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The Romantica I’m Not Googling

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This week’s internet hygiene tip for smart boys and girls of all ages: be sure to practice safe Googling.

I received this email from my publisher’s publicity assistant:

Great news! People can now pre-order The Mighty Quinn. Here are the links: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mighty-Quinn-Robyn-Parnell/dp/1938063104/ref=sr_1_20?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350928793&sr=1-20&keywords=the+mighty+quinn  

Barnes and Noble (the cover image should be up soon): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-mighty-quinn-robyn-parnell/1112095494?ean=9781938063107 

And another interesting piece of news to go along with this is that evidently there is an erotic novel series called The Mighty Quinns… And so when you search “The Mighty Quinn” on Amazon or B&N, your book gets lodged right in the middle of some saucy covers. Not the most ideal placement, but perhaps we’ll just suggest people search your name instead.  

Where is a deep, protracted, “Oh, myyyyyyyyy” when I need it?  Oh, yeah, right here.

But of course, I had to do my search and check out the source of those alleged saucy covers. I found Harlequin Blaze a certain publishing imprint, which describes itself thusly:

                 You like it hot! (Our) stories sizzle with strong, sexy heroines and irresistible heroes playing the game of modern love and lust.
They’re fun, flirty and always steamy. 

Ah, as in, Lifetime Channel aficionado core porn? Excuse me for using the p-word; the genre prefers to call itself Erotic Romance, or Romantica.  And, indeed, the series cover “art” features various square-jawed, pectorally-enhanced men[1], most of whom seem to be battling (but not too successfully) the genre-specific, shirt-be-gone malady.

The idea that a searcher for my book may encounter (from The Mighty Quinns: Marcus):

                                                                Boat restorer Marcus Quinn is not going to sleep with the infamous Eden Ross he tries his best to ignore her topless sunbathing and blatant teasing. But when that fails, what else can he do but give her exactly what she’s asking for–frenzied, brain-numbing sex?

 is reason enough to send me into frenzied, brain-numbing my Happy Things file, and confer a Pretty Purple Toe to…well, to me.  And to The Mighty Quinn.  Singular, please.

*   *   *

Whaddya mean, there’s nothing to celebrate this weekend?

Notable birthdays on October 26 include

- Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary and founder of the Red Army, 1879
– Mahalia Jackson, “The Queen of Gospel” singer and civil rights activist, 1911
Felix the Cat (the wonderful, wonderful cat),   1917
– Wheel of Fortune host and Vanna White’s drinking buddy, Pat Sajak, 1946
– Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State and world-renowned texting-maniac, 1947

*   *   *

Smarter People Than Us Said This

- The truth will set you free.  But first, it will piss you off.   (Gloria Steinem)

- If 50 million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.  (Anatole France[2])

*   *   *

It’s been quite the week, both personally and politically, and no rallies for wisdom or reason or common sense in sight.  One of the few things I find more relaxing and sanity-restoring than doing Tai Chi, reading a good book or contemplating the diverse criteria for categorizing farts[3]  is the bestowing of the Asshat of the Week award.

So many worthy recipients come to mind.  Nominees include:

-The conservative/Republican/fundie/non-uterus bearing Indiana senate candidate who attempted to justify his grievously mistaken notion that what goes on in a woman’s uterus is any of his bid-ness by proclaiming that even a pregnancy resulting from rape is something his god “intended.”[4]

-Perennial Lady Asshat[5] Sarah Palin, who was mysteriously silent[6] on fellow wingnut whackadoodle  conservative pundit Anne Coulter’s use of the word “retard” to refer to President Obama , despite the fact that when then White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel used the term, Palin wasted no time in seizing the spotlight, and called for Emmanual to be fired.

About the r-word.  After Anne Coulter’s spew, a mutual friend of MH and moi posted a FB link to an article that addressed how most people still don’t get the gum-flapping about using “retarded’ as an insult.  That night MH and I had a rumination-worthy dinner conversation about the subject.  In that calm, trying-to-appreciate-the-issue way of his, MH dared to postulate that people (in particular the teens, including our own, we’ve heard rib friends about having, say, a “retard” idea) never envision an actual, mentally retarded or developmentally disabled person when they use the word to tease a friend.[7]  MH rhetorically wondered/wanted to understand why other people find it hurtful, or claim insult for another person or category of persons, when the word is not directed at them.

Earlier that day I’d read a commentary about the incident on a British newspaper’s website.  The article began  “… it should come as no surprise to anyone that Coulter used terms that were idiotic and offensive.”  Well, now, I said to moiself.  I’d bet that many people, even those who decry using retarded as an epithet, would not hesitate to declare that a politician who preaches about divinely intended rape pregnancies is an idiot, and his ideas moronic.  And they’d likely do so with nary a thought as to the origins of the labels.

Moron and idiot are/were rankings on the Binet Scale of Human Intelligence ,and indicated intellectual deficiency based on IQ score ranges, with the respective orders of moderate and profound.[8]

Perhaps, MH speculated, it is just too recent in history that retarded was both a medical description and an insult, but idiot and moron have been out of the medical lingo long enough not to ruffle feathers in the same way.

Yet again, I digress.  The business at hand:

I’d read the excerpts in online newsmags about a certain cartoonist blogging his endorsement of a certain presidential candidate.  Surely, they must be wrong, I thought.  Had to go to the source to discover that no, Toon Guy wasn’t quoted out of context.  And the context, yikes.

In a recent blog post  Scott Adams[9] spends a good deal of time enumerating President Obama’s failure on what seems to be the key issue for Scott Adams.

We grapple with increasing world population growth and climatologically induced natural disasters and extricating ourselves from ill-planned wars and a possible nuclear Iran and the continual rumblings of other conflicts in the Mideast and around the world and a tenuous economic recovery and the burgeoning social, cultural, political and economic divide both abroad and here at home…and the deciding factor for Adams?  The Obama administration’s upholding and enforcement of existing Federal laws governing medical marijuana dispensaries.

So while I don’t agree with Romney’s positions on most topics, I’m endorsing him for president starting today.

Uh….yeah.  Because nothing says rational decision-making like voting for someone you think is wrong about most topics.

And so, with a lusty, pungent inhale, asshat bong-head of the week goes to Scott Adams.

*   *   *

With all the hoopla-doodle-doodery  as Armageddon the election approaches, I yearn for a combination sanity/humor break.  Has it really been two years since the The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear took place at the National Mall in D.C.?

The rally, as those of you who were sober may remember, was co-led by The Daily Show host Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (who stayed in-character as his Colbert Report conservative political gasbag analyst).  The purpose of the rally, besides being a send-up of a certain, prevaricating talk-radio show host’s[10] ironically titled “Restoring Honor ” rally,[11] was to have some fun promoting the idea of civil, reasonable social and political discourse — you know, the kind of dialog favored by most intelligent, thoughtful, good-natured folk, in contrast to the fear-mongering and irrational shrillness of the more vocal and extreme political voices which manage to dominate the news.

After the rally I remember spending more than a few I-should-be-working hours minutes perusing the online photo collections of people who’d attended or covered TRTRSAOF.  Revisiting the list of homemade signs carried by (and/or t-shirts worn by) the rally attendees still brings a smile to my cynical heart, and will do the same, I hope, to yours.  It is in that spirit I share some of my favorites:

Use your inside voice

I Disagree With You But I’m Pretty Sure You’re Not Hitler

Make Awkward Sexual Advances, Not War

I scare Juan Williams at Airports (sign carried by a Muslim woman)

ALL CAPITAL LETTERS MEANS I’M SERIOUS

Down With Zippers

I Masturbate And I Vote (But Not Usually At The Same Time)

Facts Are Like Opinions Except They’re True

Reality Has A Well-Known Liberal Bias

We Disagree But I Still Understand I Mustn’t Stomp Your Head

What Exactly Is In That Tea you’re Drinking?

THREE WORD SLOGAN!  THREE WORD SLOGAN![12]

I Want My Country Forward

I Fought Nazis And They Don’t Look Like Obama (sign carried by an elderly man)

If You Keep Shouting Like That You’ll Get Big Muscles All Over Your Face

Confused Senior Citizens For Sanity

Christine O’Donnell Turned Me Into A Newt!

I hate taxes.  But I like:  roads, firemen, some cops, traffic lights (except red ones), national parks, the coast guard, etc.  so I pay them anyway.  Oh yeah, I hate war too.

Frustrated
Arizonans
Rejecting
Tea

More Beer Nuts, Less Paranoid Nuts

…and take it off CAPSLOCK

The Mad Hatter called.  He wants his tea party back

WTF, I thought I voted for a Muslim?!

I like tea and you’re kind of ruining it

Don’t be a douche

Even my sign chooses not to yell

Obama is not the devil, I am
(carried by a woman wearing a devil costume)

I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals flaming

I want more tortillas when I order fajitas at a restaurant

Is this the line for Justin Bieber tickets?

Eggs are white.  Obama isn’t.  Breakfast is RUINED.

Stop Americans from stealing our jobs

100%  randomly searched at the following airports
(t-shirt with picture map of us with all major airports highlighted, worn my man with cobalt blue turban and long curly beard)

Bacon is good for me

The sign is too damn BIG

We should do this more often

My arms are tired

404 error political message not found

(Sign attached to a beagle puppy’s collar):  I am not afraid of Muslims, tea partiers, socialists, immigrants, gun-owners, gays…but I am kind of scared of LARGE BIRDS

Am I acting suspicious? (sign carried by a man wearing a Sikh turban)

Lions and tigers and Muslims, oh my

I am pretty sure that god hates us all equally

I already regret choosing to carry around a sign all day

I’m mad as hell but mostly in a passive aggressive way

End Glee theme nights

I see smart people

My name causes national security alerts.  What does yours do?
(shirt worn by Muslim teenager)

When I think about Christine O’Donnell I touch myself

God hates TimesNewRoman

I am the next generation responsible for you in your old age – FEAR ME!
(sign held by toddler sitting atop his dad’s shoulders)

Floridians
Against
Rational
Thought

I left my hyperbole at home

The rent is too damn high

Somewhat irritated about extreme outrage

Does this shirt make me look Muslim?

If you’re not using your braaainnzzzzz can I eat ‘em?  Please?
(shirt worn by zombie)

I shaved my balls for this?

Ironically, this rally is insane.

*   *   *

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Alone, or in a suggestive embrace with a lissome crotch clutcher

[2] French poet, novelist, journalist, Nobel Prize Winner, and all-around quotable dude

[3] Screamers:  High-pitched, tight-sphincter offerings, often of astonishing duration and tonal variations.

[4] What is it about religion that compounds political stoopidity? Never mind; I already know.

[5] Sounds like a pop star moniker, doesn’t it?

[6] Okay, Sarah Palin remaining silent on any issue, for any reason, should be a cause for unilateral rejoicing

[7] However, Coulter really was directing the “retarded” at developmentally disabled voters

[8] The scale has been revised several times since its inception, with moron, imbecile and idiot replaced with words deemed more descriptive of a scale of intellectual deficiency, such as Beck, Coulter and Limbaugh.

[9] Dilbert comic strip creator and infamous internet sock puppet, who seems to enjoy nothing better than (a) to warn readers of his blog that they are going to misunderstand what they read and (b) issue condescending apologies for confusing readers with his cogent blathering proclamations.  Because, you know, people are too obtuse to appreciate his genius.

[10] Why is it always the lying, slandering, chickenhawk Glenn Becks of the world who loudly squawk about “honor”?

[11] I think Stewart in fact denied that particular motivation for the rally.  But, really.

[12] Actually, that was a chant, not a sign

The Tomatoes I’m Not Throwing

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The gentle, good-natured voice on the phone identified himself as the Opinion Editor of our city newspaper.  He’d recently returned from vacation and had only now seen the letter to the editor I’d submitted two weeks earlier. The letter was re the paper’s feature article on how three of Hillsboro’s public high school four football coaches regularly meet with a religious evangelist, whom the coaches allow to meet with the football players in pregame “chapel/prayer/meditation sessions.”

(My communiqué[1] synopsis:  Proselytizing; public schools, Establishment clause, WTF?)

Gentle Opinion Editor said he liked the tone of my letter, and that I’d taken the time to thoughtfully address an issue other than which candidate for state treasurer was in fact an accountant for Satan the various and ubiquitous electioneering rants.

GOE said he wanted to publish the letter. Okey-dokey, I said…but…from one writer to another, how you intend to edit it? GOE said there would be no editing – it would be run in its entirety as a Guest Opinion column, and not a mere letter to the editor.  And since I would be a columnist for one shining guest moment, he also wanted to run a photo of me.

“A photo of the author,” hmmm-ed the notoriously camera-averse moiself. “Ah, yes, so when the I-am-so-offended readers[2] want to hurl the rotten tomatoes they’ll have some idea of which face to aim at. Good thinking.”

As per his request I emailed him a photo, which he kindly acknowledged:
Thank you for the photo and for submitting your guest opinion in the first place. As I said, it was a nice change of pace from the flood of political endorsement (or partisan attack) letters we receive at this time of year.

Later that day, as MH, Belle and I scrounged for substitutes for The Dinner I was Not Cooking, we exchanged how-was-your-day stories and I told them about my upcoming Guest Columnist gig.

“When will it be published?” asked Belle.

“The editor said it would go ‘live’ Thursday morning, online.”

“The paper’s online edition?”  MH gave me a reassuring, the-tomatoes-will-never-find-you grin. “No one but the trolls will read it.”

*   *   *

Blogging, it seems to me, is going to be a lot like having your own school newspaper column.  Which I had, when I was in high school.  The column’s name was suggested by the newspaper’s editor-in chief, who was also a friend of mine. Her nickname for me, Parnal (rhymes with carnal), was a dis-utterance of my last name, Parnell.[3]  “Parnal Knowledge” appeared on the Op-ed page of every issue of the Santa Ana High School’s “The Generator” during my senior year.

I didn’t get paid for writing that, either.[4]

*   *   *

In a radio interview this past Wednesday, Tagg Romney[5] said that during the most recent debate he wanted to rush the stage and “take a swing at” President Obama for telling the truth calling Mitt Romney a liar. “But you know you can’t do that,” said Tagg (who chortled with all the sincerity of a Stephen King-penned whackadoodle trying to reassure the authorities that he’s a-joshin’ kind of macho man and didn’t really threaten the POTUS), “…first because there’s a lot of Secret Service between you and him…”

Yeah.  Bring it on, duuuuude. Because nothing says call Special Ops—this is one tough M-F, badass daddy-defender like a like a war-supporting/military service-avoiding, 40-year-old whiny trust fund baby who hauls his man parts around in magic tighty-whities.[6].

Thus and without further ado, the Asshat of the Week[7] award goes to the eldest Romney male clone. Tagg, you’re it!

*   *   *

Let us now pause to remember this stupid day in history.

October 19, 1739: England goes to war with Spain over disputed border lines in Florida. The War is known as the War of Jenkins’ Ear because the Spanish coast guards cut off the ear of British sailor Robert Jenkins.

*   *   *

The Guest Columnist interlude provided a short but sweet distraction from the week’s pressing task at hand: proof-reading the ARC[8] copy of my middle grade novel, “The Mighty Quinn.”  I need to get the edits back to the publisher by the end of this week, and good-naturedly carped about the chore to a witty and wise attorney, blogging mentor and fellow writer friend, SCM:

Have you ever been sick, sick, sick of reading your own writing?”

SCM recently did some free-lance work for an e-publisher, copyediting some really, really, atrociously composed genre fiction. She shrewdly pointed out that, indeed, although there were times she hated reading her own writing, it is better to be  sick, sick, sick of reading your own writing than to be truly nauseated by reading someone else’s.[9]

*   *   *

The afore-mentioned Dinner I was Not Cooking

Most Americans, likely and sadly, associate the name Aleppo with news of the ongoing bloody battles between the Syrian Arab Army and armed factions of the Free Syrian Army for control of the historic Syrian city. From my privileged perch of safety, I continue to think in culinary terms when I hear “Aleppo.”  Aleppo peppers, grown in the Middle East, are named for one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.  When dried and crushed the peppers look like a slightly smaller, more burgundy-colored version of dried red chili pepper flakes, packets of which are required by law (or so it seems) to accompany pizza take-out orders. In “hotness” rankings Aleppos are milder than other dried chilis, and have a unique, fruity, cumin-raisin like flavor…with a kick. You can find Aleppo pepper in specialty groceries or spice stores. I got my stash at the Portland’s Pezney’s, a great place to wander around and wonder how you ended up at the checkout counter with 15 varieties of mustard seeds in your grocery basket.

Sole with Aleppo Pepper (serves ~ 3-4)
- 2T EVOO
– 1/4 c finely chopped yellow onion
– 1t Aleppo pepper (more or less to taste)
– 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
– 1 lb Dover sole filets, cut into chunks
– 1/2 c finely diced cherry, pear or plum tomatoes
– 1/4 c + 2T crumbled feta cheese
– 1/3 c evap. skim milk (or cream, if you’ve a yeah, so? relationship with your arteries)
For finishing:  some chopped fresh Italian parsley and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

1.  Preheat oven to 400.[10]

2.  Heat the EVOO in a cast iron skillet[11] and sauté onion until it softens (~ 4-5 m).

3.  Add Aleppo and garlic; sauté 30 seconds.

4.  Add sole, tomato, evap milk; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 m, or until sauce thickens.

5. Transfer skillet to oven or, if you prefer a fancier serving dish, pour skillet contents into an oven-proof baking dish (But really, who are you trying to impress? The kids and/or your spouse won’t care, your friends don’t need impressing, and there’s no casserole dish nice enough to distract your in-laws and/or parents from thinking , Yep, she’s going to serve us yet another one of her foo-foo concoctions that smell like foreign food – organic, schmanic, why not just broil a hunk of meat and open a can of peas?)

6. Either way, bake the dish uncovered for ~6-8 m, until sauce is bubbly.  Remove pan from oven, sprinkle with the feta, return pan to the oven for another 2 m.

7.  There is no step #7

8. Sprinkle the dish with the parsley and lemon juice and serve.

*   *   *

Whaddya mean, there’s nothing special to celebrate this weekend?

October 19, 1945, is the birthday of Harris Glenn Milstead.  Better known as his stage name, “Divine,” the flamboyant transvestite starred in ten John Waters films,[12] and would have been 67 today had he not died 25 years ago from an enlarged heart.

Divine holds a special place in my normal-sized heart ever since we shared an elevator ride in our nation’s capital.  I was in town on a business trip, installing a computer system at WWDC.[13]  The groundbreaking radio station[14] was located in a high-rise office building in downtown D.C. One morning after returning from our daily get-away-from-these-crazy-radio-people fresh air break, my installation partner R and I boarded an empty elevator in the building’s lobby. The elevator stopped at the next floor, and Divine and his PR agent (or so I guessed, from what I heard of their conversation) got on.

Although he lacked his customary stage attire and fright wig, the bald, 300 lb, self-proclaimed “Drag Queen of the Century” was (for me, at least) immediately recognizable. He was in full, eyebrow-elevating makeup, and looked petty much like the above picture, despite his oddly conservative attire of a Hawaiian shirt, khaki pants and brown loafers.

R and I observed proper Elevator Etiquette and rode in silence, me using the elevator doors as a focal point as I tried  to suppress my shit-eating grin.  R stole several furtive/suspicious OMG glances at Divine, who chatted with his agent about an upcoming promo appearance.

The men exited the elevator two floors before our stop. As soon as the elevator doors closed I turned to R and gushed, “That was Divine!

R’s cheeks nearly exploded with the force of her sputtered retort: “That was disgusting!”

Turns out R had no idea who Divine was.

I explained. It didn’t help.

Hilarity ensued.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Communiqué, for any of you keep-prayer-in-schools fans, is Communist for “letter”

[2] “THAT’S the femnazi atheist witch who wants to dropkick our Lord out of the end zone!”

[3] (pɑrˈnɛl, stress on the second syllable).

[4] See my rant in first blog (10-10-12) re how there are too many ways for writers to write sans payment.  How important must I be, that I am able to reference myself?!

[5] Tagg Romney; Track & Trip Palin– what’s with neocons’ we-be-hip spawn names?

[6] Devout Mormons believe their “temple garments” are sacred and provide protection from the world’s evils, which apparently include the ability to form distinctive personalities and choose outer garments other than those pictured in a 15-year-old JC Penny catalog.

[7] A grateful Yee-Haw! to MH for graphics/logistical support way beyond the call of duty

[8] Advanced Reader Copies, aka, “galleys,” are copies of a book distributed 3-6 months before the book is officially released, to give reviewers, libraries, etc., as promo tools and to give an idea of what the final book will look like.

[9] No footnote needed.  Move along, folks, there’s nothing here to see.

[10] Yes, as in ˚Farenheit.  What else would it possibly mean?

[11][11] You don’t have a cast iron skillet?  You’re not still using that toxic, Teflon/nonstick jive, are you?

[12] Most notably in “Pink Flamingoes,” as Babs Johnson, the film’s “Filthiest person alive,” dog-excrement eating heroine (just imagine what the film’s villains had to do).

[13] A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I worked for a company that designed computerized “traffic” systems for radio and television stations.

[14] “DC-101″ was the first American radio station to play a Beatles song: “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” in December 1963.  DC-101 was where DJ Howard Stern was paired with news anchor Robin Quivers and honed his “shock jock” persona.

The Blog I’m Not (not) Writing.

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THE BLOG I’M NOT WRITING

- Do you know what Annabelle’s doing now?
- A blog.
- Of what?
- What do you mean “of what”? A blog of Annabelle.  Of every thought that passes through her brain. Her stupid, vapid, insipid…I could write a blog!  I have thoughts! 

(from Julie and Julia, written and directed by the late great Nora Ephron)

*   *   *

You should write a blog; you’re a writer!
I can’t believe you, of all people, are not blogging.

*   *   *

The name of this venture is inspired by my favorite Patty Larkin song, as well as my long-held reluctance to never do…what I’m apparently doing.

I wasn’t going to write a blog, for myriad of reasons.[1] The #1 reason is that you don’t get paid for doing it. There are many, many ways writers don’t get paid for writing.  I’m not keen to take part in yet another.

Professional  excuse reasons?  Despite the plethora of trade publications and associations desperate to sell you a plethora of social media tutorials, a dirty little realization among social media-proficient fiction writers is that author blogs do not sell books.

Perhaps the reasons are more personal; as in, keeping a journal of some sort?  Wait a minute: what about a new way to communicate and reflect on life, one that, if done with discrimination and  integrity, might aspire to be a form of entertainment for readers, more than just a regularly updated entry of events, transactions, or observations, or a chronicle of excessive self-contemplation?  What about an informational and personal site, a log of sorts, published on the web…log…web…log…. 

Why hasn’t someone thought of this before??!?!?!

Reluctance, schmuctance.

I surrender, at least temporarily, to the culture of social MEdia.  After all, I am so significant, my every thought must be documented, and ME is too vast, too important for a mere private journal. I must announce it for the world to see.  Think of what I’ve been missing – what you’ve been missing. No longer shall we live without me posting my every reflection on the smell wafting down the hallway from the unscooped litter boxes.[2]

So, yeah, that will also be the blog I’m not writing.  I’m still refusing to join the tumblr-ing tweeting twats and don’t care to see someone’s pinterest pictures of their pinworms.  A relative latecomer to Facebook, I am a sporadic and not particularly competent FB poster and commentator. And despite me sticking another toe into what I once heard described as the “vast ocean” of social media, the waters I’m testing still remind me of those that pool on portions of the nearby Tualatin Valley Highway after it rains.  From a distance it can look like the deep blue sea, but the closer you get, you see that it’s just a really, really, big puddle – wide, but shallow.

Now that I’ve lowered your expectations to fit my comfort level….

Ground rules/expectations:

1.  I shall attempt to post every Friday.
2.  Except when I don’t.
3. There shall be some regular entertainment features.  Perhaps even recipes:

Now that the Autumn chill is setting in, it’s time for a
Hot pepper jelly glaze and sauce to warm the cockles of your heart

- 2-3 T of your favorite hot pepper jelly (Republic of Jam’s habañero Hellfire & Jamnation is what floats my boat)
- 3T orange juice; 2T fresh lemon or lime juice; 1t low sodium soy sauce
- ~1 c nonfat regular yogurt, drained over a fine mesh colander, or NF Greek-style yogurt 

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Amounts are approximate.  Taste and adjust to get the consistency, flavor and tongue-tickling (or burning) sensation you desire. Use as an accompanying sauce and/or finishing glaze for pan-seared or grilled tofu, chicken, catfish… 

Wondering what to do with the homegrown, truncheon-sized zucchini your vegetable-gardening neighbor foisted off on so generously gifted you? Thinly slice the zucchini, then add it to the compost pile and ask yourself, What was I thinking? Don’t even consider wasting a yummers hot pepper sauce on a vapid, overgrown zucc.

4.  Or maybe just pretty pictures of my mascot.

Everybody loves a new, shiny blue mouse

(everyone loves a new, shiny blue mouse)

5.  There will be the occasional link to recommended books, films, TV shows, videos and music (my daughter made me promise never to link to that Friday song she so loathes )
6. I shall not excessively write about nor embarrass my offspring.
7. Except that it is my parental obligation to embarrass my offspring, or so said the instructional pamphlet that was attached to their respective placentas.
8.  I shall try to respond to insightful and respectful comments, despite my fear of entering into dialog that would take away from what I actually should be writing….
9.  Although I’d’ have to have a certain critical mass of readership before the fear expressed in #8 would be a problem; thus, problem #8 may solve itself by never arising.
10. I am not going to censor myself.
11. Except when I do.
12. This list has no item #12.

*   *   *

The working title of this venture was The F-Blog.  F for Friday, and for the first thing that came to my mind when I realized I might actually try this out (like the world needs another F-ing blogger?).  Also, I am a fan of so many things F [3], including:

- the Fab Four; Tina Fey; flippancy, footnotes [4]; fermentation; forty winks; feasts; FAQ; flamingoes and flamenco; facts; fart jokes; friends and family and felines…

I am fond of many, but not all, F-things.  Some I find downright dreadful to even consider.  Fistulas?  Ick.  And please, don’t feed me fennel.  One especially unpleasant, recently acquired F-thing is partly responsible for me having time to ruminate about finally doing a blog – a fracture (luckily not a femur or fibula).

But I digress.

Although The Blog I’m Not Writing is not the F-Blog it will frequently reference a few of my favorite F-follies:

1.  food
2.  feminism
3.  freethought
4.  frivolity and festivity
5.  fiction feats and frustrations
6.  whatever the f-word is for politics and/or current affairs
7. – 50. there are no follies numbered 7-50.[5]  Oh, but just you wait.

Is it obvious that I enjoy making lists?  Pity, that activity doesn’t start with an f.

*   *   *

This is getting rather wordy for a first post.  I warned you, I’m new at this.

*   *   *

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
 (Henry David Thoreau)

Or in my case, that require learning new jargon.  I have about a 50 second attention span for tech logistics; they tear me a new one with boredom.  Thus, please excuse the glitches that will inevitably arise.  This won’t be the flashiest blog you’ll read.  But what it will lack in bells and whistles it will make up for with rubber chicken pictures.

*   *   *

Searching the sites, seeking advice for newbie bloggers.  Introduce yourself, they say.

There are blogs I follow on a sporadic-to-regular basis, and I’ve enjoyed reading some of the personal details behind the public opinions. Even with that in mind, composing an author’s bio blurb is one of my least professional favorite tasks.  I’ve been thrown for the proverbial loop when a few editors have requested detailed, personal info along with the standard publication history.  Moiself, I’ve little interest in the personal lives of authors.  Should knowing that a writer spends their spare time volunteering at the Corgi-doodle rescue association affect my appreciation of their latest haiku novella?

Neverthemore, one and all, they clamor for the amazing story of me.  For a meet-the-author blog bio, I need to have some fun to stay on task.  Some of the following is true:

I am the second of four children and the middle daughter, which means I am destined for either ground-breaking gender role usurpations or middle management in Tupperware® Sales.  Orphaned in a tragic Slip ‘n Slide® accident, I was raised by ospreys in Santa Ana, CA.  I live and write in Oregon, in a mid-sized city whose motto is, “Yeah, fine, so we’re not Portland, but at least we’re not Oxnard.”  My blood type is a deep, viscous red, with a bouquet of sun-ripened marionberries.[6] [7]  I like walking along the roses at sunset and always stop to smell the beach.  I’m afraid of anything Fifty Percent Less Filling, of having a supercilious award title (Winner of The Condoleeza Mae Brown Faulkner Prize for Fiction in Support of Social Change and Diverse Personal Hygiene) appended to my name, and of having to pronounce words like supercilious in public.  In my spare time I annoy PETA members by campaigning for the extinction of the spineless weasel.  When not working on innumerable fiction projects I study state and federal Articles of Incorporation, in hopes that by December 2016 I will have opened the doors to “A Goddess in Every Garage,” the nation’s first feminist political consulting firm and[8] auto repair shop.

*   *   *

What else can I add that is of relevance?  I am a W-O-M-A-N, one who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan,[9]  a writer of fiction, a Southern Californian by birth and Oregonian by choice.  I check the decline to state options when a survey asks me to choose my age, racial/ethnic identity, political affiliation and income categories.

A brief introduction to my family, using their respective noms de blog.  I’ve been married to my husband[10], the lovely and talented MH, for 20+ years.  I am the mother of the national average of 2.06 children, that I know of.  For the .06 I count our four cats, two snakes, innumerable house spiders and dust bunnies.

Son K is a college freshman, daughter Belle a high school junior.  My progeny will undoubtedly, inevitably, find their way into subsequent posts.  For now, suffice to say they are the inspiration for my most recently acquired, custom-made [11] bumper sticker:

Proud parent of students
who do not need their academic achievements
bragged about on the back of my car

There are more bumper stickers.  There will be more bumper stickers.  Many more.  Be afraid, be very afraid.[12]

Thanks for stopping by.  Tune in next week, as hijinks ensue.
Au Vendredi!


[1] Okay, certain person out there, Shelley, enjoy doing your Gloaty Dance (For those unfamiliar with the concept,  it’s like the Antler Dance, only less dignified).

[2] Yep, plural.

[3] I know what you’re thinking. Elevate your mind from the gutter.  Right now.

[4] See?

[5] Yes.  Oh, but just you wait.

[6] A yummers  blackberry cross, a mix between the ‘Chehalem’ and ‘Olallie’ berries, developed at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

[7] Yummers = really, really, lip-smackingly delicious. A modifier cross, combining the “yummy” adjective with the surname of the Balmer Word Scientists institute in Manzanita, Oregon.

[8] Nothing to cite.  Just seeing if you’re paying attention.  A gold star for you!

[9] I never do, but I can

[10] How convenient is that?

[11] with a grateful nod to the late, greater-than-great, George Carlin

[12] Did you know that people who read footnotes tend to have higher IQs and mintier breath than non-footnote readers?

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