticket.

Thing I think God will say to me at the pearly gates:

I don’t believe in God and all that afterlife stuff. Sorry, I guess you’d call me an Atheist, even though that term has wrongly become synonymous with “Evil, Satan Worshipping, Goat Sacrificing Heathen”. But really, if you don’t believe in God you certainly don’t believe in Satan and y’all know I’d never sacrifice one of my goats!

I believe when I die I will either become ashes or be put into a hole in the ground. That’s all folks! Although these days, cremation seems to be the trending way to dispose of oneself, I think I want a gravestone, so that little kids can do crayon rubbings on it and wonder what was so special about the “Author of The Brown Road Chronicles.”

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LAST:

Blog Post:

Well chances are it will be my Song “The Grass is Always Greener” because I haven’t written anything in weeks. But really how the hell should I know? You see, Darla made me send her these answers in advance… something about “needing time to do a whole bunch of PowerPoint slides where I poke fun at you” and “if you don’t get your answers to me in a timely fashion I am going to send Kathy Bates to break your legs.”

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Thing I cooked:

Chicken on the grill. So, here’s a question… when you go out to your grill and pick up that brush scraper tool that we all have and start scraping and brushing all that old crap of the grates of the grill… do you ever think that’s what a Dental Hygienist feels like? Sometimes I stare down at the grill and scold and denigrate it for not flossing enough.

Movie I saw:

I don’t really remember but there were a lot of XXX’s and Oh, Oh, Oh’s in it. Must have had something to do with football.

Song I listened to:

Probably a Jackson Browne song, he’s my favorite artist. Even though I enjoy his quieter, more reflective songs, lately I have been listening to “Boulevard” a lot. I’m in sales, so I’m in my car a lot. When I find myself getting sleepy while driving, I’ll put that song on at full volume so the speakers shake. One of the greatest (yet most under-recognized) guitar riffs to begin a rock song!

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Book I read:

Oh shit, now I have to admit how infrequently I actually read books. The last book I read was The Hunger Games, which honestly was a pretty good book. My family told me I needed to read it before the film came out. So I voraciously devoured it like an Honors English Student cramming down some “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “Catcher in the Rye” for a mid-term. Not that I’m comparing it to those books, to all you literary snobs that were thinking of reprimanding me in the comments. I think the last book I read before Hunger Games was “Brown Bear, Brown Bear.”

Reality TV show I watched:

I don’t really watch TV much. Is The Voice considered a reality TV show. Yes? Then I guess that’s my answer. I like The Voice because the talent is really good, but definitely not because I have a total man-crush on Adam Levine with his dreamy fitted t-shirts and beard stubble.

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Person I kissed:

Myself, as I was taking “selfies” to post on Instagram. Just kidding I don’t really have an Instagram.

Time I cried:

Probably at the last movie I saw, or the last song I heard, or the last magazine article I read, or the last TV show I watched or the last time I cooked a hot dog in the microwave and it exploded or… Seriously, I cry all the time. I’m not sure when my Testosterone levels starting losing the battle to my Estrogen levels. I used to be pretty good at holding it in, but then somewhere around the time I had kids, something changed and now it doesn’t take much to get me going. In fact, I’m crying right now writing these answers.

Time I laughed hysterically:

Answering these questions…

Time I told a little white lie:

Answering these questions…

Time I did something really scary:

Sitting in the passenger seat of a car with my 15-year-old daughter driving?!?

Honestly though, I can’t really pinpoint anything really scary that I’ve done. I’m not much of a risk taker in that there’s no freakin’ way I’ll ever jump out of an airplane or anything like that. I’ve learned to tolerate some amusement park rides, but really don’t get that thrill high that so many people get. Starting a new self-employment career a couple of years ago and taking somewhere in the neighborhood of a 95% pay cut was pretty scary. In fact, it’s still pretty scary. In fact, I’m thinking about putting a donation link on my website.

Time I swore like a sailor:

I prefer to think that I swear like a trucker, but whatever…

I wrote a funny post a long time ago (pre-Freshly-Pressed fame) about not getting Freshly Pressed because of having some swear words in my posts. Here it is:
Getting Fu…Fu…Freshly Pressed

Embarrassing moment:

A few years back at a New Year’s party there was a little bit of drinking going on and then a bunch of shots of Crown Royal, then me and this other dude at the party started mooning people and these days it’s like “what the hell, you can’t even pull your pants down at a party anymore without everyone taking pictures.” Then I got sick in my wife’s van on the ride home with my son in the back seat taking notes. Not my finest moment!

Good deed I did:

I know, I know… you’ve read this whole thing and you’re like “wow, this guy is a total asshole, there’s no way he’s out there doing good deeds.” But honestly, it’s all just a ruse. You see, I’m actually a really compassionate guy. I’m a Boy Scout leader and I volunteer occasionally at my kid’s schools, when my wife signs me up and forces me to. I’m actually relatively well-respected in my community. So, if any of you let any of this shit get out, I’ll have Darla send Kathy Bates to your place to break your legs. ‘Cause Darla and I are tight. [editor’s note: true dat]

Indulgence:

Wine! Welcome to my wine cellar. Here’s the Red box, there’s the White box. Mix them together for pink. Plastic cups are in the pantry.

Thank you all for reading. Please visit me at Brown Road Chronicles. It’s a lot of fun there!

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Up next November’s blogger of the month: Nicole from The Middlest Sister.