He Shall Wear A Crown Of Ice

Heat Miser, humor, heat wave, Modern PhilosopherI’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Heat Miser has been making a real nuisance of himself this weekend, Modern Philosophers.

Usually, it’s Snow Miser causing my life to be miserable, but he has apparently tagged in the evil red headed stepchild to continue our ongoing steel cage death match.

It doesn’t often get hot enough in Maine to melt my flesh like I was a Nazi daring to gaze upon the Ark of the Covenant, but this has been one such weekend.

I’ve tried to hide inside The House on the Hill to avoid the heatwave, but Heat Miser is too powerful to be stopped by modern technology or old windows and insulation.  I’m writing this post topless from my couch, just to give you some idea of how warm it is.

No, you cannot sit next to me and stare upon my shirtless chest.  If I did that for you, I’d have to allow all the Modern Philosophers to do so.  I don’t have the room, or the patience, to accommodate that many people!

I didn’t want to miss my morning runs because of the Wrath of Heat Miser, so I took some precautions to ensure I would not melt into a puddle of sweat along my route.

The first step was to get up early, so I could complete my run before the temperature rose to its highest point.

Then I moved my runs to the River Walk, so I would (hopefully) have a nice breeze blowing off the river to keep me cooler than I already am.

running, fitness, health, numor, Modern PhilosopherFinally, I busted out an old school weapon in the battle against Heat Miser: My Crown of Ice.

Legend has it that he who wears the Crown of Ice shall be impervious to every weapon in Heat Miser’s arsenal.

Now I’m not sure if that’s just an old wives’ tale, or actual magic passed down from generations of Defense Against the Dark Arts classes at Hogwarts, but I know that when I wear my Ice Crown, I feel much more powerful against the heat.

You probably won’t be able to get your hands on a genuine Ice Crown unless you have connections within Maine’s Otherworldly Being community, but I can help you make a reliable substitute.  Just keep in mind, however, that I take absolutely no responsibility if your DIY Crown of Ice doesn’t work, and you become a bubbling puddle of sweat.

It’s really pretty simple.  Take a baseball cap, soak it with water, and put it in the freezer.  Once the cap freezes, take it out, put it on, and go for a run.  It will keep you cool as it slowly melts over the course of your run.

In very rare instances, you might contract frost bite on your skull from this lazy man’s substitute, but again, I absolve myself of any responsibility or liability should that occur.

running, health, fitness, humor, Modern PhilosopherDespite Heat Miser’s best efforts, I survived both my runs this weekend.  I don’t think I’ve sweat that much on a run in quite some time, but I made it back to The House on the Hill alive.

No doubt, due in large part to my Crown of Ice.

So if you do decide to be active during this ridiculous heatwave, be smart.  Be safe.  Stay hydrated.  And wear your Ice Crown.

You’ll be grateful that you did, and maybe Heat Miser will take the hint and decide to go back into hiding…

How are you dealing with the heat?

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It All Started With The Big Bang

The Big Bang Theory, TV, humor, writing, Modern PhilosopherAs you might have already figured out, Modern Philosophers, being a writer for a late night TV show has a lot of perks.

There’s fame, fortune, celebrity, and getting to cut to the front of the line at the grocery store.  But those are givens.

This week, I discovered a totally new perk, and I wanted to share it with you.  What I mean is, I want to share the story of discovering the perk.  I don’t want to share the perk itself because you’re not a writer for a late night TV show, so you wouldn’t be eligible.

Sorry if that came across as snooty.  That was the aforementioned fame, fortune, and celebrity talking.

For those of you who don’t know, I write for The Nite Show with Danny Cashman, which is, by far, the highest rated late night talk show currently airing in Maine.

The Big Bang Theory, TV, humor, writing, Modern PhilosopherLook, here’s a photo of me appearing in a sketch that I wrote.

I’m playing Timbo the Intern, and sporting my Brooklyn Cyclones hat to give my old hometown a shout out in Maine!

When I’m not busy writing for, or acting on late night TV, I like to watch TV.

The Big Bang Theory is one of my all-time favorite shows.  I was disappointed when the show ended its run this year, but was delighted to discover that the local station that airs The Nite Show was also going to air The Big Bang Theory, from the very beginning, every Monday through Friday at 7:00.

I excitedly set my DVR, and I have been faithfully watching the adventures of Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, Howard, and Raj since we first met them in The Pilot.

As a writer, it’s been an educational experience.  I’d forgotten the early episodes, since they’d first aired a dozen years ago, so it has been like a course in writing for TV to watch how the characters evolved from season to season.

Penny was really tan in Season One, and far more of a ditz.  Sheldon wore some very funky pants, and seemed like a robot.  How in the world were they going to maintain the joke of Raj not being able to speak to women?

The Big Bang Theory, TV, humor, writing, Modern PhilosopherTrust me, I have been absorbing each subtle nuance of every episode.  Since I know the show goes on to become a mega hit, it is the perfect project to study in order to learn how to write my own hit TV series.

But then something horrible happened this week to interfere with my education and entertainment.  I kicked off the week with the first episode of Season Three. You remember the episode: the guys come back from spending the summer at the North Pole for Sheldon’s research project.  They’ve all got wildly long hair and beards, except for Sheldon, who sports a neatly trimmed goatee.

I couldn’t watch the next night because the Yankees were on and I worked late, so when I sat down two nights later, I expected to dive into Season 3, Episode 2.  I mean, it’s really the only logical thing to expect.

So I’m there, eating dinner, unwinding after a long day, and Penny refers to Leonard as her boyfriend.  I thought to myself that this was a quick jump, but the last episode had ended with them in bed together, so maybe it was okay.

I was sure something was wrong, however, when Amy appeared in the next scene.  Ummm, what?

I still remembered how the gang went about finding Amy for Sheldon, so how the hell was she already a regular fixture in his life?  I figured the station must have had a programming glitch, so I just deleted the episode.

Of course I deleted it.  I don’t want to know what happens years down the line!  I have to get to that point in their lives organically.

The Big Bang Theory, TV, humor, writing, Modern PhilosopherI decided to watch the next episode, as I had two waiting on my DVR.  Almost right off the bat, Howard is talking about being married, and then Bernadette appears.

Unacceptable!  We can’t just skate past Howard’s awkward courtship of Bernadette.

How am I supposed to learn to properly build a relationship between my characters when my free master’s class on TV writing is suddenly jumping all over the place?

Now if I were just an average TV watcher, I’d be hopeless to rectify the situation.  I’d just have to sit here and watch episodes of The Big Bang Theory in whatever willy nilly order the network decided to throw them at me.

But I’m a writer of a late night TV show, and that comes with perks.

I jokingly sent a message to the network higher up I know from The Nite Show, who happens to be a great guy with a good sense of humor.  Figured I’d just vent and feel better about it.

To my surprise and delight, he wrote back and promised to look into it.  Later in the day, he wrote to me that the problem had been corrected.

Now that is a perk worth having!

The Big Bang Theory, TV, humor, writing, Modern PhilosopherAnd this silly conversation about episodes being run out of order might have led to a meeting today, where important writing type things could have been discussed.

I’m not free to divulge anything right now, Modern Philosophers.

All I can say, however, is that if anything wonderful comes out of today’s meeting with the network bigwig, it all started with The Big Bang…

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On The Waterfront

running, health, fitness, Maine, Modern PhilosopherI decided to change things up a little on my morning run, Modern Philosophers.

After all, I’d just made a major change to how I spend my work day, so why not keep the ball rolling, and try change one more time?  What could possibly go wrong???

I have my set running route.  That route then has a number of options that I can choose when I want to alter the length, change up my view, do more hill work, etc.  Bottom line, though, it’s one route with multiple variables.

Today, I felt like something completely different.

It was a warm morning, and my usual route is a lot of open road with no shelter from the sun.  I can see the Penobscot River from The House on the Hill, but because of my fear of water (actually a fear of drowning), I tend to run away from the massive body of water, and head for higher ground.

Recently, my town expanded the walkway along the waterfront.  I’ve only been down there once since it re-opened, and I keep saying I want to walk it some night so I can get a true reading of its length on my FitBit.

Well, there’s no time like the present, right?  Besides, the waterfront was already on my mind this morning, and not for anything good.

running, health, fitness, Maine, Modern PhilosopherBlink-182 performed at the Waterfront Concerts venue on the other side of the river last night.  Despite their claim to be across the water in Bangor, it sure sounded like Blink-182 was on my front lawn.

I could hear the entire concert loud and clear, to the point that I was singing along with most of the songs.  I kept thinking someone was going to show up at my door and demand to see my ticket, or make me pay for the price of admission.

Needless to say, I did not manage to fall asleep until the concert ended sometime after 11.

I felt it only fair to give the waterfront an opportunity to redeem itself.  So, instead of going left out of my driveway this morning, I went right.

Best decision I’ve made in a long time.

As you can tell from the photos, the waterfront path is beautiful.  The view is amazing.  The breeze coming off the river is refreshing.  The other people on the path are friendly.  Most importantly, though, the dogs out for morning walks are adorable!

I made my way along the river, waving at dogs, and saying good morning to every person I passed along the way.  Maine is a lot different from New York in that regard.  Saying hello to a stranger is not seen as an instigation for gun play.

running, health, fitness, Maine, Modern PhilosopherIt turns out that the path is six-tenths of a mile, or 1.2 miles for a round trip (for those of you who prefer not to have to do Math when reading a blog post!).

I did two full circuits, walked one length to take photos, and then ran back to the starting point.

It’s also four-tenths of a mile from The House on the Hill to the waterfront, so now I know how many laps I need to do in order to get in my workout for the day.  That number, of course, is going to vary depending on my mood, the day of the week, the weather, etc.

Bottom line, though, is that I will be back.  In fact, I’m going to make the waterfront my official second running route.

The path is pretty flat except at both ends, where there is an uphill climb back to the main street.  So I see this as an option on days when I want to work on speed, rather than on hill training.  It’s also a great option for days when I want to take it easy, or need the cool breeze off the river to fight the heat.

running, health, fitness, Maine, Modern PhilosopherI’m glad I made the change.

There were several other runners along the route, so it could be a good opportunity to make new friends, or hook up with a running group.

I haven’t seen many fellow runners on my usual route lately, so I’d forgotten how nice it is to get a smile and a kind word from someone else along the way.

Another great feature of the waterfront is all the benches.  There’s nowhere to sit on my regular route, and sometimes, a guy needs to stop and think.

It was a great morning on the waterfront.  Hope you’re having an awesome day, too!

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Life Is Sweaty

running, health, fitness, humor, Modern PhilosopherLife is sweaty, Modern Philosophers, and I urge you to wear that sweat like a stinky badge of honor!

Personal wellness is important.  If you are healthy and fit, you will be around longer to enjoy the fun things in life.  Believe it or not, some of those activities are sweaty, too.

So embrace you inner sweat hog, and aspire to perspire!

It’s been a while since I’ve written a running and fitness post, so I thought I’d take advantage of this beautiful Maine afternoon, to sit out on the porch and type one.

After all, I deserve a little relaxation after my morning.

You guessed it.  It was quite sweaty.

As usual, I kicked off my day with a run.  The plan was to hit the road for 45 minutes and then come home to mow the lawn before it got too hot.

Since my homeowner’s biathlon was on the agenda, I didn’t want to push it too hard on my run.  I knew I would need some fuel in the tank to tackle the Great Lawn and the Back Lawn of The House on the Hill.

Just like I do with my writing, though, I ignored the outline and just made it up as I went along.  It was such a gorgeous morning, and I was in such a great mood, that I decided to push myself even further.

running, health, fitness, humor, Modern PhilosopherAs a result, my run was almost an hour.

There was so much sweat, but I had planned ahead and had a towel and a bottle of water waiting for me.

I cleaned up, changed my sneakers (one doesn’t mow the lawn in one’s running sneakers!), and took some time to hydrate and recharge my batteries.

Usually, I’m pretty wiped after an hour of running, but since I had set a slower pace with phase two of the biathlon in mind, I still had enough energy to do battle with the lawn.  Which was a good thing because I went a little crazy with the landscaping.

My home is called The House on the Hill for a reason, and maneuvering the lawn mower on that hill is quite the workout.  Even more so, on a sunny July day.  My lawn grows so quickly because it gets plenty of sunlight.  That very same sunlight made sure that my sweat glands were working overtime.

I mowed the Great Lawn.  Then I had to attack the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street.  That, too, is on a hill.  The challenge here, though, was that the city snowplow tore it to hell this winter, and my mower did not have its usual clear path.

I really had to work to get the mower to do my bidding, and in the end, it was clear I was doing the bidding of the mower.

Regardless, the grass got trimmed.

Then I did the backyard.  At one point, the blades became so clogged with wet grass that I had to turn the mower on its side, and perform a double grassectomy on the blades.

For some reason, after all that was done, I decided the bush on the front lawn needed the Edward Scissorhands treatment.  So I got out the hedge clippers, and did my best to turn that big, green mess into a mighty T Rex.

That led to this tweet…

I imagine no one has liked my tweet yet because they feel my pain!

I was soaked in sweat.  My shirt was drenched.  So much sweat dripped off my face, that I had to issue a flood warning for my chest.

My new sweat equation after this morning:

30 minutes of Landscaping > 60 minutes of Running

I had 15,000 steps on my FitBit before noon.  That means that even if I remained completely still for the rest of the day, I’d still be 50% over the daily goal my FitBit demands of me.

running, health, fitness, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhile I was a stinky, smelly mess, I felt very accomplished.

Motivation through perspiration works for me because I have accepted that life is sweaty.

I’ve never been a fan of yard work, but when it adds to the step count, it’s much more tolerable.  Plus, I find it amusing that my FitBit thinks I’m riding a bike or engaged in something it refers to as “outdoor activity” when I mow the lawn.

An added bonus to all this, is that as I sit out here typing my blog post about my sweaty adventures, I’ve got a wonderful view because someone did a great job on the lawn!

What are you doing to generate sweat today?

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The Snarky Sassy Snapple Sendoff

The Office, work, change, humor, Modern PhilosopherI am not a fan of change, Modern Philosophers.

Change means breaking from my routine, and I am a creature of habit.

Of course, there’s that famous quote about insanity being defined as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome.

But who bases their life choices on famous quotes?

I’m very stubborn.  Even if I know that logic dictates change will be good, I will still resist it because I don’t always think logically.

Today, however, I came across something on Twitter that made me rethink my philosophy on change.  Here’s the exact tweet…

Oh, wait. I wrote that.  Apparently, I’ve had a change of heart about change.

Today was my last day at the desk job I’ve had for the past nine years.  I’m a bit nervous about trying something new, but I’m also excited for new adventures.

You know, until I can support myself full time as a writer.

Even though I’d convinced myself that change was necessary in this case, I was still sad about leaving colleagues who had become very important to a quirky introvert who isn’t much of a fan of people.

The Office, office party, last day, humor, Modern PhilosopherBut at least I had a going away party to look forward to today.

Office parties can be great, but they’re never quite Dwight hosting a party at Schrute Farms great.  I was just hoping there would be good food and some nice memories.

It all started off spectacularly.  As I was walking across the parking lot to the employee entrance, a coworker pulled up, rolled down her window, and handed me a Snapple.

When I got to my desk, there were two big jugs of Snapple waiting for me.

These people really do know me well!

Over the course of the day, whenever I’d get up from my desk to do something, I’d return to find little love notes from my coworkers.

I’m not going to share all of them because they are private and special, but here are a few, just to give you an idea of how wonderful they made me feel…

work humor, new job, last day, Modern PhilosopherNow some people saw these, and thought my coworkers were being mean.  That could not be further from the truth.

I understood that these were all meant in good fun, and I laughed at every little note that magically appeared on my keyboard.

After all, these folks were dealing with the tragic loss of me from their lives.  It was going to be very difficult for them, and I wanted them to feel free to express themselves in whatever way felt right.

My only comment was that they would’ve been even funnier had the letters been cut out of magazines and then taped together like a ransom note.

We had pizza, homemade mac and cheese (at my request because this has long been my favorite staple of office parties), and delicious cookies.  In fact, a large tray of homemade date squares (another personal favorite) found its way to my desk.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an office party without a cake.

cake, work, party, humor, Modern PhilosopherAs much as I love cake, I did have a problem with this one.

They spelled my name wrong!!!

At least it tasted good.  And the sugar rush awakened me from my pizza/mac and cheese induced food coma.

It was a sad day, but also a happy one.  I’m going to miss my coworkers, but I hope that in this age of technology, we can somehow figure out how to stay in touch even if we don’t see each other eight hours a day, five days a week.

Change can be scary, but it always can be accompanied by cake and pizza.  And there really isn’t much in life that’s more comforting than that.

Thank you to everyone who made me feel special today.  If I were better with words, I’d better express how much it meant to me…

Posted in Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The Sock Loss Fiasco

socks, humor, stress, Modern PhilosopherI made a major change in my life recently, Modern Philosophers.

I bought a new dryer.

I know.  That is a huge step, and while it has been difficult to process, I think I can finally bring myself to blog about it.

Taking such a huge financial plunge has been stressful, but I kept telling myself that having dry clothes would be a major positive, which would eventually offset all the anxious moments brought about by this level of investment.

Boy, was I wrong.

Just this weekend, I almost lost my $%^&, and I totally blame the dryer.

After all, which household appliance other than the microwave causes so much mischief?

Let me set the scene.  It’s Saturday.  An extremely warm weekend.  I’m doing the laundry.  The sheets are in this load, and I’m counting on the new dryer to have everything ready for folding in record time.

With the old dryer, it took forever to dry the sheets.  Clearly, a sign that the thing was on its last legs, but I probably just ignored it because I didn’t want to have to think about shelling out the money for a new one.

I fold the other laundry, and leave the bedding for last since sheets are a nuisance.

stress, laundry, humor, Modern PhilosopherAs I’m doing battle with the fitted sheet, desperately trying to form it into something that resembles a neat rectangle, a single sock falls from inside it and onto the floor.

No! No! No!

I’ve already folded my socks, and every one had a partner.  How the hell can a stray be mocking me from the bedroom floor?

Let me point out here that I’d just bought a ten pack of socks two weeks ago.  They were so new that they were still blinding white.  How could I have lost one already?

Unacceptable!  Unacceptable!

I crawled under the bed to see if I’d somehow kicked its partner under there while folding the rest of my clothes.

I examined the empty laundry basket like a seasoned CSI.

Then I went to the hamper to see if I’d left the missing sock behind, and the poor thing had never even made it to the washing machine.

Nope.

No sign of my single sock’s better half.

I wasn’t about to cut off a foot, and turn my collection of nine and a half pairs of new socks into nineteen sets of socks.  That would be insane.

search party, life, humor, Modern PhilosopherSo I ran down to the basement, and decided to get some answers from the expensive piece of machinery that has a reputation for eating socks.

If it wasn’t in the dryer, I was going to call in a search party.  For some reason, I refused to accept that a new sock had simply vanished without a trace.  Maybe it was the extreme heat.  Perhaps it was the long week that had put me in a miserable mood.  Whatever the hell it was, I was not handling this sock loss well at all.

It doesn’t take very long to search a dryer.  I mean, you just open the door and look.

Guess what?

The sock was not there.  What had the dryer done with it?

I was so tempted to kick the dryer, maybe punch it a little, and see if that inspired it to give up the location of the missing piece of my wardrobe.

humor, stress, life, Modern PhilosopherBut I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  The damn thing had cost too much, and damaging it would lead to expenses above and beyond the cost of a single sock.

That didn’t mean I had to be okay with the infernal machine stealing my property, however.

Ever since it forced its way into my life, it has turned everything upside down.  My bank account was going to take a long time to recover from its sudden appearance in my basement.  I was going to be a wreck of worry that it was going to break every time I dared ask it to perform its simple, once a week duties.

Damn dryer has been nothing but trouble.  Why did my old one have to break?  Why did I have to be so dependent on expensive technology to provide that dry clothes look that is so popular in today’s society?

Oh, by the way, I found the missing sock.  I’d left it in the washing machine…

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Advice I Wish I’d Been Given

turning 30, advice, birthdays, humor, Modern PhilosopherOne of my good friends turns thirty today, Modern Philosophers.

Understandably, she is upset because society has led her to believe that turning thirty is a bad thing.  I beg to differ.

As she was lamenting hitting this milestone, I assured her that being a thirtysomething is not a bad thing.

Sure, she might be too young to recognize the cast of the classic TV show depicted above, but one is always the right age for some sage advice from a Modern Philosopher.

I told her that your twenties are for having fun and being stupid, but life really begins at thirty.  That’s when you follow your dreams and discover who you really are.

She replied with a smiley face with hearts for eyes emoji, which I think means she either loved my words of wisdom, of she was at the eye doctor.

Either way, though, I think my words hit home.

Of course, this entire conversation got the deep thoughts whipping around inside my head, as I thought back, all those years ago, to when I was in my twenties.

No, this is not a post on Ancient History.  Keep the wise cracks to yourself!

turning 30, advice, birthdays, humor, Modern PhilosopherI had to wonder why no one advised me that my twenties were for being stupid and having fun!

I spent my twenties being a hardworking, middle aged grump.  I spent the entire decade in one relationship, with someone who would not only ruin that decade, but also screw up a good portion of the next.

Instead of being all wild and crazy and trying to make it as a screenwriter, I kept moving from solid, well paying job to solid, well paying job because my significant other kept bouncing from college to college as she changed majors quicker than Trump changes the members of his administration.

Sure, I moved to Los Angeles when I was 27, supposedly to pursue a career in Hollywood. But as soon as we got there, my then wife took off on a cross country bike tour, so someone had to get a job to pay the bills.

And it all just went downhill towards divorce from there.

Luckily, I did eventually get back on my feet in my thirties, and my life made a turn for the better.  It took a while to find my footing after my divorce, but I did discover myself, and set off in pursuit of my dreams.

My thirties were rough, but considering how I completely wasted my twenties, I entered my forties in very good shape.  Met the love of my life, found some happiness, felt more like a writer than I ever have, and I stopped worrying about the past.

turning 30, advice, birthdays, humor, Modern PhilosopherHopefully, my friend heeds my advice.

As I told her, I’m pretty smart, so she really should listen to me.

But even if she completely ignores what I had to say, she is intelligent enough to figure out life on her own.

After all, she did make it to thirty in one piece, and that’s a major accomplishment!

What advice do you wish someone had given to you when you were younger?

Posted in Humor, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments