A Time Machine For Mom

Mother's Day, time travel, humor, Modern PhilosopherI have a peculiar Mother’s Day tradition, Modern Philosophers.

I like to spend the day in the garage working on my time machine.  I’ve been building it for years, and not making much progress, but I always set aside time on Mother’s Day to try to get it operational.

Let’s face it, now is not the best time for building something so complicated.  Because of the stay at home order, it’s difficult to go out for parts and materials.  I find a lot of what I need at junkyards and garage sales, and those places are not available to me right now.

Additionally, it’s nearly impossible to find someone willing to meet with me to answer my technical questions.  Even if I promise to wear a mask and follow proper social distancing rules, people are not eager to spend time in the company of a stranger to discuss the intricacies of time travel while a pandemic rages.

I’m usually able to get help from Doc Brown, who is the blog’s biggest financial backer, but due to his age and the threat of the Coronavirus, he refuses to spend any time in 2020.

So I am on my own.  A creative type, who was always horrible at Science and has no Engineering skills, trying to build a time machine.  I know it sounds like an impossible task, but if Trump can become President, anything is possible.

Plus, I’m doing it for a great reason.

Mother's Day, time travel, humor, Modern PhilosopherYou’re probably wondering why I always work on my time machine on Mother’s Day.  The answer is simple: My Mom died when I was 3, and I have no memory of her.  I’d like to use my time machine to go back and visit her.

That’s the one photo I have of my Mom and me.  I keep it someplace that allows me to look at it several times over the course of the day.

Every time I see that picture, so many questions pop into my head.  I know so little about the woman looking adoringly at such a tiny version of me.

I thought that the best way to learn about my Mom would be to go directly to the source.  Time travel has always been a fascination of mine, and my quest to get to know my Mom has most likely always been the driving force behind that.

I could sit around on Mother’s Day and be sad that my Mom is not alive, or I could spend it doing something constructive.

I choose the latter because I know that is what would make my Mom proud.

I like to daydream about how impressed she’d be if I showed up one day out of the blue, introduced myself, and showed her the device I built to allow me to spend time with her.

No other Mom has ever been able to brag that her child built a time machine, and when she adds that I created it specifically so that I could visit her, she will be the envy of every mother in the world.

Of course, I’d have to come up with a story for why I was visiting.  I wouldn’t want to upset Mom by telling her that I never got to know her, and grew up with absolutely no memory of her.  I know I’m not supposed to lie to Mom, but in this case, I would put my story telling skills to use because the truth would be far too devastating.

Mother's Day, time travel, humor, Modern PhilosopherI could tell her that her son grows up to be a writer.  I even took a photo of the credits from this week’s episode of The Nite Show just so she could see my name on TV.

If that’s not the power of positive thinking, I don’t know what is!

Well, I’ve got a long day ahead of me, so I’d better wrap this up and head out to the garage.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Posted in Humor, Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Eternal Winter Of My Discontent

Maine, snow, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhen I woke up this morning, Modern Philosophers, it was snowing.  It was coming down quite hard and already sticking.

At first, I was angry because it’s not supposed to snow in Maine.  The 182 Days of Terror clearly end on April first, and we were now more than a month past that.

Still half asleep, I shook the cobwebs from my brain and came up with the more likely scenario to explain the storm: I had finally finished my time machine, traveled back to early winter, and now had to come up with a plan to save the world from the Coronavirus!

Of course, this troubled me deeply.  How in the world was I going to convince Trump and his cronies that COVID-19 was a true threat, and not some Democratic hoax meant to tank his chances at re-election?

After all, those geniuses have proven time and again that their grasp on reality is very loose, they have little use for facts that don’t align with their way of thinking, and the well-being of the economy takes priority to the well-being of the workers in that economy.

time travel, Maine, snow, humor, Modern PhilosopheWhy didn’t I first use the time machine to go into the future to find rock solid proof that something near and dear to Trump’s heart is ruined by the pandemic?  Then I could bring that with me into the past to persuade him that he needed to act immediately to protect the country from the virus.

Alas, all that fretting was for naught when I finally realized I had not done any time traveling, and that it was really snowing on May 9.

Why should a snowstorm in May surprise me at this point?  I’m looking out the living room window as I type this, and it is snowing even harder now, five hours later.  This is the year when anything awful can and will happen, and the frustrating thing about that is there are still seven months to navigate before Baby New Year comes to save us.

I did vent a little on social media, though, because getting the anger out of my system and sending it off into the internet always helps to lower the stress levels.

One post was: In a quarantine, no one can hear you scream…at Mother Nature.

The other was: I’ve just send an angry letter to Mother Nature demanding a refund for 2020.

Maine, snow, humor, Modern PhilosopheI was pleased that many of my friends commented on those to show their solidarity.  There’s a certain comfort in knowing I’m not the only one being slow driven insane by today’s weather.

I’m not sure if today’s snowstorm is the straw that breaks this camel’s back, but I am certain that I’d have absolutely no problem with winter and the pandemic ending.

At what point does it become kicking the human race while it’s down?  Someone once told me that what doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger, but I’m having some trouble with that philosophy at this point in the eternal winter of my discontent.

How about something good happening for a change?  We don’t even have to string together multiple events.  Let’s just put an end to the consecutive shitty days streak, and remind the world what it’s like to feel positive again.

In the meantime, I’ll tinker with the time machine.  If I can get it to work, maybe I’ll go back even further in time and try to change the outcome of the 2016 election because that might be the only way to save the country from the full extent of the virus’ wrath…

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Will We Become A Feral Society?

protest, stay at home, humor, Modern PhilosopherSometimes I say something as a joke, Modern Philosophers, but after I give it some thought, I realize that there’s a serious idea protruding from the humor.

The other day, I was texting a friend, and I said something like “I need to practice my conversation skills because I’m afraid that once we’re allowed to socialize again, I’ll discover I’ve become feral from all this isolation.”

Once you stop laughing at my wit, you’ll see that there’s an interesting philosophical dilemma in my comment.

Will we become a feral society after being isolated from each other for so long?

After all, we’re going on two months of being cut off from societal norms and structure.  Who knows what odd habits we’ve developed, or what we’ve forgotten after not being around people for so long.

I’m struggling with the idea of not wearing sweatpants all the time.  I’m also worried that my polite conversation filter might be faulty from lack of use.  What if I simply forget that I’m not supposed to say what’s on my mind all the time?

Then I look at the news, and I fear that it’s already too late.  The Zombies might not have come for us as a result of this virus, but something else has risen up from the pandemic.

protest, stay at home, humor, Modern PhilosopherAngry mobs are defying the stay at home order to march and demand their freedom.  There are protestors screaming at law enforcement offices.  Healthcare workers, armed only with scrubs and face masks, are standing up to armed protestors.

That’s way past the point of not wanting to change out of sweatpants, or forgetting that it’s rude to burp in public.

The other night, I overheard a conversation between two people complaining that they were forced to wear a mask before entering a crowded store.  They cursed, said they had a right to shop however they wanted, and dared the store employee to have them arrested.

That’s the part I don’t get.  I’m not exactly keen on wearing a mask, but I understand that it is about the safety of those around me, and people I can’t even see.  A loved one sitting at home could end up infected because someone wouldn’t wear a mask in public.

I was uneasy about being furloughed from my job, but I understood why it had to happen.  I’m not a huge fan of being cooped up in the house all day, but I comprehend how much higher the death tolls could climb without social distancing and sheltering in place.

JFK, protest, stay at home, humor, Modern PhilosopherI get that this is America, and people have a right to their opinions.  I just also thought that this is America, a place where people understand that the good of the nation needs to come before the individual.

This is a difficult time, and once it ends, we have to continue on with our lives.

I guess I’m worried about what society will look like when we “return to normal”.  Will we be the (somewhat) civilized group we were before the pandemic laid waste to our planet, or will we be like something out of a Mad Max film?

I’m hoping that this frightening glimpse of a feral society is merely one of the lesser known symptoms of the Coronavirus, or that people are simply having an adverse reaction to the ungodly amount of pressure and stress they been subjected to because of the pandemic.

protest, stay at home, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt will be much easier to recover from this challenging time if we emerge from it united, rather than divided.

A civilized society will rise again to greatness, but a feral one is destined to slide down the rabbit hole and emerge at the opening of the first Hunger Games…

Do you worry about the effects that an extended period of isolation will have on society?

Posted in Humor, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Quarantine Induced Shopping Disorder

shopping, social distancing, stay home, humor, Modern PhilosopherI don’t need Web MD to add a new diagnosis to my ever growing list of quirks and issues, Modern Philosophers.

After events of earlier this week, I can state with certainty that I have contracted a case of Quarantine Induced Shopping Disorder.

This was bound to happen during these uncertain times when leaving the house to be out in public is really rolling the dice.

The thing is, I hadn’t been to the grocery store in three and a half weeks, and while there were still provisions at The House on the Hill, supplies were scarce and the selection was extremely limited.  Another trip to the store was inevitable.

Since I had to be outside of the confines of my basement bunker on Wednesday, I decided that a Hump Day supply run made sense.

Unlike the last trip, when I hit the store just as it opened and was the very first person in line, I went at 4:30.

To my great relief, there weren’t many cars in the parking lot, and there was not a line to enter the store.  I put on my armor (aka my mask and gloves) and decided to boldly go where I hadn’t gone in three and a half weeks.

This time, I had a month of quarantine experience on my side.  I knew what I’d craved, what had been missing from my last grocery run, and what needed to be bought in bulk on this trip so I could put off my next one for even longer.

shopping, social distancing, stay home, humor, Modern PhilosopherMy list was very long.  Usually, when you enter a place of business in a mask while carrying a list of demands, you’re about to break the law, but if you do so during a pandemic, you’re merely complying with the law.

The one big change that I noticed immediately was that arrows had been painted on the floor to make all the aisles one way.  Well, that and the fact that everyone in the store was wearing a mask.

It wasn’t that crowded, so I was able to move quickly through the store.  I was only slowed down by the sheer weight of my cart as I piled in my items.

I was pleasantly surprised that the shelves were well stocked.  I was not able to get hot dogs buns, and I had to settle for the more expensive brand of chicken breast, but other than that, I found everything on my list.

Yes, I bought a lot of things for a one person household, but I really don’t want to have to go out again for a very long time.  And can you ever really have too much canned veggies, spaghetti sauce, rice, and pasta?

I don’t think that’s possible.

I put on a belt this week for the first time in over a month.  I had to cinch it to the very last hole, which was three holes tighter than when the stay at home order started.  Clearly, my increased running, combined with eating less due to rationing and not having any snack foods in the house, had led to significant weight loss.

As a reward, I stocked up on snacks this trip.  After all, if I’m going to be trapped in the house with only the cats and my reflection to keep me company, I need to break the monotony with some fun foods.

And, yes, I bought ice cream.  I also bought a stick of pepperoni and a block a cheese so that I could enjoy my Dad’s favorite special occasion appetizer.  Technically speaking, quarantine does fall under the heading of “special occasion”.

shopping, social distancing, stay home, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt seemed like a lot when it was in the cart, but once I had it up on the checkout belt and saw the total due on the cash register, I realized I had really a shopping problem.

I’d purchased a normal amount for a family of six, but an insane amount for just me.

Luckily, the RAV has a lot of space in the back because I needed all of it.

I bought so much that it wouldn’t all fit in the fridge and cupboards.  I now have supplies in the basement and up on the shelves where I keep the glasses and dishes.

It’s very settling to have provisions and know that I don’t have to go out again for at least a month.  I didn’t like that hanging over my head, so now there’s less to worry about.

And for all the rest that still worries me, at least there’s ice cream to make me feel better…

How often are you going to the store to stock up on supplies?

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Inner Truths Revealed During Quarantine

stay at home, inner truth, humor, Modern PhilosopherI don’t know about you, Modern Philosophers, but I’ve learned a lot about myself while being secluded at The House on the Hill over the past month.

Apparently, the governor’s stay at home order was also one for personal reflection.

I thought I’d share the inner truths that have revealed themselves during quarantine…

Writing is definitely my passion.  I’ve always known that I wanted to be a writer when I grow up, but it’s one thing to talk the talk, and a completely different thing to deliver on that dream when handed an enormous amount of free time.

People have always asked if I’d have enough to do if I could stay home and write all day, and I have finally and emphatically answered that question.  Not only did I resurrect this blog by writing a new post every day (thereby reminding myself how much I enjoy blogging!), but I also got some serious work done on my novel.

I might have been furloughed from my office gig, but writing has been my full time job over the past month.  I write every day, including the weekends, and having that waiting for me on a daily basis has brought much needed order and focus to my days.

Sure, my office is the living room and the dress code is slacker casual, but I have the coolest boss in the world and I really love my job.

stay at home, inner truth, humor, Modern PhilosopherI don’t hate running.  Whenever I write a post about running, I make sure to mention that I have a love/hate relationship with the activity.

I’m not a huge fan, but I know it keeps me in shape, helps me lose weight, and prevents me from falling in with a street gang.

Since I’ve been home, my morning run has been my literal breath of fresh air.  Even though I’ve been dealing with anxiety about being outside or near other people while the virus is lurking out there, I’ve not hesitated to keep running.

Sure, I’ve had some problems with other people not complying with social distancing rules, which has made my runs more of a challenge, but who doesn’t love a challenge? Especially when life has gotten pretty boring.

I’ve increased my distance and speed, and look forward to seeing where my daily adventure will take me.  It’s fun to not know where I’m headed as I dodge other people and seek out remote streets on which to run.

The results are evident.  I’ve definitely lost weight, I feel great, and my resting heart rate has dropped from 61 at the start of the quarantine to 53 today.

Sweatpants are life.  I love sweatpants.  They’re so damn comfortable, and I don’t want to go back to khakis and jeans or anything else with zippers and buttons once life “returns to normal”.  I simply want to wear sweatpants all the time.

Gilmore Girls, stay at home, inner truth, humor, Modern PhilosopherI really enjoy watching Gilmore Girls. As I mentioned in a previous post, this was a show I watched religiously with J when we were married.  I don’t think I’ve watched it in reruns since it went off the air in 2007.

I have been watching a new show on NBC that features Lauren Graham.  That made me reminisce about Gilmore Girls, and reminded me how great the dialogue was. Since I’m working on my novel, I thought it would be cool to watch an old episode to see what great writing was like.

My Google search for reruns turned up a goldmine.  The show airs in a four hour block every weekday on a channel that I didn’t even know I had on my cable.  I’ve gotten into the habit of watching and recording episodes on the regular.  Since I caught it in the middle of Season 6, I was able to watch the Series Finale and then the Pilot back to back.  So cool to see how the writing and the characters developed over seven seasons.

I’ll miss Rory and Lorelai when I go back to work, but it’s good to know they are on channel 124 whenever I need them.

Animal House, stay at home, inner truth, humor, Modern PhilosopherI could eat better.  Quarantine has taught me that I don’t eat as healthy as I could.  Now that I’m stuck inside The House on the Hill with only the supplies in my fridge and cupboards to eat, I’m realizing that I give in to cravings too often, eat too many junk foods, and indulge in portions that are larger than necessary.

I’m sure I will still order comfort foods, or enjoy a bag of chips once it’s safe to go outside again, but I’m going to try to stick to a healthy menu and normal portions.  I’ve lost weight since I’ve been home, and not having regular access to Chinese food, pizza, and fried chicken hasn’t seemed to have had a detrimental effect.

I have an unhealthy dependence on baseball.  I really miss the Yankees.  I should be obsessively watching them, studying their stats, and discussing them on Twitter with fellow fans.  This giant hole in my heart cannot be filled with anything else!

What inner truths have been revealed during your stay at home experience?

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Through The Looking Glass

conversation, social distancing, humor, Modern PhilosopherAs a proud, lifetime member of Introverts Club (the first rule of Introverts Club is that there are NEVER any meetings!), I don’t mind a little alone time.

To be honest, I’m not that impressed by the world around me, so I’m okay on my own.

As a writer, however, I miss a good conversation.  My characters are always very chatty because I believe in the power of communication, and real life intelligent conversations will often inspire my writing.

So while I like to be alone, I need someone around for bantering.  At least until I can teach my cats to talk.

The stay at home order and social distancing rules have deprived me of the witty banter I need not only to feel human, but also to help my writing.

Today, I finally found a way to remedy this issue.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been keeping touch with friends online, but typed conversation isn’t the same as going face to face.  I like to read body language and facial expressions because those are the specifics that I can add to my stories to make my characters come alive and seem more real.

As I was finishing up this morning’s run, I looped back around The House on the Hill on my way down to the river.  My neighbor, with whom I always have lively conversations, happened to be cleaning her windows at that moment.

conversation, social distancing, humor, Modern PhilosopherShe was inside her house, but her windows opened out to be cleaned, which allowed us to hold a conversation with proper social distancing while I stood in the street.

We chatted for a good ten minutes, catching up on things since we hadn’t even seen each other over the past month.

It was great to get someone else’s perspective on the crazy times in which we’re living, but do it in real time conversation, rather than in text messages that might not get answered for hours.

My neighbor has an essential job, so I was eager to hear how she felt about being out in the world, and doing everyday things.  I admitted that I was anxious about once mundane things like going to the supermarket, or passing people on the street during my runs.

She definitely eased my mind about what it was like in the outside world interacting with people on a daily basis.  Her feedback and observations did much more for my health than that morning’s run did.

As I thanked her for the chat, and set out to finish my run, I told her that this was my first face to face conversation with anyone in a month.

conversation, social distancing, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhich gave me a brilliant idea to pave the way for a second conversation.  My friend was planning to drop off the mask she made for me, so I asked her that if she would be willing to hang out and talk if I could set up something with proper social distancing.

She was all for it, so I made it happen.  I put down the screen in the front window and set up a chair on the front porch outside the window.  When my friend arrived, she sat in the chair outside the open window, I sat on my couch in the living room (a good ten feet away), and we talked.  Like normal people.

My friend is a medical professional, so I grilled her with questions about COVID 19 and my plethora of anxieties and phobias about it.

It really helped to get input from someone on the front lines of the Coronavirus battle, who dealt with patients every day, and had to take precautions to keep herself safe.

I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know about the virus, and how slanted my perspective had become from watching the news.

I really am overwhelmed by the idea of going outside and being around people again because I’ve come to believe that doing so will lead to death.

Staying at home might keep me safe, but it’s also put me in a bubble where all the facts aren’t getting to me.  I just sit on the couch all day with my anxieties and no one to talk to about them.

Star Wars, conversation, social distancing, humor, Modern PhilosopherCheck out the cool mask she made me.

While I am worried that the stormtroopers tasked with protecting me won’t be able to hit their targets should I be attacked, I do feel like the Force is with me.

I feel much better about the state of the world outside of The House on the Hill.  I will continue to take all precautions when venturing outside my front door, but the paralyzing fear that had taken over has loosened its grip to the point that I can breathe again.

I’m so grateful for open windows and friends willing to talk to me through them…

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Writing In My Sleep

writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherI thought I would use of all this stay at home time to develop a very particular set of skills, Modern Philosophers.

No, I do not intend to learn how to track down terrorists who kidnap my daughter, but I suppose that could be helpful should I ever start a family.

I was thinking more along the lines of enhancing my creativity, making better use of my free time, and learning to write in any circumstance.  After all, when I finally am able to go back to work, I won’t have all this time for writing, but I don’t want to cut down on the amount of writing I’m doing.

Hence the need for this very particular set of skills.

As it is, story ideas are forever bouncing around in my brain.  The trick is to harness the best of them, expand them to from mere concept to more fleshed out stories, and then convert them from thoughts to page.  Not only will this put more projects into motion, but it will also free up brain space for new ideas.

What I’ve realized, after a month of social distancing, staying at home, and not being around other people is that I’m very good at writing in my sleep.

writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherLet me explain that for those of you not suffering from cabin fever, and who haven’t yet spiraled down the rabbit hole from all the solitude.

When I’m tossing and turning in bed at night, unable to fall asleep because there’s so much on my mind and sitting on the couch all day doesn’t really make me tired, I try to focus my muddled, stressed thoughts on my current work in progress.

Once I am able to rein in my thoughts, I put myself into the story with the characters, and just play out the next scene in my head.

I’ve been doing this for years on runs or long walks, and it’s always helped the creative process.  So why not apply it to all that time wasted in bed at night while trying to fall asleep?  Think of all the writing I can accomplish!

It’s working well so far.  I manage to drift off, thinking about my story, and if I’m really lucky, I’ll dream about it.

Let me throw in a warning here.  Dream writing is a whole new ball of wax.  You probably don’t want to use anything from your dreams because, if your mind works like mine, you’ll come up with some pretty freaky stuff in your sleep.

Sometimes, I get off easy.  My characters are just played by real life actors or people I know, which puts a different spin on the story.

Other times, though, things quickly fly off the rails.  Suddenly, my characters are in my dorm room with me as I wake up late on the day of final exams.  Or my characters watch me wander aimlessly along a subway platform as I try to figure out how to get home.

writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherIn worst case scenarios, the female lead turns into my ex-wife, who immediately divorces me, and I spend the rest of the story begging her to take me back.  Or the scene is interrupted by the mysterious masked figure who stands at the foot of my bed and plots to kill me in my sleep.

Essentially, my work in progress morphs into my recurrent nightmares.

There have been cases, however, where I’ve managed to turn a weird dream into a story.  One of the screenplays that we might be doing a Zoom table read for soon was based on one of my nightmares.

I managed to take the nightmare and build an entire screenplay around it.  My nightmares are usually too horrifying or depressing to use for a story, so it was great that one of them could finally be put to use.

But back to the whole writing in my sleep thing…

I’ve found that if I fall asleep thinking about a scene, it’s all still there in my mind when I wake up in the morning.  Apparently, I always remember to save my progress before drifting off to sleep.  That’s perfect because I can fire up the laptop and get right to work on that day’s pages.

No more wasting time trying to figure out what I’m going to write, or what happens next.

And that was the whole point of developing this very particular set of skills!  I’ve managed to squeeze more writing time into my day, and optimize the time I’ve been able to carve out for writing.  There’s nothing worse than wasting time with writer’s block!

Not that I’ve mastered that, it’s time to move on to developing my Jedi powers.

Rey, Jedi power, humor, Modern PhilosopherI think I have all the parts I need to build a lightsaber.  I just have to remember where I hid the kyber crystals so that they wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands.

As soon as I’m done with this post, I’m going out onto the front porch to practice moving the chairs around with the Force.

Social distancing is going to be so much easier once I can use the Jedi Mind Trick to make people stay at least fifteen feet away.  Would it be wrong to Force choke anyone who gets too close or refuses to wear a mask around me?

What special skill or new talent would you like to master during this stay at home period?

Posted in Humor, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Has Anyone Seen My Formal Sweatpants?

fashion, stay at home, humor, Modern PhilosopherI know someone, Modern Philosophers, who once explained to me that he always wears a suit to work because he dresses for the job he wants.

Apparently, I really want to be a writer (or maybe an eccentric recluse), because all I wear lately are sweatpants, a tee shirt, a fleece or sweatshirt (gotta change it up a little bit!), and sneakers.

In other words, I’m not exactly a lock down fashionista, but then again, I’ve never really had much fashion sense.

I much prefer the casual look.  As soon as I get home from work, I peel off my dress code appropriate outfit, and slip into something much more comfortable.  That’s usually a tee shirt with either shorts or sweats, depending on the weather.

So this part of the whole stay at home process has been a joy.  In fact, when it’s time to go back to work, I might “forget” about the whole dress code thing and report to the office in sweatpants and a tee shirt.

Obviously, I’ll wear my formal sweatpants, which are the ones with the least amount of stains.  And maybe I’ll even compromise and put on a collared shirt.  After all, I am a reasonable man.

fashion, stay at home, humor, Modern PhilosopherBut it is going to be hard to go back to a world of buttons and zippers.  Drawstrings just make life much easier, and shouldn’t life be about reducing stress as much as possible during these challenging times?

Truth be told, reacquainting myself with my old wardrobe won’t be the hardest part of the transition back to the real world once the stay at home order is lifted.

I’m really going to struggle with giving up my daily writing sessions.  Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’ve blogged every day since I was politely asked by the governor to stay inside and not cause any trouble.

What you don’t see, however, is the amount of progress I’ve made on my novel.  I’ve edited the first six chapters, completed chapter seven, wrote chapters eight and nine, and started chapter ten.  I’ve also gone back and edited chapters seven through nine.

In other words, I’ve been a sweatpants wearing writing machine and I’d hate to give that all up again.  I’ve always said I wish I had the time to write like this, and now that I do, I don’t want to stop.

writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherSome people say they’d write every day, but then don’t follow through when presented with the opportunity.  I’ve made the best of the situation, and there are still so many stories rattling around in my head that need to be told.

I’m just finding the silver linings in a really dark and somber situation.  I enjoy lounging around The House on the Hill all day in my sweatpants while I pull the silly stories out of my head and put them down on the page.

That sure beats the alternative of sitting here all alone, watching the news, and slowly driving myself mad with worry and stress.

What adjustment are you least looking forward to having to make once everything “goes back to normal”?

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Dirty Money

short story, flash fiction, humor, Modern PhilosopherTrent and Monica cuddled on the couch as they watched TV.  There wasn’t anything exciting on, but at least it was something to do when there wasn’t much anyone could do.  At least they had each other.

A knock on the door startled them both.

Monica used the remote to shut off the TV.  “You expecting anyone?” she whispered.

Trent shook his hand and reached under the throw pillow at the end of the couch.  He kept his Glock there, and tucked it into the back of his pants as he stood up.

“Wait here,” he ordered.

The tone of his voice made it clear that he considered whoever was at the door to be a threat, but if that wasn’t clear, the gun in his waistband cleared up any confusion.

As Trent crept towards the living room doorway, the unexpected guest knocked again.  He could see a shadow cast on the floor from whoever was on the porch, so he turned to Monica and held up one finger.

She nodded that she understood, and remained on the couch, clutching the pillow to help her deal with the tension.

Trent poked his head into the foyer so he could get a glimpse of the visitor, and when he did, his body relaxed, but he let out an angry growl.

short story, flash fiction, humor, Modern Philosopher“What the hell are you doing here?” Trent yelled through the front door at the guy with the long hair and beard on his porch.

He looked like a shabby Jesus, if Jesus had worn sunglasses and a jean jacket.

“I need to talk to you, man!” he yelled back.  “Let me in.”

“Is that Brody?” Monica called from the next room.  “What is that idiot doing outside?  Get him off our porch.”

“You shouldn’t be here!” Trent bellowed through the door.

Brody tried the doorknob, but it was locked.  So he banged on the door instead.

“Just let me in, man,” he implored.  “Don’t leave me out here.”

Trent shook his head emphatically.  “You know what a stay at home order is, right?”

“This is about a job, man,” Brody explained.  “I can’t talk about it out here where someone might overhear me.”

“There’s no one around to overhear you,” Trent countered.  “Everyone is home.  Where they’re supposed to be.  So they don’t get sick and die.”

Brody paced on the porch, his long hair flying wildly behind him.

Monica appeared in the doorway.  “What does he want?”

“Something about a job,” Trent replied with a frustrated shrug.

“Get rid of him,” she demanded.  “Someone’s going to notice and call the cops.”

short story, flash fiction, humor, Modern PhilosopherTrent nodded as Monica headed back to the couch.  He knocked on the door to get Brody’s attention, and the anxious Jesus hustled back to the door.

“Go home,” Trent ordered.  “Monica’s pissed.  You’re drawing attention.  Besides, we’re not doing any jobs.  There’s a damn virus out there killing without mercy.”

“That’s the thing, man, no one would expect it right now,” Brody pleaded his case through the door.  “Everyone’s wearing a mask, so you could walk right into a bank and not even arouse any suspicion.”

Trent chuckled and shook his head.  “Banks aren’t open now.  They want everyone to do things through the ATM.”

“You’re wrong, bro,” Brody countered.  “That one on the corner of Eighth and Howard is still open.  There’s a huge sign in the window bragging about how they’re the only bank in town still keeping regular hours.  They’ve got a skeleton crew, which includes only one security guard, and the dude is older than my grandfather.”

“Speaking of masks, where’s yours, shithead?” Trent barked.  “You’re roaming around during a quarantine bringing germs to my doorstep and an idiotic plan to hit a bank during a national lock down.”

Brody fumbled in his pocket for a bandana, and quickly put it on to cover his face.

short story, flash fiction, humor, Modern Philosopher“I didn’t want to knock on your door looking like I’m some Old West outlaw about to rob a stagecoach, bro,” he explained in muffled tones through the mask.  “I know you keep a Glock under the pillow, and I didn’t want you to shoot me.”

“I should shoot you for showing up at my door and risking infecting me and Monica,” Trent hissed.  “Go home.”

“But I’m going ape shit bouncing off the walls!” Brody argued.  “I want to go back to work, man.  I need some walking around money.”

Trent was so frustrated that he kept reaching for his gun.  He knew he couldn’t shoot Brody.  He was one of his best friends, an important part of the crew, and the whole shooting someone on his porch thing was bound to bring the cops.

“You don’t need walking around money because you’re not supposed to be walking around,” Trent shouted because he had to let out his anger somehow.

Brody gently tapped his head against the door.  “This is free money for the taking.  No one inside to stop us, and the cops are so short staffed from the virus that their response time would be outrageous.  We could walk down the street in masks, carrying bags of money, and no one would think it weird or try to stop us.  Why don’t you like my idea?”

Trent really wished he could open the door and wring Brody’s neck, but that wasn’t an option during this challenging time.  Instead, he got as close to the door as he could and shot his visitor the iciest glare he could conjure while this annoyed.

short story, flash fiction, humor, Modern Philosopher“You know why I don’t like your idea?” he asked calmly.  “Do you know how filthy that money is?  All the germs on it?  How many people have touched it?  There isn’t enough Purell in the world to make me feel clean after I touched all that dirty money.”

He pulled the gun from his pants and tapped the glass in the front door with it.  That immediately got Brody’s attention and caused him to back away.

“Now get the hell off my porch before I shoot you for creeping me out think about all those germs crawling all over me!”

Brody sprinted off the porch without looking back.

“Babe, do we have any Purell?” Trent called out as he tucked the gun back into his pants.  I feel like I need to wash off that conversation before I infect you with its stupidity…”

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Could Darth Vader Defeat Beta’s Walker Herd?

Beta, The Walking Dead, humor, Modern PhilosopherWith all this free time on my hands, Modern Philosophers, I’ve spent countless hours wrestling with the great Philosophical debates of our time.

Lately, I’ve grown bored with the great debates, and moved onto to other burning questions that really needed to be answered.

I thought I’d share some of my findings with you, and get your opinion as to where you stand on these hot button topics.

Who would you rather be stuck in a car with for a cross country drive: Young Sheldon Cooper or Adult Sheldon Cooper?

Sheldon Cooper, Big Ganb Theory, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhile I think that both Sheldons would make for horrible traveling companions, I would definitely go with the young version of the annoying genius.

Young Sheldon at least had respect for his elders.  And while he did have a tendency to get car sick, he was normally okay when he sat in the backseat.

Young Sheldon was precocious, outspoken, and highly opinionated, but he was a kid, so I’d assume he’d sleep a lot more in the car.  Plus, he wouldn’t need to be fed as much along the way, which would save me money.

Adult Sheldon has all the annoying qualities of his younger self, but multiplied exponentially.  He’s even smarter and has many more years of knowledge stored in his brain to spout at me, and use against me while I’m trying to focus on the road.

Grown up Sheldon also has so many more Star Wars movies, Star Trek series, and comic book adaptations to gripe about.  He’d probably hone in on my being a Film Major, and want to give me his views on cinema for the entire trip.

Ugh.  No thanks.  Give me Young Sheldon any day.  He’s tinier, and would be easier to stuff in the trunk after he got on my last nerve.

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy, humor, Modern PhilosopherWho kicked more butt: Movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer or TV Buffy?

Kristy Swanson was fun, and she got to hang out with Dylan from Beverly Hills 90210 and President Snow before he went on to rule over Panem with an iron fist, but she also had to do battle with Pee Wee Herman. Not exactly a challenge there.

Sarah Michelle Gellar is the clear cut winner in this one, and if you disagree with me, then the TV Slayer will drive a stake through the heart of your argument.

I didn’t expect much from the television series since the movie had been so campy, but I was thrilled to have been so wrong.

Buffy and the Scooby Gang had to protect Sunndydale from evils a hellmouth more frightening than Pee Wee.  And she had to keep up the fight for seven seasons, rather than for just one film.

Both versions of Buffy slay me, but the TV version reigns supreme in this battle.

John Travolta, dancing, humor, Modern PhilosopherIn which movie was John Travolta the better dancer: Grease, Saturday Night Fever, or Pulp Fiction?

While Pulp Fiction is my favorite movie of the three (gotta go with Tarantino), Vincent Vega is not the best dancer of the trio.

Sure, his cutting the rug with Mia Wallace was a very memorable scene in a flick packed with memorable scenes, but Travolta was clearly holding back.  When you think about it, a hit man probably should not be best remembered for his moves on the dance floor.  Especially not when he’s dancing with the boss’ wife.

As a Brooklyn guy, I’ve got a soft spot for Tony Manero, his cool accent, perfect hair, and flashy wardrobe.  I mean, who’s ever going to forget that iconic white suit?  The guy knew how to dominate the dance floor and have the spotlight shine on him, in an era when there were lights flashing all over the place while people were dancing.

The thing of it is, though, I hate disco.  So I can’t give my vote to Tony.

Danny Zuko was so cool.  He was just in high school, and he could dance like someone who’d been doing it for ages.  Plus, he pulled it all off in jeans and a leather jacket.

One of my most romantic memories of my time with Rachel was when, slightly tipsy, we watched Grease, and Rach had me dance with her along to the movie.  We moved around the living room, with her standing on my giant feet, like we were right there in the gym at Rydell High.  That night, through her big brown, drunken eyes, I was her Danny.

That’s why Danny Zuko is the winner.

Darth Vader, Star Wars, humor, Modern PhilosopherCould Darth Vader defeat Beta’s walker herd?

This one has definitely kept me up at night. Darth Vader was a very powerful Sith Lord, who had full command of the Dark Side of the Force.  He had no fear, believed it was his destiny to rule the galaxy, and was damn handy with a lightsaber.

Beta’s herd of Zombies numbers in the thousands.  Beta himself would be no match for Vader, in a battle of behemoth masked bad asses, because no country singer gone mad is going to strike down a Jedi gone bad.

The sheer numbers of Beta’s army might give him an advantage, though.  After all, Vader is only one man, and his Jedi mind control isn’t going to work on the undead.

However, we all saw what Darth Vader did when he was seriously outnumbered at the end of Rogue One.  He carved his way through the Princess Leia’s forces like they were an army of wooden soldiers.

Yes, it would take time to strike down thousands of walkers, but if anyone has the stamina to inflict that much damage, it’s the Emperor’s right hand man.  Vader would tap into the Dark Side, unleash his rage, and slash through every walker that trudged within the range of his lightsaber.

Darth Vader, Star Wars, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt might take him some time to realize he had to slice through their skulls to put them out of their misery, but once he sensed that, it would be all over.

If they ever closed in on him, he could use the Force to repel them and send them flying away like scraggily rag dolls.  And even if they did get close enough to bite him, Vader is almost all armor.  Where would they be able to do any damage?

After a long, arduous battle, Lord Vader would eventually emerge victorious, thereby making him the Whisperers’ new Alpha.

Do you disagree with any of my conclusions?  What other burning questions related to movies or TV would you like me to tackle next?

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