So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Saturday, March 31, 2007

This Boy of Mine

Phil spent much of this past week (Spring Break!) at a dey camp program in Eugene. Who else but my child would, when presented with a face-painting opportunity, choose not a cowboy or a spider or the Iwo Jima flag raising, but this? I am so proud.

Dina sent off these other pictures of Phil and a new styrofoam plane: 1, 2. (You can tell it's new because it's still in one piece.)

I'm not sure if he's trying not to squint into the sun or just making a goofy face in this pic, but whatever, he's doing a real good job at it.

Love that Phil.

Also, please note that I'm trying a new photo hosting service, PhotoBucket.


Mikesell : 4:50 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Save the Scout, Save the World

Among the many wonderful things about the Dallas Metro area is that it's home to the Wittenburg Door, the world's pretty much only religious satire magazine. Last week I stopped by their offices and met managing editor Harry Guetzlaff and publisher Ole Anthony, among others -- great place and great people.

During lunch Harry mentioned that he thought I'd be a good match for the now-weekly Wittenburg Insider newsletter. In addition to short snarky comments about religious shenanigans, they were looking for timely original material playing off events in the news, too. They'd handle the short snarky comments, but I was welcome to submit the other.

Anyhoo, a lost boy scout story was hot last week, so I played with the idea of "what if" it were an AWANA scout instead. Wrote up a sample item and queried if that were the kind of thing they were looking for and wound up getting published in this week's issue!

Shout outs to my sister Julia for her arcane Starbucks knowledge and nephews Will and Nick for going to a Hot Topic so I'd know where the youth of today hang out (no longer the Boorman's Banjo Hut (and Porch Discount Annex!) as it was back in the day; good to know). Thanks to the team at Wittenburg for picking up the story, too.

[Archived Newsletter]

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Mikesell : 7:12 AM : 3 snarky remarks

Monday, March 26, 2007

Oh Yes I Did

On the way to church yesterday a CD of rat-pack era songs was playing. Sinatra and Witchcraft, Louie Prima and Banana Split for My Baby, Sammy and I Ain't Got Nobody.

I wondered aloud why Mr. Davis, Jr., wasn't singing Buddy, Ain't Got No Eye. But I'm tacky like that.


Mikesell : 8:56 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Finding Yourself in Dallas, Texas

This morning I joined the chucklehead crew heading off to Krispy Kreme for breakfast. Good stuff.

Better stuff, however, at the Central Market next door. Mike-sell's brand kettle-cooked potato chips. We got the regular, Bahama BBQ, and cheesy chipotle styles. Mmmmm.

I've told Phil if a kid tries to bite him he should say, loudly and with confidence, "I am not food." But if we were, darn but we'd be tasty.

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Mikesell : 7:13 PM : 3 snarky remarks

The Other Missing SouthParker

I thought I had put Phil's South Park character up with mine on the first day of SPc postings. Not the most correct I've ever been

So here he is: my soccer-loving, teddy bear-hugging, Heat Miser hair-having, Jedi Viking superhero boy.


Mikesell : 12:42 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Change of (E-mail) Address

While I am in Texas I can still receive my casco.net e-mail, but replying is a pain. (I can use their web-based system, but it's a hassle.)

So please update your address book to my gmail address: chris.mikesell and-then-that-AT-sign gmail.com

Thankos mulchos.


Mikesell : 10:39 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Avuncular Lone Star Webfoot

So except for the South Park posts [1, 2, 3], things have been quiet on the blog lately. Here's the deal: I have relocated myownself down to Richardson, Texas, to look for work.

Here are some questions you may be wondering (with answers on odd-numbered questions):
  1. Is this temporary?
    Could be.

  2. How do you make cheese?

  3. Could the move be long-term?
    Yeah, that too.

  4. Where do baby earthworms come from?

  5. Are you and Dina split up?
    Only geographically. She's staying in Oregon at present, transitioning the conference center to whatever comes next (a whole 'nother set of questions I really can't answer) ... and then who knows.

  6. If a train leaves Chicago heading south at 10:42a on Thursday and a Trailways bus leaves St. Louis heading north at 11:59a and both travel at an average speed of 47 mph -- OK, knock it off.

  7. What's the deal with the boy?
    Phil is finishing up first grade and brave-soldiering it with Dina. He will be coming out to visit this summer (maybe stay ... who knows). He only let me come out here because he knows it means he'll get to stay with his cousins when he visits.

  8. No, seriously, where do baby earthworms come from?

  9. Texas?
    My brother and his wife generously offered me their eldest son's room. Living 30-45 minutes from jobs in Oregon meant it wasn't possible to find work that would cover the gas and other expenses involved in taking a job (being rested and ready-to-go didn't make up for having been "out of work" for seven years when seeking jobs that would have kept me in the Eugene area). Here I'm within walking distance of several good-sized decent employers (including SuperTarget and Staples), and Vespa distance of a lot more than was available in Eugene. Even if I get a fuel-efficent car to travel by free/tollway, right now other expenses are minimized.

  10. If you say "I'm telling you for the last time" repeatedly, is that called "making a multimatum"?

  11. I really want to know where baby earthworms come from, can you help me?

  12. Knock, knock?

  13. You sound uncertain of a lot of details. Is that about right?
    Yeah. A lot of stuff feels made up as we go along. But we're trusting that this is the right thing to do for right now. Later some other right thing may come along. God knows what's what. As for us ... we'll see.

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Mikesell : 9:31 AM : 3 snarky remarks

Congrats Angie!

Webfriend/editing partner Angie Poole has a short story up at Infuze: A Stone's Throw. It's an "Aunt Myrna" story, so you know it's gonna be good. (And it is.)

Way to go, woman!

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Mikesell : 7:10 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Missing SouthParker

Made a South Park character for Dina last night. Looks like this.

And, not that cartoon characters of family aren't a fabulous thing to blog about over the course of three days, but I'll try and have something more interesting in the next day or four.


Mikesell : 11:16 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Meet More Family, South Park-Style

My nephew Will went and made South Park characters for his family. They are:
He made South Parkers of my parents, too. My dad. My mom.


Mikesell : 9:05 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Monday, March 19, 2007

It's a South Park World

Following the lead of the Bertrands and the Pendergrasses and the Schultzes, I stopped on by the South Park Studio and whipped up my own creation.


And on those days when things are not going well (...or are they...), it's more like this.

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Mikesell : 6:38 PM : 4 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Infuze Anthology Winners Announced

My poem, Saint Francis and the Birds, was not the top winner on the poetry side of the contest, so no free anthology for me. But I did make the top ten, so I will be in the book. How 'bout that?

Expected release date is sometime next month. No word on price or ordering info yet. (Stay tuned.)

Read the announcement, including the list of Top 20 authors (10 poems + 10 stories), at Robin Parrish's blog.

And everyone who voted, especially those who voted for my poem, thank you very, very, very, very, veryveryvery, very much.

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Mikesell : 3:15 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Vote Against Me

Doritos has a "Beyond FlavorDome" kinda thing going. Two new flavors enter, only one new flavor leaves. It's BBQ Cheddar vs. Wild White Nacho. WWN doesn't taste any different/better than regular nacho, so beyond not staining your fingers orange (which isn't really a flavor) I don't see the point.

BBQC, on the other hand, mmmmm ... good eatins.

Which is why y'all need to vote for the nacho flavor. If BBQ wins I'm in big trouble cause I already got rid of my fat pants. (Yes, I can get new fat pants, but that's not the point.)

So, please, vote against me. Vote Wild White Nacho.

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Mikesell : 2:21 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, March 12, 2007

One of Those Great News/Could Be Worse News Things

We met with Phil's teacher this afternoon to go over his report card. Excellent scores in everything. Well over the 100-word mark in the one-minute story reading test. Does math well, too; that's nice to know given how much he balks at homework. His ability to shut out classroom distractions and focus on his work has improved, which was something he was struggling with last time around.

In the could-be-worse department, while we were in town celebrating Phil's grades our Subaru started whining when we put it into gear. At first only from a stopped postion, then a little bit going into second. A loose belt/tensioner thing would be an ideal thing for our mechanic to diagnose when he gets in tomorrow. A new clutch, less ideal. As much as this isn't on my list of things to go wrong this week, it's even more not on next week's list or the one for the week after that. If it had to go fritzy -- and apparently it did -- better now than then. So thank you, God, for that.

How was your hodgepodge Monday?


Mikesell : 11:50 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, March 09, 2007

MySpace Blog

I've decided to take advantage of the blog feature at MySpace to call attention to my writing. Not a whole lot there that hasn't been printed here before, but if you want to take a look, check it out: My MySpace Blog.

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Mikesell : 8:04 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mikesell Family Pride Points

In the past we've used Hot Wheels to reward Phil for good behavior. Then it got to the point where he expected a new car every week whether he'd been especially good or not. Now roughly $50 a year for a (fairly) well-behaved boy isn't a bank-breaker, but the number of cars becomes overwhelming and when they're expected as a matter of course, that doesn't go over very well.

So we're stealing a behavior-mod thing from Phil's school. (Hey, our tax dollars paid for it in the first place, right?) There they earn Laker Pride points which are redeemable for junk the kids bring home and grind into the carpet. We're using Mikesell Family Pride points to control the intake of new Hot Wheels cars. Right now Phil gets points every day for doing the following:
75 points gets him a new Hot Wheels.

The other behavior mod thing they do at his school is give "bubbles" for bad behavior. His teacher has little angel fish decorations, each bearing the name of a student. Bad behavior and she draws a "bubble" coming out of the student's fish's mouth. Each bubble gets them a time-out. Four bubbles, a trip to the principal's office. Or something like that. I don't fully understand it other than bubbles are bad.

We haven't had to implement this yet -- the threat of "do we need to give you a bubble" still works. Though it draws stares if we ask it loudly in public.

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Mikesell : 11:17 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Darn Good Borders Coupons

Yeah yeah yeah, light on the content today. Not making money at your expense this time, plus I'll buy you a cup of coffee.

Okay, not so much buy you a cup of coffee, as allow you to acquire one at no cost above and beyond the first (more expensive or equally priced) cup you buy. That's right, it's a two-fer deal at Borders. (Some restrictions apply, read the fine print.)

Also this week they've got a 30%-off-any-item (with $10 purchase and even more restrictions than the two-fer) deal. But hey, it's 30% off (almost) any item, boxed-set CDs/DVDs/books (apparently) included. Those chocolate truffles at the check-out counter, too (provided you buy $10 worth).

Enjoy! (Use the coupon(s)? Share what you got in the comments, thanks!)

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Mikesell : 11:18 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Helloooo China! What Do You Call Your Food There?

Last week, author Brenda Coulter blogged about her site being banned in China. I checked my blog and it got through. And since then I've noticed a lot more traffic from the People's Republic that is not Eugene, Oregon. Seven visitors since noon today (odd traffic pattern: 2 visits within a minute of each other, two more visits within a minute of each other 20 minutes later, and then an hour after the first visit 3 more within a minute ... hmmmm ...).

Whatever, welcome. Jesus loves you. Enjoy your stay.

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Mikesell : 4:05 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Free Antivirus Software ... and More

Need antivirus software? Need to keep a tight rein on your cashflow? In that case a free download of Norton Antivirus may be just what you need.

Available to PC users in almost 20 countries this offer also includes optional downloads of Google Desktop Toolbar, Screensaver, and Picasa; Ad-Aware anti-spyware software; Mozilla Firefox web browser; Adobe Reader; Skype; and more. All the optional software programs are regularly freebies, but a bundle can be a nice option, too.

Check out freeantivirusinfo.com (sponsors of this post) and see if the deal sounds right for you and your PC. The software comes from a Google.com site, so you shouldn't need a virus scanner to scan the download of the virus scanner (which if you had in the first place you wouldn't need to download the software in the second place ... ow, my brain ...).

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Mikesell : 3:02 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Big Book Giveaway

I'm in the process of clearing my bookshelves. Too darn many books. If you want a book and it's in my discard pile, it's yours.

I'm just not going to tell you what-all's in there.

So take a guess in the comments. If you win, I'll be in touch. (Should the title appear on eBay at some point, this offer will be null, void and otherwise no-good for that book.)


Mikesell : 2:31 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Waking Up and Facing the Music

As I mentioned earlier, I have a new alarm clock. Plug an iPod in and wake to the song of your choosing (or, if you set it to random and fast forward to near the end of a song, you can be surprised).

Tried a rousing number from the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack. Tried Archie Bell telling me that he and the Drells, from Houston, Texas, dance just as good as they walk. Neither are particularly bad choices, though doing the Tighten Up first thing in the morning is recommended by only 1 out of 5 physicians. (You really should stretch first.)

Last couple days I've gone with Percy Faith's (Theme from) A Summer Place. (I always thought this was a Henry Mancini tune, but it's Max Steiner. Also, there are words ... who knew?) Nice to wake up to, not quite engaging enough that you'll keep listening instead of hitting the snooze bar. Just what I like in a wake-up call.

I think I'm going to have to create a playlist of "alarm clock" songs, though. Scrolling to the middle of the Ts takes forever.

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Mikesell : 12:23 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Hole in None

Phil had a visit to the dentist this morning: six-month cleaning and check-up. Got to wear a funky mouthpiece full of minty fluoride foam, which was new for him. Two sets of x-rays 'cause the processor ate the first set. (I'm hoping the extra radiation will give him superpowers, ultra-roomcleaning would be nice.)

Long story short? No cavities! Yay!

He also got to run through his comedy act which consists of these riddles:
What did the baby porcupine say to the cactus?

Why did the piece of toast go to the doctor?

Why did the left hand go to the doctor?

(Put your best guess(es) in the comments.)

Phil put on two shows. A matinee for the hygienist and the full-act (including the third riddle) for the dentist. (The hygienst stayed for the second show, too.)

Yeah, good times all around.

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Mikesell : 4:25 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Submission #4 and Finding My Niche

Sent in another short story last night, so that's four for the year. First one came back "no thanks." Second is going to a review committee (yay!). Third (the non-fiction, taxes) has been accepted (and paid!).

So number four is out there. And five should be out by the end of the month. (Six and seven -- and, long shot, eight -- should be out middle of April.)

Working on the submission last night I had to come up with a cover letter and author bio. Not my favorite part of the process. Since it was a contest I used a 1-sentence pitch instead of full-blown letter. Think I found my niche in summarizing who I am for the bio, though:
Chris Mikesell writes for guys, but not in the sense that some people work for food...

Not exactly Seatbelt Suspense, but it's a start.


Mikesell : 11:43 AM : 1 snarky remarks

Saturday, March 03, 2007


The other day Phil described how he made the cookie-on-a-stick treats he brought home from school after his Valentine's Day party.
  1. Take two heart-shaped cookiebuns and spread caramel on one side of them.

  2. Make them like a sandwich with a stick in the middle like a lollipop.

  3. Dunk the cookies in melted chocolate and sprinkles.

  4. Let the chocolate dry.

Needless to say, the boy has a new nickname.


Mikesell : 10:02 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Friday, March 02, 2007

Bus Stop Songs Phil Wishes I Wouldn't Sing

Phil and I usually get out to the schoolbus stop a few minutes early, giving me a chance to  embarrass him  start his day with a song.

So far, these haven't gone over very well (not that that stops me from singing them):
(to the tune of the Love Boat themesong)
The Love Bus
Taking you to the School of Looooooove
The Love Buh-us
[at which point Phil usually hits me]

(to the tune of Here Comes the Sun)
Here comes the Bus
Here comes the Bus
and I say
["Ow!" 'cause this is where he hits me again]

I do requests, so if you've got one you'd like me to take for a spin, list it in the comments. (The Hollies's Bus Stop is a bit too on-the-nose, sorry.)

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Mikesell : 9:46 AM : 2 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Supercar Is Ours (Among Other Things)

When Phil was a toddler -- and we got our Subaru Forester -- he called it (and all Suburus he recognized as such) a Supercar. As of last month we finally paid it off (I thought we had another payment, but apparently not).


I also went back to Kohl's this morning and found a better selection of nice shirts on the clearance racks without post-Christmas stainage. Picked up five.

Also got a nifty art deco-esque alarm clock that wakes to iPod. (Now I just need a track of applause to wake to, like in ... was it Just You and Me, Kid? Pretty sure George Burns was in whatever it is I'm thinking of.) Also works well as an iPod speaker unit.

Got yourself an unexpected goodie or three? Do tell.


Mikesell : 6:22 PM : 0 snarky remarks