Monthly Archives: April 2013

Lawn Maintenance

Spring is finally in the air.  Spring has sprung and perhaps this time for good.  This year it has falsely sprung about three times already and then fell back into freezing.  The flowers are actually on their third attempt at growing through the unexpected frosty mornings.  During this time of year in Cincinnati, you turn your heat on at night and the air conditioner in the afternoon.  The plants in our yard have that I’m-green-but-a-little-pissed-off look to them.

All the natural signs of Spring are here.  I can tell its Spring because there are flyers on my door from companies that want to cut and trim my lawn.  There are neighborhood children that think they can do a better job than the professionals using their parent’s mower.  There is junk mail filling my mailbox from companies that want to treat my lawn for a “thicker greener look”.  And there are signs posted at the end of every street enticing you to invest in their aerating business.

To those neighborhood children that want to cut my lawn:  I have two fresh teenage boys (13 and 14) that live in my house.  They provide no income and honestly put a serious drain on my financial bottom line.  No thank you, but I have my own grass cutters here.

This morning I drove by a sign that stated:

“Aerate your lawn!  $60 to $80!  Call us at 555-9296.”

I don’t actually remember the phone number, so for this story I went with the Hollywood phone number thing.  Three fives are never a real number.  Hollywood is so kind like that.  “I don’t want to cause the torment of some random dude by accidentally picking his phone number and using it in our script, but I do want to act like it’s a real phone number when I deliver my line.  I want to be convincing.  Like Hamlet.”

“The number you have reach 5 5 5 (pause) 8 4 8 2 is not a real number.  Who do you think you are, Shakespeare?”

So back to the company with the sign for aeration states a range of $60 to $80.  How does that pricing work?  If they like you and think you’re a nice person, its $60.  If not, its $80?  Maybe you get to pick your price after they finish.

“You know I was going to be all cheap about it and only pay you $60, but you surprised me by not skipping that area in the back behind my trees and you actually made two passes in the front.  I’m paying you $72 dollars today.  Good work.  Oh wait, that’s $72 dollars after taxes and you have to do the math.”

I’d pay them more, but now my yard looks as though there was a wild geese convention in full swing last night.

My favorite mail flyer comes from the company which calls itself “ChemLawn”.  I think they are in the process of trying to change their name to “TruGreen”, but it still says ChemLawn.  I think it’s a riot that the company choose its name long before the “green” bandwagon started rolling through town.  The name ChemLawn is a made up of two parts.  The first part “Chem” is short for Chemical.  The second part “Lawn” is short for Lawnical.  I think.

Here is a slogan that you won’t see them using:  “We treat your lawn organically.  We are ChemLawn!  Not.  Just joking!”

Can you picture back to the original board meetings held when the company was just starting out?

“Yeah, and we’ll dump so much chemical in their yards that there grass will glow green at night time.  Dude, people are going to love this!”

Now, in more recent greener times.

“No man, Chem isn’t short for Chemical.  It’s short for, um let me think here, oh yeah, it’s short for Chemo.  Yeah, like chemotherapy.  We are trying to eradicate the dandelion-cancers in your yard.”

“Hey Marcus, an attempt at cancer humor probably is not a funny thing.  You’re a bad person”, said everyone.

Good luck ChemLawn, or I mean, TruGreen.

Buy my “green” book.  Actually the cover is blue, but the electronic version uses no paper!

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Blog Info

In our last episode, we were left hanging on the edge of our seats watching Marcus as he plummeted off the edge of creativity and was cascading viciously toward a rock solid enormous chunk of writer’s block.  Totally out of control, today’s episode begins with Marcus throwing in the towel, and summarizing some of his blog statistics—a feat that he swore to himself that he would never result in doing.

“Crap, I’m really going to do it”, said Marcus with a completely defeated look on his face.

My blog passed by the ten thousand hit mark recently.  Impressive?  Yes, it is very impressive that I managed to visit my own page about five thousand times.

The most visits in a one day period totaled 230 visitors.  And I was only one of them!

Alright, maybe I was thirty of them.

Or forty.

To date, my blog has been viewed in 82 countries.  The top three being: the USA, the United Kingdom, and Canada.  Far down the list is Morocco.  Proving once again that Moroccoians love Marcus.

To date I have had 1171 comments left by people reading my blog entries.  And I thank each and every one of you for ensuring me that I’m not just blogging to myself.  Thanks!  Since I strive to always respond to each comment left by all you awesome blog readers , it means that I’ve only actually had 585.5 comments from actual readers.  The other half of the count comes from my own response comments.  This leaves me wondering, who left me the half of comment?  Or perhaps someone left me a quarter of a comment and I responded with a quarter of a response.  I don’t remember doing that.  I can’t image myself not finishing my complete train of

WordPress, the host of my blog, provides statistics on what search engine terms people have used that led them to my blog.  By far (like by a whole bunch), the term “crossing the street” is the most frequent search term.  A good long while ago, I wrote a piece about geese crossing the street.  It was amusing I thought.  Then, later, I wrote a follow on piece detailing the anonymous nasty-gram I got for being “cruel to animals”.  My point being, I understand how the search for “crossing the street” might lead you to my blog, however, I can’t understand the train of thought that possesses someone to ask Google for information pertaining to the task of crossing the street.  And it’s not just one person, in fact, its many people.  To date, there have been over sixty-five variations of “crossing the street” searches that resulted in people visiting my blog.  For example, “crossing the street”, “cross the street”, “crossing the road”, and my personal favorite “crossing the street without looking”.  What information are these people trying to coax out of Google that they couldn’t figure out on their own?  Basically you need to look both ways and then proceed when there appears to be the lowest possibility of bodily harm.

Is there the possibility of the existence of groups of people out there trapped on their property because they don’t own a computer?  These tormented people having no access to Google in order to assist them with the daunting task of street crossing.  There must be people who walk down their driveways, get to the end, become confused with the change from sideway to roadway, stare mystified into the void of the car dwelling space, throw their hands up, and run back in the house in an absolute dumfounded stupor.

They’re out there.

Buy my book from the same side of the street that you’re on.

Sleeping In

Sound asleep.  That was me until my alarm started beeping and bonking.  My first emotion of the day was disappointment.  Here’s why.

It was Saturday.  A day to actually sleep in.  Nothing to do.  Sleep until your body says done.  These days, my Saturday-sleep-in is usually cancelled because I’m a professional chauffeur.  My teenage boys need to be at the school for something or on the fields for something else.  And I am the driver.

I guess I’m not really a professional.  That would imply that I’m getting paid for my services.  How many professional chauffeurs drop their clients off and then have to fork over five bucks so that their clients can buy a drink and a hot dog?  I’m guessing “none” is the answer.  But how awesome would that be?  A stupid chauffeur that pays you.

“Sir, we have reached your destination.  Let me get the door for you.  And sir, here is your tip.”  The driver hands you a five-spot.

“Shouldn’t I be tipping you?”

“Oh, is that how it should work?”

“No, your way is good.  But now I can’t believe that you actually got us here safely.”

“Are you calling me stupid?”

“Sort of.”

“Oh.  Alright, here is five more dollars.”

Back on track.  This Saturday I had nothing planned.  No morning events at all.  Boys sleeping in like the good little teenage slugs that they should be.  But there was my alarm—yelling at me like the angry little chunk of electronics that it is.  Rude really.  I rolled over to shut it off, cursing it the whole time.  Bad electronics.  Stupid electronics.  If I had any water left in my nightstand glass you would become smoking electronics.  Who makes the mistake of setting the alarm on a Saturday?  People with evil electronics, that’s who.

With the disappointed emotion in full swing, I turned off the alarm.  Silence again.  Relax.  I can get over this situation.  I can find sleep once again.  And just as I was returning to the dream world, it occurred to me.  It hit me like a ton of bricks—which is a really odd figure of speech.  How unfortunate do you have to be to get hit with a ton of bricks?  Where do you need to be standing to have this happen?  They probably don’t come flying in from the left or right.  They most likely would have to fall from above your head.  My recommendation is to avoid placing yourself just below any apparatus that is holding a ton of bricks—regardless of how stable it looks.  Do not stand below any congregation of a ton of bricks—ever.

So yeah, it hit me.  Today isn’t Saturday, its Friday.  A ton of bricks, landing on my face!  I have to get up for work!  Crap, this is far worse than I originally imagined.  Oh electronics, you are way smarter than I give you credit for.

Hey wait a minute!  Did I really just shut off the alarm?  I should have pushed snooze!  Oh electronics, please magically reset your alarm.  I didn’t mean to shut you off.  I’m sorry I called you names.  You’re awesome electronics, really.  I’m way too groggy to fiddle with your buttons right now.

Now I have to get out of bed without taking my first-thing-in-the-morning-nine-minute-nap.  Now I have to pretend that I have the ability to snooze and wake up after nine minutes automatically—all by myself.  But I don’t have the skills!  This is horrible.

And then I found myself standing on my feet.  I have only the electronics to blame.  Idiot electronics.

Buy my silent book.  It’ll let you sleep in.

Biblical Voices

Genesis Voices 1

In the beginning due to an extreme boredom resulting from existing since forever, God decided to create the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty and yet had a pleasant smell similar to a chocolate fountain, except that He hadn’t created chocolate yet.  Darkness was over the surface of the deep (as well as the bottom too—I mean, hey, it was way down there).  The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters thinking about His big plan, waterskiing, and Spring Break.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  But first, he shaded His eyes to avoid that brain burning sensation that you can get when walking outdoors from the inside of a dark building.  God saw that the light was good, and He tirelessly separated the light from the darkness—energy waves in one pile, and lack of energy waves in a second pile.  God called the light “day,” the darkness he called “night”, and the mixture of the two “shade.”  And there was evening, and there was morning, and there was five o’clock quitting time—the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”   And then he thought, “Why am I talking to myself?  Odd.”  So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it—which was exactly what He said He would do out loud just moments ago.  And it was so.  God called the vault “sky”, cleverly avoiding that pesky little word “the”.  Not “the sky” but simply just “sky.”  And there was evening, and there was morning, and there was quarter to five quitting time (no one was watching)—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.  Huh, talking to Myself again.”  And it was so.  After putting away His shop-vac, God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters He called “seas” and the smaller ones “puddles.”  And God saw that it was good.  He would have seen that it was great, but some of the land had cracks.  He let the waters fill these cracks and He called them “rivers”.  “That’s better than good and only slightly below great,” said God to Himself once again.

Then God quietly said as He began to think that talking to Himself might be frowned upon by those who read this story thousands of years from now, “Let the land produce vegetation: apple trees, dandelions, kiwi plants, and maybe a banana or two.  And let there be vegetables as well.  And make the vegetables less tasty but more healthy.”  And it was so.  The land produced vegetation and soon thereafter God realized that weeding the entire earth was back breaking difficult work.  But when the gardens began to flourish, God saw that it was good.  All good, except for the amazing amount of dirt under His fingernails—the third day.

And God said (completely resigned to talking aloud to himself), “The lighting around here is terrible.  Let there be lights in the sky so that I can actually see what I am doing here.  And hey, let them blink off and on repeatedly so that there will be day and night.”  And it was so.  And for too long of a time, God was playing around with the strobe light effect that He created.  Far later, after the initial amusement faded, He slowed the strobe light down to one blink every twenty-four hours.

He also made the stars.  He did this using a cheap dart board set that He picked up at a garage sale.  He probably should have put a large piece of wood or a spare sheet of dry wall behind the dart board to protect the sky.  “Well at least these holes of light make the night sky beautiful to gaze at.  Maybe darts are not My thing.”  And God decided that His lack of dart skills was just fine (not good or great, just fine).  And there was evening, and there was a late night snack, and there was morning—the fourth day.

And God shouted (completely giving into His curious habit of talking to Himself), “I want an aquarium!  Put fish in the water and a cute little treasure chest that will open and close with bubbles.”  And God saw that it was way cool.  “Let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky, but not above My car.  Never above My car.”  So God created all sorts of sea creatures and every winged bird according to its kind.  He even made some birds with wings that could not fly because He thought that was funny.  And God saw that it was good until some of the birds started get too close to His car.  He then decided that this was just a hint shy of good.  God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and let birds increase on the earth.  And I will make a garage for my car.”  And there was evening, and a flat screen television in His garage, and there was morning—the fifth day.

And God said aloud and to Himself with a new found sense of confidence, “Talking to Myself is not a bad thing.  Let the land produce living creatures like chickens, cows and a seven hundred pound dog.  Let these creatures move along the ground.”  And it was so.  That is, it was so, until He stepped in a seventeen pound pile of dog droppings.  “On second thought, make the typical dog average about fifty pounds in total weight,” said God while scraping at His sandals.  And God saw that it was wasn’t exactly good, but He ran with it anyway.

Then God said, “Let there be mankind so that I can talk aloud and not feel odd about talking to Myself anymore.  Make mankind so they can rule over the fish and the birds, over the livestock and other wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.  Including spiders.  Even the really big hairy looking ones.”

So God created mankind in his own image, because He didn’t want to be the only one with back-hair, a bald spot, and the occasional outbreak of acne.  God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number.  Rule over the fish, birds, chickens, and even that nasty looking centipede over there.”

Then God said for the first time with someone actually present to hear Him, “I give you all the plants on the face of the whole earth.  They will be yours for food.  Try not to choke on the cantaloupe.  First, cut them into small pieces.  And to all the beasts of the earth, I give every green plant for food.  I was going to go with blue plants, but it just looked weird.”  And it was so.  Food was green, food was not blue.

God saw all that he had made, and it was good.  In fact, very good.  And there was evening, morning, evening, morning, evening, morning, evening, morning because He started playing with the strobe light again.  And then He stopped and called it the end of the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

Genesis Voices 2

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  Seriously, He was exhausted.  Creating every single thing ever is tiring.  And then He remembered that He created the couch and the blanket.  And then He invented snoring.

Ok I’m done for now.  I’ll stop here.

So how offended are you?  My hope is not at all.  God’s presence in my life is growing everyday and He continues to put odd voices in my head.  My desire here was only to make you smile and to think about God for a moment in time when perhaps you weren’t planning to.  And if you have never read the Bible before, maybe you should crack it open and find out what voices you hear.

Shall I continue with more of the story?

Is it wrong to plug my books here?  Probably.