Sunday, October 30, 2011

Botox, Wireless Mess, and Some Zesty Sauce

Here at Unintimidated, we like to mix it up sometimes. We will unexpectedly change our writing style, for example. Like right now, with the way we're using first person plural pronouns, even though everyone knows there's just one of me.


Something else we like to do is point out things we find amusing. Several weeks ago, we showed you a cookie wrapper that struck us as ridiculous because it used the word "decadent." Here is a little packet of fry sauce with another silly word:


This is actually pretty good, whatever it is. We like BK's foodstuffs.


Exactly what does "zesty" mean? It's a word nobody (and we do mean nobody) ever uses in regular conversation. It is only used to describe things like fry sauce and salad dressing, on their packages and in advertisements. If you are not a sauce maker or advertising person, we'll bet you've never spoken or written "zesty" in your life. Correction: there's one other product it's associated with (sort of), and that's Zest brand soap. "You're not fully clean unless you're Zestfully clean." So the same word that's supposed to tempt us to dip our onion rings in this sauce also encourages us to lather up in the shower. We guess that's okay, as long as we don't get the two products mixed up.




This struck us as ironic and kind of stupid:


Spotted inside the Weber State University library

It's ironic because we usually think computer network upgrades involve replacing clean, quiet electronic devices with slightly more sophisticated clean, quiet electronic devices. If it's a wireless system, what's causing all the commotion? They must be running new cables or something through the building.


When there's remodeling going on, it has become very conventional to put up a sign that says "Pardon our dust," or "Pardon our noise." Here, someone used both. As you should know by now, we're not big fans of stale convention. "Pardon our [whatever]" was clever the first 900 times it was used. Now it's just dumb, like the old, tired "Got [insert your product's name here]?" that everyone under the sun copies from the milk ads. Try to be a little more original, folks!




Here's a clipping from an absurd online banner ad:


This mom now has a newfound zest for life!


Are we supposed to believe that's a real before and after photo? A three dollar "trick" can take your looks from 97-year-old Cardassian to teenage Katie Holmes? Reasonable skepticism is one convention we embrace here.


...


Finally, on an unrelated note, we feel it's time for another edition of Stuff George Carlin Said. This is one of our favorites from him:


"Here's a word you don't see anymore: foodstuffs. I wish it would make a comeback."


We like "foodstuffs" because, although it isn't a necessary word, we feel it has subtleties of meaning that "food" lacks. And we think it's fun to say.



Friday, October 28, 2011

And Now, My Dislikes

Five days ago, I wrote a list of things I really like. Now, to keep the universe in balance, I'll give you my dislikes. Again, in no particular order:


Rosie O'Donnell

Most rap music

Soggy bread

Clowns

Barbershop quartets

Tomatoes

Crappy American cars from the 1970s and early '80s

"The Age of Aquarius" by 5th Dimension

"White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane

All stupid hippie music

Infomercials, and most anything they sell

Aggressive drivers

Sean Penn

Filthy, obese women who shop at Wal-Mart in pajamas and ridiculous house slippers

Paper cuts



You might notice that I didn't create any hyperlinks in this list. That's because...

1) To get the URLs I'd have to search for this stuff, and I don't want any of it on my computer screen, even for a few seconds.

2) Links would only tempt you to click and check out pictures, videos, etc. of my most hated stuff. I don't want to feed visitors to any of this stuff. I hope it all goes away forever.

...

I also thought of a few things I want to add to the LIKES list:

A bed with warm covers and a cold pillow
BMW motorcycles, past and present
Pee-Wee Herman (Don't judge me!)
The Bullwinkle and Rocky Show
Good books of all kinds
Amanda Peet
Cheese

...

If you agree with me on any or all of these, leave a comment. If you disagree, definitely leave a comment. If you have no opinion, but you just feel like leaving a comment, by all means...



Monday, October 24, 2011

Posthumous Lessons From Steve Jobs

According to a book I bought a few months ago, one good way to attract interest in a blog and build online community is to get an early scoop on a buzzworthy news story. In spite of this advice, I’ve never been inclined to write about current events here at Unintimidated by Convention. (The book also suggested choosing a short blog title.)

I’m making an exception now because I took genuine interest in an Associated Press story about Steve Jobs. AP reporter Michael Liedtke got an advance copy of Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Jobs, which was released today, and he wrote about Jobs’s striking animosity toward Google, which he accused of corporate theft. Jobs personally mentored Google CEOs, and their two companies previously enjoyed good rapport. But, according to Isaacson, Jobs later accused Google of stealing their Android mobile phone operating system from Apple, and he declared a willingness to “spend my last dying breath… and every penny of Apple’s $40 billion… to right this wrong.” Clearly, he felt strongly about the issue.

All this is well documented, and I doubt there’s much breadth I can add to the story beyond what Isaacson and Liedtke have already published. But I want to give my personal take on the situation, hopefully adding to its depth in a few areas.

As I read the AP story this morning, two things immediately came to mind. The first was a four-line stanza from “Elegy Written in Country Churchyard,” a beautiful 18th century poem by Thomas Gray:

     The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
        And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
     Awaits alike the inevitable hour.
        The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Indeed. Doesn't matter if you're worth billions, at the head of the decade's most successful company, and revered by countless followers all over the world. When it's your time to go, there's nothing anyone can do about that.

The second thing I thought about as I read was the group of questions raised by Jobs’s accusations and how Apple, Google, and the legal system will respond. Just because Jobs is no longer with us to push the issue does not mean the alleged corporate theft will be ignored. Perhaps Google will be barred from selling any more copies of Android and ordered to pay Apple eleventeen gazillion dollars. Or the two companies will settle on a licensing agreement. Or perhaps someone will prove Jobs’s accusations to be baseless, the offhanded ramblings of a dying paranoid.

I think none of this matters as much as the tender feelings of any one survivor to whom Steve was a son, brother, husband, father, or friend. To them, he is more important than all of his accomplishments combined. But he is no more or less important to them than any retired bus drivers, middle-aged waitresses, or 22-year-old struggling college students are to their respective loved ones.* Another stanza from Gray’s elegy goes like this:

     Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
        Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
     Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
        The short and simple annals of the poor.

I will try to remember that what I do for my family and friends every day is worth more than all the Google Androids in the world, and I hope everyone reading this understands the same is true of their priceless lives. 


This gang is the reason I drag myself to work every day
...and run straight home every night.



* Or a 40-something government employee who sits down with his MacBook three or four times a week to write something on his little blog with a big name—add him to the list.

...



Love my blog but want more cowbell? Wish I would fall into an abyss, or at least throw my laptop in? Feel I should have chosen 12 pt. Arial instead of 14 pt. Verdana? Comment below! I’m not a mind reader.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just File This One Under Miscellaneous

I'm due for a post, but I don't have anything elaborate prepared, so I'm gonna cop out with a few relatively pointless short entries. (Ugh! Has this once-intelligent blog already sunk to that level?) I promise to write something more substantial soon.

...

Several weeks ago, I told you about a disappointing Italian dinner the wife and I had. Tonight we made up for it by enjoying an absolutely wonderful meal at Biaggi's in Salt Lake City.

I had this:

FARFALLE ALFREDO
Grilled chicken, bowtie pasta, roasted red peppers, crispy Italian cured ham, sautéed red onions and peas tossed in our Alfredo sauce with Asiago cheese.

And Celeste chose:

FETTUCCINI WITH LOBSTER
Black fettuccini tossed with lobster, wild mushrooms and a homemade lobster-cream sauce.


Everything there was great: classy atmosphere, delicious food... even reasonable prices. And a server named Crystal took very good care of us. I highly recommend this place!

...

I'd now like to publish my first entry in a feature I'll call Stuff George Carlin Said.

I've already quoted him a few times since starting my blog two months ago, indicating that I really like him. There's a vast store of his material available, so I will periodically put up a short (or maybe not-so-short) quote with a few words of my own commentary. For the premier edition, I've chosen a one-liner:

"Did you notice that several years ago everything got different?"

Yeah, I've often noticed that and said, "What happened? I liked things how they were!" And yet, in some ways everything is the same as it ever was. Weird, huh?

...

Finally, to help my readers (both of you) get to know me a little better, here is a list of 39 more things I really like, in no particular order:

Ray-Ban sunglasses

Willie Nelson


Ice cold Coca-Cola in glass bottles

Helicopters

Lasagna and garlic bread

Ruger single action revolvers

Springtime


Hemingway

Log cabins

Monty Python

Peanut M&Ms


Starry nights in the mountains


Robert Frost's poems



Albert Camus' The Stranger

Pretty much anything they sell at REI

Tolkien

M.C. Escher

Khaki cotton slacks

Plaid flannel shirts


Pralines and Caramel ice cream

Walking my dog on a leash


The sound of a radial aircraft engine

Word games

The Once and Future King by T.H. White


Steam locomotives


Australia


Dutch oven cooking




That's enough for now. Later I'll give you a list of things I really dislike.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Brevity

Brevity, the art of getting one's point across in as few words as possible, is not one of my strengths, but I'm working on it. William Strunk wrote the book on writing style (literally... it's called The Elements of Style) and always advised his students to "Omit needless words!"

I meet lots of people who could use this counsel.

I think people try to sound more important by using lots of big words. It doesn't work; they just sound awkward.

In an editing class I took a few years ago, we looked at examples of excess wordiness and practiced correcting it. One egregious phrase that stuck in my head from that exercise is "due to the fact that." Why is it so horrible? Because it means the same thing as "because." Any time you can replace five words with one, DO IT! I still cringe every time I read "due to the fact that..."


We don't find wordiness only in writing, but in speech too. I recently heard Dick Cheney give an interview on Laura Ingraham's radio show, in which he made many sins against brevity. Here are a few, followed by my comments:


"...legitimate policy differences, not meant or intended to be personal attacks..."
Really, Sir? They were neither meant nor intended that way? 


"...everybody's desire to want to end the conflict [in Iraq]..."
I wish we could all hope for a stronger inclination to strive for that desire.


"...what was going on in that part of the world at that period of time..."
Here, he used fifteen words when he only needed four: "what was happening there."


Mr. Cheney, I respect you and admire some of your accomplishments, but you're not impressing me with your verbal diarrhea. Jeff Boomhauer is better at getting to the point.




The problem is not just with using too many words, but sometimes too many syllables. I've recently heard the following from friends and coworkers:

  • "You're banded to the small desk!" Banded? First of all, the word you want is exiled, not banned. Secondly, it's just banned. You let an extra D sneak in there.
  • "We've had way too many incidentses lately." I can see how this one arose. It's a hybrid of incidents and instances. These are both valid words, but you can't put them together and expect intelligent listeners to take you seriously.
  • "I got all the names you asked for and the other data, and I collagated them." This is my favorite! Collagated? Isn't that a brand of toothpaste? You can use it to polish your saxomophone.

I could go on and on, but that would be ironic, something this blog is not meant or intended to be.


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Love my blog but want more cowbell? Wish I would fall into an abyss, or at least throw my laptop in? Feel I should have chosen 12 pt. Arial instead of 14 pt. Verdana? Comment below! I’m not a mind reader.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Grab Bag No. 3: I'm Part of the Atari Generation

I've been writing a weekly grab bag post consistently every three weeks, give or take two...


Which means it's time for another. The topic of this one is video games, but it's a short one because I'm not really what you'd call a "gamer."


- I had Columbus day off from work, and Mrs. Christensen and I spontaneously decided some of that free time should be used to get the band back together. By "the band" I mean Rock Band, our family's favorite use for the PlayStation. We searched the house but could not find two pieces necessary to make the drums work, and the guitar was not in great shape either. What to do? Simple! Go out and buy all new instruments. We now have a better guitar, wireless drums, and a new microphone to boot! (They come as a set.) It's great to be an adult. Kids and teens have to save for months or beg Santa Claus for something like this. We just had to reassign a hundred bucks from the grocery budget. (Maybe it was the car insurance; I'm not sure.) DON'T JUDGE ME!


- While at the game store, I took a few minutes to browse the used discs and spotted a cheap copy of Lego Star Wars. We picked it up for our boy, Caleb, and it's a huge hit! This is a video game based on a toy that's based on a movie... I want a T-shirt with this game on it!


- George Carlin once said that violence on television only affects kids whose parents act like television characters. I tend to believe this theory, and I'd like to apply it to video games as well, but have you seen what goes on in some of those games? Shocking. There's a big debate over this topic, and a lot of research is being done. I side with those who believe games are more harmful than TV to young minds because you are an active participant in the game; you don't just watch it, you interact with it.


- I was thinking about the old Pong console we had 30-something years ago, which we hooked up to our 13" black and white TV. I wonder how much that unit would bring on eBay today? No doubt several times what it cost new. (I can still picture its simulated wood grain housing and big mechanical switches and dials. They just don't make 'em like that anymore.) I recall being just as entertained by it as by the Atari 2600, the Super Mario Bros. on NES, and every increasingly sophisticated game that followed, up to this day. In another 20 years when we have holodecks in our houses, I doubt I'll find them much better than any of these. Marshall McLuhan's claim that "the medium is the message" holds true here. A video game is a video game... they're all fundamentally the same as each other, and different from all books, movies, etc.


That's all for now. If you need me, I'll be rocking out. Or maybe stacking Tetris blocks.


...




Love my blog but want more cowbell? Wish I would fall into an abyss, or at least throw my laptop in? Feel I should have chosen 12 pt. Arial instead of 14 pt. Verdana? Comment below! I’m not a mind reader.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

No, Really, It's ALL Good

I recently wrote about my boy Caleb’s interesting spin on Christian doctrine. Last night he threw out another one that made me say, “O-Kaaaay…?”

Here’s how our conversation went:


Caleb: Hey Dad!

Me: What?

Caleb: Guess what!

Me: What?

Caleb: A long time ago, Jesus made asteroids come down and kill all the dinosaurs.

Me: Jesus did that, huh?

Caleb: Yeah.

Me: O-kaaaay…?

I don’t know how we got onto the topic. It just came up out of the blue. Something else I’m not sure of: whether he’s totally confused, or he’s found a brilliant way to reconcile creationist and scientific views.



Presumably, Caleb’s unfaltering belief in Jesus (the “greatest superhero ever”) as a destroyer would be matched by faith in Him as the creator of all things, including dinosaurs. So his asteroids-as-a-divine-dispensation theory suggests the almighty creator did what—made a mistake? Hmm, these giant lizards were a bad idea. No problem, just kill ‘em all and start over. This opens up a big, messy paradox. (God would cease to be God if he were not perfect, all-knowing, and all-powerful. But this is a topic for another discussion.)


Copyright © 1991 by W.W. Norton & Co.
I noted examples of similar views in a paper I wrote a few years ago for a literature class, on Voltaire’s Candide. This picaresque novella (Yeah, I just used that phrase. It’s okay—I’m an English major.) satirizes the “deterministic optimism” of Enlightenment thinkers, whose philosophy, greatly simplified, held that everything comes from God and therefore everything is good. (Try to refute either of these tenets, and you get caught in the paradox I mentioned above.)

Cunegonde, a beautiful, innocent young lady in Candide who buys into deterministic optimism, describes the invasion of her castle. She begins with the following statement:

“I was in my bed and fast asleep when heaven chose to send the Bulgars into our castle…”

She then explains how the invaders raped and kidnapped her and chopped her family to pieces. But it’s okay, because this was all “a mere matter of routine.” Cunegonde doesn’t question the justice of anything in this world—even rape and murder—because she’d been taught that everything comes from God. The possibility that the Bulgars acted on their own free will does not even occur to her, and she cannot differentiate between God's allowing something to happen and His causing it to happen.


Caleb holds some beliefs comparable to Cunegonde's, but he applies them to much less personal situations. And he does not think deeply about these things; he just believes in dinosaurs and in Jesus, as do I.


...


In hopes of stimulating some reader involvement, I'd like to throw out a challenge. Let's see who can be the first to correctly identify a line from Rod or Todd Flanders (I'm not sure which) on The Simpsons that reflects a belief like Cunegonde's. Hint: Study the episode "My Sister, My Sitter."


You may comment below or send email to me at bchristensen1970@gmail.com. I would offer a prize for the winner, but I don't have anything that seems appropriate to this game, so you'll have to settle for praise and recognition in a future update here. Go to it, Simpsons fans and online research wizards!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Awesome Parents and Other Reasons My Life is Great

My mother stopped by yesterday to take my number one daughter, Sarah, out for her birthday. A couple things that prove Mom is awesome:


- She was able to help Sarah find an entire ensemble for less than 50 bucks. They got a skirt, a shirt, a sweater, and even a necklace. It all fits Sarah--both her body and her sense of style--and she LOVES it! Do you know how difficult this is?


- I was away at the time, so I didn't get to talk to her, but when I came home there was a little surprise waiting for me on the dining room table. What did Grammy leave? Not a nice loaf of banana bread or something she'd knitted. It was a box of .30-06 cartridges from Dad. (For my non-gun-savvy readers, this is rifle ammunition.) So her visit made both Sarah and me happy.


Nothing says grandmotherly love like rifle ammo.
...


Last night I took number three daughter, Lydia, out to a haunted house. I haven't been to anything like that in decades, and I was among the oldest 4 or 5 percent in the crowd of hundreds there. But it was kinda fun, and it made me feel a little younger.


...


I got thinking about how many cool things I saw this summer, and it's a pretty good list:


1) On Memorial Day, World Superbike races. This is (as the name suggests) an international event that draws the world's best motorcycle road racers. True story: The series includes races in several countries throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, but it makes only one stop in North America, at Miller Motorsports Park near Tooele, Utah. I went there with Jack, my newest and most Japanese bro-in-law, and we had a really great time. As part of the whole multi-day event, we even got to see a live concert by Creedence Clearwater Revisited. This is the band that spun off from Creedence Clearwater Revival, and they are very good.






Images are all © Esben Bøll, a friend from Denmark who visits the U.S. each
summer, touring by motorcycle and documenting his adventures in photographs.



2) Over the Independence Day weekend, I decided to go for a motorcycle ride of my own. I loaded up some camping gear and headed to Wyoming, taking in Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks and the surrounding area.


On rides like this, I make a point of taking the roads less traveled.
This is along Tin Cup Road, a.k.a. Hwy 34,
through the desolate S.E. corner of Idaho.  
The Tetons are my favorite mountains, and I visit them every chance I get.
I stayed one night at Colter Bay Campground, and the
next morning got to see the sunrise over the bay.
The intrepid traveler in his element.
Returning to the subject of my parents,
it was Dad who introduced me to this place.

I'll forever be thankful.
In Yellowstone, I saw all the typical attractions, including
some wildlife. (This guy could use a good combing.)
Here I am reflecting on the wild landscape--or vice-versa.
On the higher passes through the park, there's still
plenty of snow in early July!
Yellowstone Lake. Does it get any better than this? I don't think so.
On the second night, I camped in Cody,
a great town filled with stuff like this.

Cody loves rodeos, and they have their biggest ones over the July 4th weekend.
I didn't get any good pics of the cowboys, but here are some of the rodeo royalty
and a USMC mounted honor guard during the opening ceremony.
I also got to see a parade. These guys are AUTHENTIC.

Beartooth Mountain in the background.
The road leading to it (Beartooth Pass) is
among the world's most beautiful drives.
In this territory, Spring goes into July. Everything is green,
and the rivers all swell above their banks. This was especially
true in 2011, when we got even more precipitation than usual.


3) The last weekend in July, number two daughter, Keely, and I rode to Kemmerer, Wyoming for the Oyster Ridge Music Fesitval. This is becoming an annual tradition for us.


We could have driven the car, but the motorcycle is more fun!
Keely is not as uncomfortable as she appears, although neither
of us had room to stretch out.
...
Here is Mike Mangione and the Union.
We saw several other great bands, including
The Brothers Comatose, The Mighty Regis,
and The Mother Hips.


...


These are only a few highlights, and we had other good times this summer. In summary, it's been a great year. I enjoyed some camping, some concerts, and even some motorsports, most of it with people I love. Life is great!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Leave a Comment... Or Not.


My apologies to anyone who’s tried to leave comments here and found that to be more trouble than it’s worth. I’m not arrogant enough to believe lots of people read this blog and like it so much they want to be a part of it. But a few friends have told me they tried to comment and couldn’t get that feature to work.

Here’s what I think is going on:

My evil plot to rule the world through blogging has been co-opted by Google’s own (much more successful) plan to conquer the known universe with the help of bloggers like me. You could say I’m in their downline. Apparently you need a membership with Google (Blogger’s mother ship) to leave comments here. My friend Wayne didn’t have any trouble with it, but he’s a full-blown, card carrying tech geek, so he already has a membership to every online service that exists. The rest of us just want to go to the bottom of the blog post, type a few words of agreement, encouragement, hatred, confusion, or other feedback, then input that CAPTCHA thing to prove we’re not spambots, and voila!—comment added. Why is this so much to ask?

I wrote a letter to try to get help, but I’m not sure where to send it:


Dear Blogger/Blogspot/Whatever You Prefer To Be Called Now,


   I really appreciate your help setting up Unintimidated by Convention.  Since I don’t know anything about computers, I could never have done it without you. But my friends and followers (I use these terms very loosely) cannot post comments without becoming part of your virtual empire. Could you fix it so anyone who wants can comment without first getting a Google ID?



Your Humble Servant,
Brian


I’ll keep working on this. In the meantime, if you already have a membership, please comment. If not, it really doesn’t take long to set one up. I’m just sayin’…



P.S. You can always write to me by email. I'm at bchristensen1970@gmail.com
Yes, I'm aware that gmail is another Google franchise. So maybe it's a bit ironic that I suggest using it at the end of this post, but not really, because anyone can freely send a message to that address.


~ 24 October 2011 Edit: Good news! I've figured out the comments thing. I just had to poke around in the settings a little, and guess what? Under "Comments" I still had the default setting selected, which requires an OpenID membership, but you can also check "Anyone" or "Only members of this blog." I now have it set so anyone can comment. I take back everything I've said about Blogger's limitations in this area. ~ 


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Did you like what you just read? Why not join Unintimidated by Convention? There's no membership fee, you don't have to attend any meetings, and I promise not to send you annual renewal notices. Just click on the right where it says "Join this site" and then type in your stuff that it asks for. Do it now!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Parked Next to Oscar the Grouch's Car Today

In an earlier post, I showed you how someone saved money by doing his own car body repairs.

Today, I saw a car that someone is using to save on trash collection bills. Like a sucker, I’ve been putting my old drink cups, banana peels, junk mail, and other refuse into the trash can, which gets emptied—for a fee—once a week (provided I remember to drag it to the curb). This guy just throws everything into his Ford Tempo, saving time and money. I presume it accumulates until he can no longer see over the top of it, at which time he only has to open the passenger doors in the Wal-Mart parking lot, letting it all cascade to the ground.

He must be filthy rich.



Rain water and glare make this a crummy shot, so you'll just
have to take my word that the entire car is filled with trash.

It looks like a win-win situation: there’s still plenty of room for him in the driver’s seat, he has a perfect excuse to refuse giving rides to friends (where would they sit?), and he never has to go looking for a wastebasket, dumpster, or recycling bin. As an added bonus, he’ll never have to worry about women trying to go on a date with him… or talk to him… or even stand within 20 feet of him.


To my wife and kids: After seeing this, I apologize for all the times I’ve gotten on your case over a few gum wrappers or a video rental receipt in the minivan, and I promise to lighten up from now on.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'm Like, WAY Behind

Lately, it seems I've refused to be intimidated into a conventional belief in things like deadlines for work projects, due dates on school assignments, and "promises" I've made to get things done around the house.


I'm so far behind, I'm almost ahead. It's like once when I was running in a footrace. (This was a LONG time ago, when I would sometimes run just for fun. Nowadays, I need something chasing me.) I was so slow, after a few minutes the other kids came around the track and almost lapped me. But it appeared as though I was in the lead! They were all behind and I was in front... never mind how we got that way.


I guess that only works when you're running in circles. Too bad our lives move along this linear timeline, never looping around to the beginning. I just need to suspend belief in that whole situation, and I'll be fine. First, I'd better catch up on a few things...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Working Together, We Turn Nice Things Into Nightmares

My daughters like to make cards, and they've come up with some pretty good ones. I expect Hallmark to call any day with job offers.


I recently found this one, which was not homemade, but enhanced by us:


Artwork © Dianna Marcum; Card © New Seasons.


As you can see, there's a nice little drawing of a bear on the front.


When you open it, the bear pops up inside, and one of my girls (I'm not sure which one, but I have a pretty good guess) wrote a caption:


"A bear is hungry for something else but all he has is apples."


I thought this was cute and rather fitting. I mean, just look at the expression on his face. What else could it mean?


Never one to leave stuff alone, I felt it needed just a little something to be complete.


So I added a few words of my own:




There! Much better.




I could have also put something about the giant bees, which look like they're getting ready to sting somebody, but there's no need to go overboard, eh?


Maybe Hallmark won't be calling after all.


...


I believe in always giving credit where it's due, so I have to tell you the inspiration for this came from Jenny Lawson, a.k.a. The Bloggess, one of the funniest women I know. Check out some of her work, but be warned that she has a potty mouth, so her blog is not recommended for children or the overly sensitive: