So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Six Words. But in What Order?

At the end of October I blogged on Wired Magazine's six-word short story article.

Novelist Chris Well points in his blog to a contest for the world's best six-word story. DBA Lehane, the contest's sponsor, is offering a bunch of goodies for the winner ("an original poster size print of an original piece of artwork created by me (under my windscreen fly alter ego!), the complete collection of Ernest Hemmingway’s Short Stories and a mystery prize (or two)").

Got a story? No one took me up on my offer to submit six words in exchange for the prospect of winning absolutely nothing, so maybe this is the wrong audience to pitch the contest to. Then again, maybe you're all super-savvy and were waiting for a better offer. I think this may just be about as good an offer as you're going to get.

Deadline: End of year, Greenwich Mean Time.

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Mikesell : 9:02 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Celebrate the Season, Ralphie-Style

I'll admit I've never seen the movie A Christmas Story. One of my sisters bought it for us for Christmas a few years back, but to date Dina hasn't consented to let it be played in the home DVD player. Or a computer DVD drive. Or the car DVD player. I think were I take the DVD and watch it at a remote location on my PowerBook I would not be able to admit, publicly or privately, that I had watched the movie. Phil would find himself in the library doing "alternate study" were the film to be shown at school.

She does not like it, Sam I Am.

But from what I gather there's a boy, Ralphie, who wants a BB gun, but his folks are afraid he'll shoot his eye out. And there's some kind of mannequin leg lamp. I think there's a tongue-stuck-to-a-frozen-flagpole bit, too. Chevy Chase is not in the movie. (But we can't watch that film, either.)

Dina, as far as I know, would prefer that Ralphie get the gun and then shoot himself in the eye. Off-screen, of course, and not necessarily in the eye. A bang. The twang of a ricochet. A satisfying Ow! Which is why I think I'm safe in sending you to dontshootyoureyeout.com. A game where Ralphie-boy finds himself with a Red Wrangler Authentic Pump Action Saddle Carbine -- a knock-off of the Daisy Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Air Rifle Ralphie (according to the IMDB) wanted. Only holds ten shots, but you can get more ammo for good shooting (1,000 points). Pump the gun (hit spacebar) up to three times. More power means greater likelihood of a high score, but also increases the possibility of shooting yourself in the eye. (No fair turning your back to the BB. Any "accidental contact" loses you the points for that shot.)

My high score is in the 24,000 range. Two "accidents." How well can you do? (presuming, of course, that your goal isn't that satisfying Ow!)

via digg.com

This blog post has been read and approved by Dina, who recognizes its exaggerated nature and comedic intent. Were I to watch the movie off-site no harm would come to me; Phil would be doing independent study in the library because 94 minutes of instruction time is too precious to fritter away on a movie. Yes, fritter. I can "Bah Humbug!" too.

[just got a 75-bouncer, cycled through the million-point scoreboard several times; full load of ammo]

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Mikesell : 1:48 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Chatty Me

Meant to blog on this yesterday, but got so caught up in a multi-hour chat session I forgot. Should you have Yahoo! Messenger (Yahoo's chat service) and want to chat sometime, my user-ID is ctmikesell.

I've never been much into chat before, but since Google added it to the Gmail service I've been warming to it. Last night there were seven of us conferencing on YM right before I had to leave the party and watch House (enough with Tritter already!). The cross-conversations with that many people can be headache inducing, but also a lot of fun -- for instance, when one conversation's comment is immediately followed by a response from another conversation to humorous effect.
C: Happy birthday, Zoe!

M: That's what my son said while I was doing laundry.

C: Your son wished the laundry a happy Zoe birthday?

-- end scene --

So let's chat. I check in several times a day to see if anyone I know is lurking; add me to your list and send me an invite and I might find you next time I'm on. And I'll try to keep the "taffy taffy taffy" comments to a minimum.

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Mikesell : 10:29 AM : 2 snarky remarks

Monday, November 27, 2006

Advent(ures in) Candle Lighting

See what I did there with the Advent and the Adventures in? D'ja see that? Did ya? Did ya? Okay, then. Moving on.

This afternoon I got three pix from my dad of Phil and Maggie lighting the advent candle in church yesterday (featuring Bill Stredde as the let's-not-burn-the-place-down-okay-kids? guardian).
  1. A

  2. B

  3. C
AndYou're now up to date on all the known photos of Phil. But don't rest too easy -- a photo op and strike at any moment!

Now? No.

Now? No.


Stay tuned.

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Mikesell : 4:40 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Cornucopia of Philpix

Well, a bounty at any rate. A rich and plentiful harvest. Okay, four. But given the dearth around here lately, that should be plenty.

My folks have been in town since Thursday. A few years ago their arrival would have been met with a photo session even before the hugs and how-was-your-trip?s. Today the cameras came out in the final two, two-and-a-half hours. (Our camera at least; rumor has it there's a photo of Phil with the grandparents' dog on Day Two of the visit.) In a couple more years we better have chips in our heads that allow us to print off memories or there'll be no photo record of family get-togethers at all.

At church this morning Phil and his friend Maggie lit the first Advent candle. I'm hoping my folks got better pictures with their camera than we did with ours. This is the best of the bunch (and that only after fiddling with Photoshop settings). Santa, let's go camera shopping, huh?

After church it was off to lunch at the Mongolian Grill. And a mini-photoshoot:The grandparents headed out after lunch. By the time we got home Phil was missing them already. Bountiful photo record or no, clearly it was a good visit.

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Mikesell : 7:29 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Side(bar) Note

In case you haven't noticed it, I've placed some links at the top of the menu sidebar over on the left.

I think the links are self-explanatory, but feel free to click them and see where you end up. Unless you're already in Ohio you won't wind up there after clicking. Honest.


Mikesell : 10:07 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Friday, November 24, 2006

I'm Getting Too Old For This

Up at 3am, dropped Phil with my folks at 3:30, on the road to town by 3:35. Dropped Dina at the mall at 4:45. Waited in line outside Target from 4:55-6 (my mistake, thought they opened at 5).

Got the stuff at Target I wanted, though. Hit WalMart afterward and got a little more. (Wally's is open 24 hours a day; according to the guy two behind me at Target they let you start grabbing Black Friday stuff at 5. It was pretty picked over by the time I got to it.) Found Dina at the mall eventually. Grabbed donuts and drive-thru at 9 and headed home.

Had a nice nap in the afternoon.

Think I'll check if it's Polka Nite on the RFD channel and then I'll call it a day.

Hope your day after Thanksgiving was good too.

Mikesell : 10:12 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy T-Day

Went out for buffet with Dina, Phil and my folks today. Saw Footloose Meets March of the Penguins Happy Feet afterward.

I apologize for not remembering where I came across this link, but I really hope you've had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Mikesell : 9:58 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

DKA's First-Place Poem

The top winner in DKA's poetry contest, "Statuary," is now up. It's a doozy.

Congratulations, John. Great poem.


Mikesell : 8:39 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cheaper (and Faster) Than Postage

You've seen them in the back of magazines. The Secrets of Mind Control. 26 Recipes for Turnips. Make Money While You Barcalounge. All Free! (with SASE). So you send away and in six to eight weeks you get either a hastily photocopied pamphlet (with offer for actually helpful info at a "nominal" fee) or you discover an easy way to get free postage because you've gotten nothing for your trouble and suspect the scam artist you mailed-away to has steamed your stamp off the SASE.

So for two 39-cent stamps, plus the cost of envelopes, you've gotten bupkis. Might as well have flushed 80 cents down the toilet, except maybe the quarters would weigh too much and they'd stay in the bowl and then you'd be tempted to reach in and retrieve them and eeeeewww...

Anyhoo, what if the ad at the back of the magazine said: 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof [Manuscript] Submission. No postage. No envelopes. No month and a half, two month wait. Nothing photocopied onto periwinkle- or goldenrod-colored paper. And it's cheaper than the "free" way, which runs you 80-plus cents in materials.

If you're at all interested in the 18 Keys (not actual keys, more of a metaphoric thing), check out this offer on Terry Whalin's blog. Terry is an author and acquisitions editor, so he's not just floating theories. He knows what works -- and what doesn't. And it's priced at 49 cents.

I picked up the Amazon Short and am pleased with it. Most of the NO-NOs are not all that different from what you'll find in a good manuscript preparation book, but it's nice to hear it straight from the horse's mouth. (Terry Whalin is not a horse; again, metaphor. Work with me here, people.) Don't misspell the editor's name. Don't nag and/or stalk the editor. There are nine other DON'Ts, so you shouldn't feel like you've just gotten everything there is to be had. The half-dozen MUST DOs are things that will set your manuscript proposal apart from the herd. (Metaphor! Writing your proposal on the side of cattle or antelope is not recommended except in certain agrarian communities when proposing marriage, but that's another thing altogether.) Some of these tips have appeared as individual entries on Terry's blog, but having them collected in one place makes future referencing easier than searching for the right post in Terry's archives.

So for cheaper than "free" you get straight talk from the editor (also the title of Terry's short). In three formats (PDF, HTML, and Amazon will e-mail the text to you, too). Now (or soon thereafter depending on the speed of your modem). Feel free to print it out on mint green paper if you want, then fold, spindle, and mutilate for that back-of-the-magazine feel.

Side note: something similar to one of the examples Terry shares about slow response times just happened to author Tony Hines. Read his Nov. 21 post (direct link not working, scroll to 11/21 if it's no longer at the top).

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Mikesell : 3:57 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Can It Last?

Stopped the other night at Fred Meyer to pick up a bottle of water. Since there's usually cheaper stuff on the shelves than the buck-and-change Dasani/Aquafina in the check-out coolers, I headed on back.

I was going for the 99-cent store brand when I noticed a newcomer on the shelf. Tahoma. (Sorry, can't find a webpage to link to.) Now the USDA/ORGANIC label doesn't mean a whole lot to me -- and it's water, so come on. But it comes in a ginger-lime flavor ... intriguing. So what if it's twenty-six cents more than generic?

Unless you're not a ginger fan (not talking about the Ginger vs. Mary Ann debate), I can't imagine anyone not liking this. Good stuff ... at least as long as the store keeps stocking it and the glacier on Mt. Hood doesn't melt away entirely. Shaky propositions, both.

Mikesell : 12:31 AM : 3 snarky remarks

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Book Chat with Rene Gutteridge

As promised on Friday, here are the answers to the five questions I posed to Rene Gutteridge, author of Scoop.

To recap the novel: Scoop tells the tale of Hayden Hazard, former clown (who's also clownaphobic -- that disease has a real name; read the book to find out what it's actually called), who winds up as an intern at a low-rated nightly news show only to find herself thrust into the spotlight and behind the anchor desk when her boss, executive producer Hugo Talley, has the Worst Week Ever.

Written with wit and charm, Rene keeps the pace brisk and the ending happy. The cynical and jaded might call it Fairy Tale HappyTM, but if you remain cynical and jaded after reading Scoop then something's wrong with you, maybe two things (cynicism and jadedness, perhaps, hmmmm). It's a fun book and might just soften up your hardened heart.

But let's throw to the questions. Quizmaster, take it away.
  1. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch gave the writing advice: Murder your darlings. Which darling was the most difficult for you to kill?

    Clyde from Ghost Writer.

  2. At one point in the novel, a typographical error causes Hayden Hazard to suddenly become the Austrian composer [Franz Joseph/Papa] Haydn (1732-1809). What did he think of our modern world and what did he have on his iPod?

    (Laughing) I have no idea. Don't know Haydn and don't own an iPod. Maybe I should brush up on my Austrian composers?? Or go hunt down my copy editor...

  3. Ray Duffey and the Underwear of Decency (great line, by the way): Boxers or Briefs?


  4. Hayden, like Mary Poppins, is "practically perfect in every way." But at one point in the story she quips that the audience loves her because "they don't know me yet." So which of these sins is lurking in the cobwebs of her soul: Wears white after Labor Day. Uses the wrong fork during the salad course. As a child, left the toilet seat down, greatly inconveniencing her brothers. Flosses in public.

    These are sins??? Yikes. I'm toast. [Chris: Okay, they're not really sins -- wearing white after Labor Day, maybe.] Knowing Hayden, she could pull any of these off without a problem.

  5. Which Hazard sibling gets the occupational treatment next book in the series? And anything else you'd like to tell...

    Next up is Mack, in Snitch.
Thanks Rene.

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Mikesell : 5:45 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Close Encounter

Last night as I was driving home from a wedding rehearsal a large something flew in front of my car. It was fully dark out and my first thought was, "woah, that's a honkin' big bat." (Phil had been watching the bonus materials on his Stellaluna DVD earlier in the day, so I had bats on my mind -- as opposed to in my belfry.)

The large something turned halfway across the highway and flew back the way it had come. I was close enough by then that it flew through my headlight beams. It was a dove. At a time, place, and season where no dove belonged.

No snarky "Roma Downey, is that you?" remarks. No flippant reference to the recent heavy rains and currently-receding floodwaters. Just a comment about a moment when I needed to feel peace and peace showed up.

Those of you who have been praying for me, thank you.

Mikesell : 12:37 AM : 3 snarky remarks

Friday, November 17, 2006

CFBA Friday: Scoop

If you're looking for a fun read of the almost chick-lit/somewhat mystery variety -- and who isn't, really? -- get yourself a copy of Rene Gutteridge's new novel, Scoop. The first in a series of ex-clowns finding life after the family circus (not the cartoon with Billy and Jeffy and Barfy, but a real family circus), Scoop tells the story of Hayden Hazard who winds up as a news department intern for a foundering TV station and finds herself in front of the camera when the nightly news anchor goes missing.

The narrative and dialogue are witty and fast-paced, the characters varied, and the plot keeps you guessing. Christian themes abound, the most prevalent: trust God. I found Hayden a bit too good; though I didn't feel the need for her to have a dark side, a character flaw or two would have help her be more believable as well as give her character a chance to grow over the course of the novel. I found Ray Duffey, one of the reporters and the guy you hope Hayden ends up with, a more accessible Christian character. A few plot points didn't quite work, I thought, but the discussion of aliases for the "secret informant" blew me away.

If you're a fan Chris Well's Kansas City Blues series -- and you really should be -- the pacing and attitude of Scoop will be right up your street.

I was hoping to have a full-blown Book Chat today, but Rene hasn't gotten back to me yet. If/when she does, I'll put it up. Meanwhile, find out more about Rene, Scoop, and her other novels at renegutteridge.com. (And don't forget to hit other stops on the Scoop Blog Tour. See the CFBA scrolldown for links.)

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Mikesell : 10:18 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lemme Hear Those Snaps

A couple poetry updates here.
Enjoy. <snap, snap, snap, snap>

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Mikesell : 10:28 AM : 1 snarky remarks


Thanksgiving is a week away. If you're stumped for a centerpiece idea -- maybe you stopped watching Martha when she got sent up-river, maybe you're a domestic diva all on your own but you're stumped, who knows? -- might I suggest incorporating this picture of Phil, taken at church recently.

Jazz it up by hot-gluing CornNuts around the edge, then spear it on one of those card-holding pitchforks that come with floral arrangements. Plonk the other end into a cheese wheel and -- voila! -- you have a centerpiece that's as delicious to look at as it is to incorporate into leftovers later on.


Mikesell : 9:22 AM : 0 snarky remarks

It's Quiet.

Too quiet.

The wind has been raging all afternoon. Coming home from church around 8:30 tonight there were a lot of branches on the road for our last ten miles -- one downed tree stretched across two highway lanes, making for a quick swerve over the double yellows and back (straight-away, no on-coming traffic).

Power cut out for about minute or so the other night (just long enough to set all the clocks a'flashing). Things are bright and shiny right now (well, incandescent at any rate -- it's 10:30p).

But will/can it last?

Here's hopin'.

Mikesell : 12:25 AM : 1 snarky remarks

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

McDonald's Monopoly: Final Thoughts

Today's the last day to redeem game piece codes in the McDonald's online Monopoly game. Of the ten pieces I played today I wound up on Chance or Community Chest eight times (that's 200 Snapfish photos). In the past week I've won over 1,500 Snapfish pix -- well, 750 after splitting them with my sister who sent me the codes. Do I even have that many photos of the boy?

Did I ever land on a non-Chance or -CC prize? Once. Last Friday I had a run of three or four doubles (throw doubles and you get to roll again) that landed me halfway around the board on Free Parking. My sister and I are splitting a $150 Geek Squad (Best Buy) gift card. Seventy-five bucks is seventy-five bucks (add to it the $30+ in Best Buy Bucks from the premium chicken strips/sandwiches and it turns into a tidy sum indeed).

Anybody else experience good fortune? Want some Snapfish pix? Lemme know in the comments.

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Mikesell : 12:30 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Get It on eBay

Dina has taken the first step into the online auction world with this Thunderbirds/Tracy Island Playset. We bought a bunch of Thunderbirds stuff (like a set of jigsaw puzzles) a few years back; toys to play with, toys to have as back-up when the first toys broke.

Most of the toys made it through safely, so we're clearing out some closet space (probably to make room for more shoes). Hence the eBay sale.

If you're at all interested, bid away. You'll be A++ in our books if you do.

(And, to get you in a high-bidding mood, enjoy this homebrew Weird Al/eBay video.)


Mikesell : 11:28 AM : 2 snarky remarks

The New Popular Picture

Hits from the shark picture have dwindled to one, maybe two, a day.

School bus and pumpkin picture hits have disappeared almost completely.

So what's the new picture bringing people to the site? The lawnmower go-kart: 1, 2. Not a whole lot of hits from those (five or six daily). Still, it's nice to have people stop by.

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Mikesell : 12:58 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Free AT&T Wireless Through Year's End

Granted, lots of places offer free wi-fi -- so this is less of a big deal than it would be otherwise -- but what if you're at the UPS Store or Barnes & Noble, which make you pay? Well, since they offer wireless service through AT&T and you've got this coupon code, it's as good as free (through December 31st).

UPS & BN are the hotspots in my area. Your locations may vary (McDonald's locations exempted). No time/frequentness restrictions listed on the coupon, so live it up -- at least until the clerk at the UPS Store gives you the hairy eyeball for making an office/fort out of their shipping boxes.

(via digg)


Mikesell : 11:10 PM : 2 snarky remarks

People Get Ready

Black Friday's coming. A dozen days away. Must. Stop. Hyper. Ventil. Ating.

Back in a simpler age you had to wait until the big fat Thanksgiving Day newspaper to find out what was going to be on sale at the mall the next day. Now sites like gottadeal.com and bfads.com leak the information early. Info like what? Read on.

Aunt Merlene looking for a Strait-Line Laser Level with 30' Range for Christmas? $4.99 at Ace Hardware.

Great Uncle Hubie sweet on Amy Grant but for some reason doesn't own any of her albums? Pick up Amy's "My Best Christmas" CD for $3.97 at Radio Shack. Yes, Radio Shack. Grab a handful of diodes while you're there to finish that robot you've been working on. World domination by New Year's, baby.

I have no idea what a "Fjadrar Inner Cushion" is, but if it's on somebody-you-know's wish list Ikea is practically giving them away for $5.99.

And don't feel limited to getting Christmas gifts. Someone you know need deworming? Tractor Supply Co. has a 25 lb. box for just over a dollar a pound (limit fifteen boxes). 'Course you can always wait until Christmas to give it to him/her, but sometimes it's nice to surprise a person with a gift "just because."

Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, and other stores you might really go a'shopping at on the day after Thanksgiving have ads posted, too. Wally's has an Easy Bake Oven for $10. (Mmmmm ... easily baked <drool>)

Mikesell : 8:33 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Saturday, November 11, 2006

CFBA Saturday: The Cubicle Next Door

This week the Christian Fiction Bloggers' Alliance is featuring Siri L. Mitchell's The Cubicle Next Door. Actually, everybody else blogged on it Wednesday through yesterday. Me, I'm a little slow sometimes.

For a couple good blog posts about Cubicle check out Katy Popa and Michelle Pendergrass's posts: Katy, Michelle.

For more from Siri on this and her other novels, visit her website.

If all goes to plan I'll have a book chat for next week's tour. Stay tuned.

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Mikesell : 3:44 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, November 10, 2006

Randy Ingermanson on iTunes

If you've noticed my LastFM tracker in the sidebar today, you've seen it's been dominated by writer Randy Ingermanson. No, you can't buy his novels in audiobook format at the iTunes store, nor has he taken up the pan pipes and cut himself an album. (Ove Ingemarsson, a tenor sax jazzman, does have a handful of tracks available at iTMS, though.)

Instead, I've been listening to selections from his Fiction 201 course. It's deeply discounted through noon Monday ($35 instead of $65 for download; CD-preorder is $55 rather than $105), so if the linked page sounds at all up your creek get it now. Good stuff? Oh yeah.

In addition to being able to listen via iTunes (or any MP3-playing program), you can fire up a web browser and follow along with PowerPoint-esque pages. The package also includes PDF files to follow along with while listening to the Proposals section. (Learning the art of proposal writing is one of the things that separates fiction-writing "sophomores" from "freshmen.") I haven't explored Randy's "Snowflake" method, but I know people who swear by it; Snowflake goodies are also included with the CD/download.

If $35 is too much to swing right now, be sure to sign up for Randy's Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine. Good stuff there, too.

Mikesell : 4:37 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, November 09, 2006

End of the Soccer Season

Tonight Phil's school hosted a pizza & dessert party to congratulate the three teams that suited up for soccer this year. Phil's 1st/2nd team wasn't the only one light on the older age group: the 5th/6th graders had only one middle schooler (even so, they went into the playoffs in third place out of six teams). All the teams were complimented on their sportsmanship, as evidenced by this picture of Phil clapping for someone who isn't even him.

Phil's team all got gloves with soccer-ball buttons on the back from their coach. I got a nice card and a bag of soccer-ball foil-wrapped chocolates for helping flag the ball out from the sidelines during the games.

Of course dessert was the big attraction of the evening. Phil went home well sugared-up ... just in time to wind down before bed. Oh well, he's off from school tomorrow, so if he's up a little late he can sleep in (please sleep in, please sleep in) in the morning.

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Mikesell : 10:28 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Nearly Everything to Chance

...and/or Community Chest.

The online McDonald's Monopoly game has gone crazy. Every day you can play the codes from ten game pieces (no longer availble, but my sister sent away for a bunch in the mail so we're working through her stockpile); the past few weeks I've landed on Chance or Community Chest far more often than seems right. Today and yesterday I landed six times (winning a total of 150 digital prints from Snapfish each day). On Tuesday it was four out of ten. Last week, when I used up the last of my own gamepieces, I went two-for-three and two-for-two winning ringtones not compatible with our cellphone.

My sister has had similar results this week and last (when the ringtones weren't compatible with her cell either).

Got gamepieces laying around that you haven't played online? Now would be the time to use them.

Mikesell : 10:43 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

How's It Goin'?

Yeah, it's like that here, too.

Mikesell : 11:40 PM : 3 snarky remarks

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


My poem "Transport" (Newlyweds experience teleportation for the first time--and get more than they expected) is now online at Dragons, Knights & Angels Magazine. It took third in their 2006 Poetry Contest, which ain't too shabby.

Originally the poem was subtitled "The Revelatory Love Song of Arthur J. MacArthur Prufrock," and while there's a subtle reference or two to T.S. Eliot's LSoAJP, the subtitle was ultimately jokey, so I let it go.

The theme for the contest was "Revelation" (how ever you want to define it), which the subtitle oversold (another reason to cut it).

Can't wait to read the first- and second-place entries (and the honorable mentions). When they come online, I'll let you know.

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Mikesell : 9:20 AM : 2 snarky remarks

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ridiculous, Sublime

Remember the show American Inventor? I stopped watching when the sandbag-filling contraption dropped out, but I liked the premise of the show: handy gadgets to solve problems you may not have known you had. Fortunately -- or unfortunately, depending on your point of view -- there were plenty of Schadenfreude moments, with inventions that either didn't solve anything or had been featured in the Lillian Vernon catalog since 1972. TechEBlog has cataloged five inventions that fit the former "what-were-you-thinking?" bill: 5 Gadgets You Don't Want to Be Seen Wearing. You really have to watch the YouTube video for the portable cell phone booth to appreciate its good-performance-art, impractical-gadget nature; the final invention is pretty high on the creep-out meter so you might want to stop at #4 (the shower belt).

In the sublime category (or about as sublime as we get around these parts), check out today's post over at Brandilyn Collins' Forensics & Faith blog: My Dear Gobdrip (an intercepted communique from Uncle Screwtape to Nevvy Gobbo). Good reminders (well, bad, actually, coming from Screwtape; good if you turn things around, though); thanks Brandilyn!

TechEBlog link via digg

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Mikesell : 10:45 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Making the Most of a Borders Coupon

Stopped by Borders this afternoon to see where I could blow my 30%-off coupon. The new Writer's Market guides were in -- yay! Among the multitudinous choices -- Poet's Market, Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, Novel & Short Story Writer's Market, Writer's Market for the Chicken Soup Lover's Soul -- was a Deluxe Edition. $50, but it included a year's membership to WritersMarket.com.

The Standard Edition is priced at $30, and a year's membership to WM.com also runs $30; so you're saving $10 right off the bat.

Subtract 30% and you're at $35 for the set. Not too shabby. Either you're paying full price for the book and $5 for the online membership, or full price for the online deal and $5 for the book, or $17.50 for each, or ... you get the idea.

Of course, then you get home and find out Amazon has it for $33 (incl. free shipping).

Still, it was nice to spend a late lunch at Carl's Jr. browsing the pages. And I've got a head start on the rest of you while you wait an additional 3-5 days for the book to ship (not to mention the actual transit time).

Then again, two bucks is two bucks. <sigh>

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Mikesell : 5:12 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The 2007 Models

One of my favorite websites South Texas Diecast Collectors has updated their Hot Wheels section with info on the 2007 models.

What am I looking forward to (based solely on their name)?And then there's #019: CCM. Whose face gets put on that: Amy Grant or Michael W. Smith?


Mikesell : 9:03 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, November 03, 2006

Borders Big-Money Coupon

Hey, no CFBA entry this week, but that doesn't mean you need to spend the weekend with nothing to read.

Save at least $3* with this 30% off coupon at Borders. Minimum $10 purchase. Not valid on Seattle's Best Coffee products. Membership required. Watch your mouth kid, or you're gonna find yourself floating home. Void where prohibited by law.

Expires 5 Nov.

*or as little as $1 if used to purchase electronics/video games, because, yeah, that's why you went to Borders ... for the electronics and video games


Mikesell : 10:43 PM : 0 snarky remarks

It's Friday ... But Tuesday's Coming

(apologies to Tony Campolo)

Just got word that my poem "Transport" is slated to run this Tuesday (7 Nov) at DKA.

Cool beans.

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Mikesell : 8:38 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Feel Free to Laugh

Okay, the time stamp on the LastFM widget in the sidebar may or may not ever get fixed. But after The Village People's "In the Navy" played shortly after 9am today, the time stamp is probably the least of my worries.

Yes, I have some really bad music in my iTunes library. And since iTunes is shuffling nearly everything (audiobook-type things are deselected), it's all gonna come out sooner or later. Most likely sooner.

I've put a link below the widget linked to comments for this post. Feel free to rag on me (yesterday's ABBA and Enya -- how'd you like to introduce those two, Mr. Letterman? -- moments were prime opportunities to laugh at my expense).

Also, I take requests. Want me to listen to "Rainy Days and Mondays"? "I Started a Joke"? Waylon Jennings' "Dukes of Hazzard" theme song? Ask away. (The BeeGees will involve a donation to charity on your part beforehand, but I'll listen to it if I've got it.)

And if you've got/are getting a LastFM account, lemme know.

Mikesell : 11:49 AM : 4 snarky remarks

A Little Wilbur to Start Your November

It's another Wilbur post over at Scenes & Beans. Not one of mine, but don't let that stop you from checking it out.

So ... check it out, already.

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Mikesell : 11:22 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


What Would Chris Listen To?

I'm sure that's a question you're constantly wondering. Wonder no more ... or less ... or whatever. I've added a widget to my sidebar (right below the Google ads) which is supposed to show the most recent five songs I've listened to.

Supposed to, but the widget is a) frozen at the moment (clicking will open my LastFM profile, which is updating) and b) set to GMT (so subtract eight hours).

Anyone know how to solve either of those problems? I promise I'll do my best to not hit you in face with a pie should we ever find ourselves in the midst of a full-scale baked goods war.

And if WWLLT (What would Linda listen to) is another concern of yours, check out Linda Gilmore's page.

Mikesell : 4:31 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Read for Free ... Pay $5

After a little light hacking (replacing issue dates in the URL), I found the online newsletter that last week ran my sister Julia's article: Cruising with Dietary Restrictions. Check it out.

She's already received two fan letters:
"I’m usually too lazy to tell you how much I enjoy your newsletter, but this time I just had to say thanks for the “Cruising with Dietary Restrictions” article." --K.S.

"Thank you for the article "Dining with Dietary Restrictions on the Disney Cruise Line" written by Julie Mikesell. It was well written and informative. We have multiple severe food allergies in our family. ... Our family has always been wanting to take a Disney cruise, and this article has reassured me that we will be able to dine on the cruise with confidence that our needs will be met." --A.L.H.
Julia has also received at least one request to reprint the article in another newsletter.

In other news, The Wittenburg Door has announced the table of contents for its Nov/Dec '06 issue. My short's on the list:
2007 CCM Concert Forecast
Coming to a medium-sized venue near you: Reliant K.C. and the Sunshine Band!
But it's not available for a free read online, sorry. Gotta buy it to read it. From the selection of freebies this time around, it looks like everybody's ox is going to be gored multiple times.

Can't wait.

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Mikesell : 9:45 AM : 2 snarky remarks