Monday, August 13, 2012

Chapter the Present, In Which I Ponder the Peculiar Demise of My Creativity

This here is a blog I started back in aught-six. If you take a look at the archive, you’ll see that I had all kinds of neat, if totally inane, things to say for a couple of years there. Then the shit hit the fan. My ex and I separated in 2008, I was mostly unemployed, I started going to school full time, and I stopped doing anything creative for fun. No writing, no drawing, no photography, nothing.

In retrospect, it occurs to me that my early blogging frenzy was basically the still-flapping tail of the dead squirrel my marriage had become. It’s a cruel joke that Mother Nature plays on dead squirrels and marriages. They may be roadkill, but for a good long time their damn tails keep right on flapping cheerfully in the breeze, pretending nothing has changed. When no one’s around, that wiggly bit of fluff is just as limp and dead as the rest of the flat old carcass, but it insists on waving gleefully at each passerby. Vvvvrrrroooooom! “I’m okay! Thanks for running me over again, and be sure to check out my next blog post in which I will make pithy observations about anything but this stupefyingly dismal and humiliating personal experience! Wheeeeee!!!”

Over the past few years I have gotten divorced, moved three times, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with distinction, watched a couple of my employers close up shop just as I was ready to get back into the writer’s market again, struggled to find other freelance work, worked my ass off for months, and saved a little cash only to watch it disappear again during subsequent months of unemployment. Oh yeah, and I’m uninsured, which at least makes me feel a little like one of the Flying Wallendas. Look, Ma, no net! I seem to be working my way through one of those lists of stressful life events just for shits and giggles. It is entirely possible that there has also been a death in the family, but my head has been too far up my own ass to even notice. Uncle Amos has been awfully quiet lately, and I don’t think I’ve seen him blink in years.

But from adversity springs creativity, right? When life gives you crap, you make crap cakes. I’ve certainly got plenty of time on my hands, so I should be using it to write short stories or to build scale models of famous architecture out of toothpicks or carve presidential likenesses into giant blocks of butter. But I have nothing to say, no poignant statements to make. Instead, I stare at a blank computer screen or repeatedly make and erase random pencil marks on hot-press Bristol while my brain rattles around in my cavernous head like a BB in a tin can. I obsessively check job listings. I do laundry. I wipe countertops that are already clean. I extract pet fur from my laptop keyboard with tweezers. I flush the toilet just to watch the water go all swirly. Heh-heh! Swoosh!

Where does creativity go when it dies? Do I need to keep tanking marriages to get it back? Because that would really suck for everyone involved, and I don’t think I’m up to the task. On the bright side, however, this absurdly self-absorbed post has managed to shove my sorry ass past the flashing cursor. Maybe that’s a start.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Name is Canon Pixma, and I'm going to....

My gentleman friend recently expressed the desire to buy a new laptop to replace his 7-year-old relic, but admitted that he had no idea where to start. Knowing almost nothing about computers myself, I of course volunteered to purchase a new computer and peripherals for him and set up a wireless network in his home.

This could easily have resulted in a melodrama that culminated in double suicide, and I was fully aware of that as I pulled the new Dell out of the box. Not wishing to alarm my gentleman friend, however, I put on my most convincing mask of self-confidence (which I suspect closely resembles my mask of blissful imbecility), wiped my sweaty palms on a dog, and started plugging things in and pushing buttons, mostly not at random.

I had the laptop up and running in minutes and even managed to successfully transfer all the files and bookmarks from his old computer to the new one. Next, it was time to set up the router. I was worried about this part, since I let the kid at Radio Shack talk me out of the $40 Netgear router and into the $80 Cisco one, which he said was far easier to install. I left the store feeling a little like this…

…and as I pulled out of the parking lot, I could have sworn I saw the kid high-fiving his coworker as they both collapsed on the floor, hysterically laughing the peach fuzz off their scrotums. This may well have been the case, even, but since setting up the router took all of about thirty seconds, I no longer care.

Now it was time to set up the printer—a Canon Pixma MG5220 wireless all-in-one. I had done a lot of research and felt confident that I had found the most badass printer/copier/scanner on the market for under $200. After carefully removing its protective packaging, I stepped back to admire the fly-hooptiest of wireless all-in-ones.

Damn, baby, it was shiny.

“My name is Canon Pixma, and I love you!”

Baadasssss hella-shiny! I wanted to lick it, but remembering that I was not alone, I settled for running my hand across the top of it instead.

“Oops! Dust! We can’t have that.” I fetched a soft cloth and wiped down all sides of the printer. This inexplicably created more dust. Not always the quickest to catch on, I wiped and I wiped and I wiped some more until my jowls were covered in flecks of foam. When my frenzy subsided, I discovered to my chagrin that the printer had attracted several rooms’ worth of dust, a balloon, most of my hair, and a striped tube sock from the seventies.

Ah, well. So the printer was now more fuzzy than shiny. No big deal. My next task was to make the printer, router, and computer talk to each other without the aid of wires, pulleys, or levers. Not being a leprechaun, I was pretty damn sure I was never going to make this happen. But…

“My name is Canon Pixma, and I love you!”

Hooray! My first test page! Man, I was going to print out so much crap that my carbon footprint would need a clown shoe. Best of all, I could now retire from tech support, crack open some wine, and cook dinner. I went to, found a tasty-looking recipe, and hit “Print”...


Checked the printer status. “Document pending”… “Printing” … “Error.”

“Huh.” I canceled the document and tried printing something from Word.

“Document pending”… “Printing” … “Error.”

“My name is Canon Pixma, and I’m not sure I like you.”

“Shit.” I restarted the computer and printed out another test page just fine. I tried printing a Word document…

Hooray! Then I tried printing something off the Internet…

“My name is Canon Pixma…and I think I hate you!”

“Mother...fucker.” I repeated various combinations of the above steps for an hour. At some point my gentleman friend, who doesn’t drink wine, opened a bottle and brought me a glass. I uninstalled the software, reinstalled it, and once again repeated various combinations of the steps above. My gentleman friend, who doesn’t cook, brought me a cheese omelette. It was fluffy, delicious, and worthy of a Cooks Illustrated cover photograph. “Mmph,” I said.

At some point I gave up for the night and drowned my frustrations in liquor and bad TV. The next day, I wasted several more hours of my precious pre-menopausal life trying to get the damn thing to print. On the third day, I got desperate. I called Canon’s tech support hotline and explained my problem.

Nice Lady: I see. I’m sorry that you’re having this problem, and I hope we can resolve it. Have you printed out a test page?

Me: Oh yes, several. They’re very nice. But the machine just hangs up when I try to print off the Internet.

Nice Lady: Have you downloaded the Easy Web Printing software?

Me: I didn’t at first, but I finally did when I got desperate.

Nice Lady: Okay, good. Let’s just double check to make sure that it’s in your system files.

Me: Do I actually need special software with this device in order to print off the Internet?

Nice Lady: Yes, that’s right.

Me: [silence] Oooookay….Yeah, it’s in there. You mean I can’t print off the Internet without this software?

Nice Lady: That’s correct. Okay, let’s try to print a page off the Web.

Me: Okay…hitting print.................nothing. “Error.”

Nice Lady: Hmm. Okay. What browser are you using?

Me: Firefox.

Nice Lady: Ah! It is recommended that this software be used with Internet Explorer. So, let’s try this again with Internet Explorer.

Me: order to print off the Internet, I need special software and I can only use Internet Explorer?

Nice Lady: Yes, that’s right.

Me: You have got to be shi—…For real?!

Nice Lady: Yes, our software is specifically designed to work with Internet Explorer, and it may not be supported by other browsers.

Me: [exhibiting a nervous twitch] Heh! Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh! Okay, let’s give it a shot….

One hour later, I’m still on the phone with Nice Lady from Canon Tech Support, and we still can’t make the goddamn thing print off the Internet even with rotten, stinkin’ pukehole Internet Explorer. I thanked Nice Lady for all of her patience and help, and I hung up the phone.

I breathed in. I breathed out. Then I spun around and wrestled that shiny, evil, hunk-of-shit son-of-a-bitch Hell beast back into its little Hell box.

“My name is Canon Pixma…and I’m going to kill you!”

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Found this guy in my yard yesterday.


That is all.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Rollers Show

“In the future there will be no wars. But there will be . . . ROLLERBALL.”

That’s the tagline from the 1975 sci-fi masterpiece, Rollerball. This film provides what I can only assume is a stunningly accurate glimpse into the distant future -- the year 2018! -- when corporations rule the world, individuality is discouraged, and grown men on roller skates chase a silver ball around in circles and beat the living snot out of each other with spiked leather gloves that appear to have been purchased at Rob Halford’s Fist-O-Rama.

This film was a real eye-opener, let me tell you. I learned many, many things about the future, which I will now attempt to impart as a personal service to you, my endearingly ignorant and culturally starved readers.

In the future . . . sci-fi movies will drag along at a crippled snail’s pace.

In the future . . . James Caan’s mother will carefully lay out his Garanimals for him every morning.

In the future . . . chairs will be much too small to sit in comfortably.

In the future . . . all homes and corporate buildings will look like they were built in the seventies.

In the future . . . an exhumed John Houseman will return to the silver screen and torture fellow cast members with tedious braggadocio about his award-winning role in The Paper Chase.

In the future . . . a nifty font will constantly remind everyone that they are living . . . in the future!

In the future . . . people will have several “Television Sets” in one house!

In the future . . . James Caan will look pretty damn good with his shirt off.

In the future . . . Quincy’s sidekick, Dr. Sam Fujiyama, will have abandoned the medical profession to pursue his lifelong dream of being an equipment strategist for the Houston Rollerball team.

In the future . . . professional athletes will need an equipment strategist to tell them how to use complex technological advancements such as “Shin Guards,” “Elbow Pads,” and “Football Helmets.”

In the future . . . James Caan will wear pants so tight that his crotch will look like a relief map of the Brazilian Highlands.

In the future . . . all grown men -- even James Caan -- will still look like total douche bags on roller skates.

Ah, but I don’t want to give away the whole film. I strongly encourage every one of you to watch this flaming turd on wheels so that you too can experience your own thrilling cinematic journey . . . into the future!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dark Clothes Horse

I'm about to do a load of darks, and the bottle of detergent I just bought tells me to pour its dark blue liquid up to the second line of this cup.

Idiots run the world.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lebowski at Top of Stairs

I've always kind of liked this one.

I guess there's probably some sort of art snob name for this exercise, but I just call it a-picture-of-my-dog-that-I-drew-without-looking-at-the-paper- or-lifting-my-pencil-off-the-page. Come to think of it, the art snob name might have been a bit more practical. In all honesty, I think I ended up lifting my pencil off the page once. I'm not Pablo friggin' Picasso, after all.

Somebody Wind Me Up

I've got nothing to say.

I have drawn some rather nice chattering teeth, though. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm too Stupid to Use My Own Scanner

I recently figured out how to scan my drawings in a way that doesn't make them look like they've been run through a defective matter transmitter. It only took me about three years to do this, and then it was only because my friend Susan, who knows about these things, told me how.

In my defense, the process is completely counterintuitive. When I fire up the old Canon, it asks me what type of material I want to scan. I'd always chosen the "black and white line art" option, because, 1.) my drawings are in black and white, and, 2.) they are mostly made up of lines. It seems that this little test is precisely how Canon separates the smart kids from the ass-backward stupid ones. When I explained to my friend how I'd been scanning my drawings in the past, she responded "Oh, no. Don't use that line art setting. Scan your drawings as color photos." Well, that was just about the dumbest thing I'd ever heard and I wondered vaguely whether Susan had taken to hitting the sauce in the afternoon. I was desperate enough to give it a shot, however, and I'll be darned if she wasn't right.

That there's an exercise I did for a Drawing 1 class I took last fall. (Clicking on the picture will bring up a much larger version, by the way.) The assignment was to stuff a bunch of miscellaneous crap in a shoe box and draw it. There were slots in the sides of the box so some of the stuff was sticking out the side. The depth of the box is not readily apparent in this scan, since my scanner is smaller than the actual drawing and there were no 8-year-olds around to show me how to use Canon's foolproof "stitch assist" feature.

If Susan looks closely, she will notice a very poor rendering of a very nice piece of pottery that she made for me many years ago.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wawa, You've Given Me a Wah-wah

Take a good look at this picture. What do you see?

“A gas station,” you say? “A convenience store,” you say? Apparently, only the idiot offspring of Mr. Magoo are reading my blog today. Hell, anyone with one good eye and a metal plate in his head would recognize the above Wawa establishment as an oasis of gourmet specialty items for weary travelers with the most highly refined of palates.

Okay, I can tell that you need me to spell this out for you. The below advertisement is proof that my assessment of the above photo is entirely accurate.

Now do you believe me? For those of you not familiar with this gourmet taste treat, “ciabatta” is the Italian word for “slipper” and is used to describe a type of bread with a slightly wrinkled, crisp crust and delightfully airy center. While ciabatta loaves are largely shapeless, they often have a bit of a pointy end that resembles the toe of a lady’s slipper. Thus the name. Here is a ciabatta loaf that I baked recently.

As this was my first attempt at ciabatta, it resembles something more of a circus geek’s clubfoot than the shoe of a dainty Italian maiden, but you get the idea.

The observant reader may notice that Wawa’s ciabatta looks nothing like the traditional Italian loaf I’ve just described. For one thing, it is split down the center like a loaf of Sara Lee* split-top bread. For another, it has a distinct shape not unlike that of a weenie bun suffering from gastric bloat. In fact, it would seem that the ciabatta’s comparative pallor is the only quality that sets it apart from Wawa’s standard hoagie roll.

We should all congratulate the Wawa on its impressive display of inventive epicureanism. It takes a tanker truck full of balls to shatter a stale, centuries-old bread baking tradition in effort to create a ground-breaking new taste sensation that will satisfy no one and everyone simultaneously.

In its infinite wisdom, Wawa realized that not every one of its potential customers is a culinary expert. There were bound to be a few poor slobs stumbling into Wawa who wouldn't know a boulangerie from a pair of crotchless underpants. So, Wawa was kind enough to lend these folks a guiding hand by providing a beverage suggestion that would compliment the ciabatta’s flavor rather than overpower the complexity of its yeasty wang.

Thanks to Wawa, culinary rubes now know that a fountain beverage the size of an oil drum provides the best accompaniment to ciabatta, and that pairing ciabatta with an ICEE is nothing shy of gauche.

Since Wawa’s business practices had so deeply moved me, I decided to visit the company’s website so I could learn all there is to know about this Gourmet Good Citizen. I was thrilled to find that Wawa has posted its mission statement online for all to see. Among the many high standards that the company strives to uphold, I found these to be the most poignant and relevant to its obvious devotion to artisan bread baking:

Our Core Purpose. . .
To Simplify Our Customers’ Daily Lives

Our Core Values. . .
Delight People
Embrace Change

I, for one, am delighted by how much simpler my life has become due to Wawa’s commitment to embracing change. Gone are the days I once spent toiling in the kitchen, kneading bread by hand while a hot oven singed my sagging derriere. I’m off to the Wawa to git me some of that $3.99 ciabatta action. Hot-damn!

* Sara Lee Food and Beverage, incidentally, has just recalled several of its whole wheat bread products because they “might” contain metal fragments. While it’s true that nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee, apparently there is at least one Nitpicky Dick out there who doesn’t like metal shavings in his whole wheat.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Beach Baby

I spent some time at the beach last week. It was a very nice beach, with lots of sand and water and colorful sailboats. It was very sunny and there were lots of pretty umbrellas to keep the sun from frying the crap out of all the nice people who were on the beach. Hundreds of people, there were. The place was crawling with them. Oh, how I looked forward to taking nice pictures of all the nice people and things I saw at the nice beach. So, what do I do instead?


Well, it's a good thing I took all those photos when I was in Manhattan last winter, or folks might begin to think I'm some sort of recluse with a mental problem.

What's that you say? There are no people in any of those photos either?


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Props to Me!

Having come to fully appreciate the genius that is Storchy's Swingin' Hullaba-log, my friend Chuck (shown here in his natural habitat). . .


. . . was inspired to write a poem about it. I shall post it here for all to enjoy.

Storchy Street
by Rod McKuen

Oh, Storchy Street is a magical place
where ravenous insects bite off your face
And Arbor Day lasts all the year 'round
And toast comes up thru' a hole in the ground.
It's just at the end of Daisy Dog Road
Come along with me, and thence shall we go!
We'll eat quail eggs from a can, with a spoon
'til our big blue bellies turn round as the moon!
Then we'll dance to the Bee Gees and shout "Holy
'Til Sweet Lizzie Borden puts an end to us all.

Ain't that a beaut? I weep every time I read it.

Would that I had the time to spend gushing about Chuck's many excellent qualities. In the interest of brevity, however, I will just point out that, 1.) Chuck and Rod McKuen are actually the same person (you heard it here first!), and, 2.) Chuck is a fan of Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass-Kickin Team.

Those two things alone make Chuck cooler than Elvis. Hell . . . props to Chuck, too!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Today I had to get up at 5:30 AM to make it to a 7:30 trigonometry test. Do you know what else is up at 5:30 in the morning? The fucking moon, that's what.

I'm going back to bed.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

12 Things I Learned From An Evening of Watching "The Kids Are Alright" and Led Zep's "How the West Was Won" Back-To-Back

1. Keith Moon was by far the coolest member of The Who.

2. Keith Moon and John Bonham were both crazy-phenomenal drummers. If I had to choose between them, though, I'd pick John Bonham. Keith Moon's constant reliance on cymbal crashing makes him a tad more busy than I like, though his style was an integral part of The Who's sound. There's a real art to Bonham's instinct to keep it simple. What he chooses not to play is just as important as what he plays.

3. Les Pauls are wonderful guitars that really shouldn't oughta be smashed.

4. Roger Daltrey and Robert Plant both shopped at at Vulgar Trouser World.

5. Roger Daltrey wore Garanimals shirts, but Robert Plant wore his mum's blouses.

6. Roger Daltrey and Robert Plant are both equally annoying, yet equally necessary.

7. At times, both Roger Daltrey and John Paul Jones wore outfits frightfully similar to 1970s ladies' office fashions that were inspired by "Little House on the Prairie".

8. Pete Townshend's guitar playing seems cute and amusing compared to that of Jimmy Page.

9. Led Zeppelin's lyrics are best ignored. The Who's lyrics, on the other hand, could be quite pithy on occasion.

10. Jimmy Page had fabulous taste in footwear.

11. The young Robert Plant was really just a big nerd who liked Tolkien way too much. If Led Zeppelin had formed in the '70s instead of the '60s, all of their songs would've been about Star Wars.

12. I'd like The Who a whole lot more if they had broken up in 1968.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Blow It Out Your Ass, Kid.

Jeez, you’d think this poor bastard would’ve taken his aversion to play into consideration prior to choosing a career as a giant toy. A little vocational counseling would do him a world of good, as he's clearly not a hopeless case. For example, his passive-aggressive smile would be well suited to a career as a Bergdorf Goodman retail sales representative.

"I'm sorry, sir, but I'm afraid your credit card has been declined."

And his 5'5" height would make him a shoe-in as a jockey, although he'd have to work on his flexibility some. Of course, that cold, hard stare could set him up for a highly successful career in interrogation, or perhaps hypnotism.

"Resistance is futile!"

It pains me to see people wasting their lives in dead-end jobs. The world is your oyster, little man. Follow your dreams.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

National Arbor Day Foundation Helps Planet by Distributing Recycled Paper Products Like There’s No Friggin’ Tomorrow

Yesterday I received the following solicitation from the National Arbor Day Foundation:

Note the words “STATEMENT ENCLOSED” and the block of X-ray-specs-proof squiggles that make the envelope appear all official-like. Now, I am not a member of the National Arbor Day Foundation (nor have I ever been), but my knee-jerk reaction to the “STATEMENT ENCLOSED” label was to wonder whether some identity-thieving jackass was running up my charge account with membership dues for do-goodery organizations such as this one. Upon examining the STATEMENT that was indeed ENCLOSED, I noticed that I, Storchy, was listed as a “Member,” and that the organization wanted me (a lousy deadbeat member, apparently) to cough up my “Annual Membership Dues” of $10. Having dismissed my initial identity theft theory as asinine, I fretted that I might in fact have purchased a National Arbor Day Foundation membership the previous year, after getting shit-faced on Mad Dog at my annual Arbor Day cookout and tire-burning party. I get a little emotional at those things, especially when I’m hammered.

However, I forgot my worries once I explored the contents of the envelope.

Holy balls! There’s enough recycled paper in that pile to constipate a large goatherd. It seems the National Arbor Day Foundation wishes to show its gratitude for my nonexistent support by showering me with the following gifts:

1.) Two Give-a-Tree greeting cards, with envelopes
2.) An 11 x 17 Rainforest Rescue Wall Calendar
3.) A book about planting and caring for trees
4.) Return address labels
5.) A bimonthly newsletter

A recycled paper product, another recycled paper product, yet another recycled paper product, a sticky recycled paper product, and a bimonthly recycled paper product. But wait! There’s more!

6.) A dozen 10-ounce bags (recycled paper bags, presumably) of their Arbor Day Specialty Coffee “that matures slowly in the shade of tall rain forest trees . . . and is produced without burning the forest to grow sun-loving commercial coffee.”

A nice idea on the surface, granted. However, I suspect the description neglects to mention that Arbor Day Specialty Coffee trees are fertilized with the freshly squeezed blood of baby lemurs, and the coffee tastes like bonobo ass with a hint of powdery mildew.

As part of my member benefits, the swell folks of the National Arbor Day Foundation will plant two trees for me free of charge. They kind of have to, really. When the world runs out of recycled paper, the National Arbor Day Foundation will need to use those trees to make more paper products that will eventually be recycled and distributed across the globe in bulk mail.

Ah, but I kid the National Arbor Day Foundation. Truth is, I’m glad I received this solicitation from such a fine, fine organization. It has taught me a great deal about protecting our environment.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Props to Donald Trump!

Donald Trump is a big, important business tycoon. He is very busy. I am not a big, important business tycoon. I am not as busy as Donald Trump.

The View is a show on television. It is on during the day when most people work. It is a show for ladies. I am a lady. Donald Trump is not a lady. He is a man. A very, very busy man, who runs casinos and stars in his own TV show and has affairs and builds shiny, pink marble skyscrapers that blot out the sun. So busy.

I have only watched The View once for about ten minutes. It was because Little Richard was on. He played a song and then he showed us everything that was in his makeup bag. Oh, Little Richard, you loveable freak show. There were many ladies on the program, but I could not tell you who they were except for Barbara Walters, who has been on television since the days when TVs only had one channel and were powered by raw potatoes.

Today, Donald Trump was on CNN. He was talking about The View. He knew the names of all the ladies on The View. He knew about each lady’s personality foibles. He knew that one of the ladies had been in a relationship for twenty-five years. He knew details about a disagreement that two of the ladies had recently.

I can only name two of the ladies who are currently on The View. One of them is Barbara Walters. The other is Rosie O’Donnell. I only know that Rosie O'Donnell is on The View because Donald Trump said so on the TV a few weeks ago. Plus, you can hear her yelling even when the TV is off and your head is in a bucket of wet sand. I do not know anything about any of the ladies’ private lives. There are many, many things that I do not know about The View.

But Donald Trump knows everything about The View even though he is very busy and is not a lady. It is nice that he can still find the time to watch a television program he enjoys. If I were a big, important business tycoon and I had a favorite TV show, I would also want to tell the world about it on CNN. MSNBC and Fox, too.

Thank you, Donald Trump, for keeping me abreast of what’s happening on a TV show that I can’t seem to find time to watch. You go, girl!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Excess Body Fat is Pissing on My Good Time

No, that isn’t Mars. The above is a satellite photo of my gut. A team of NASA scientists has gleefully classified my gut as the newest dwarf planet in our solar system. Not just another one of those puny, half-assed Category-3 “small solar-system bodies,” Storchygut (as NASA has dubbed the new dwarf planet) is in orbit around the sun and has enough self-gravity to maintain its nearly round shape. The new dwarf planet even has its own moon, which was mercifully omitted from the above photo.

In light of my gut’s new dwarf planet status, I can no longer ignore the fact that I’ve gained several hundred pounds over the winter. As I sit here, the seams of last year’s summer clothes are stretched so tightly around my torso that my own mother would readily mistake me for the Michelin Man. Over the past few months, part of me (the part of me that likes to eat, which is most of me)has been tickled by a sort of morbid curiosity every time I step on the scale and find that I’ve gained another couple of pounds. We have little conversations, that part of me and I:

ME: [steps on scale] HO-ly CRAP!
ME: [steps off the scale and back on again, peering over her gut] Shit! . . . . Shit! Shit! Shit!
TPOMTLTE: HOO-doggie! Now, ain’t that somethin’?
ME: But . . . I . . . how?
TPOMTLTE: Eh. What difference does it make? Hey, do you want a bacon sandwich?
ME: Hell, yeah.

So, after a months-long hiatus, I got back on the exercise wagon. Since I do not wish to become the target of my neighbors' ridicule, I generally do all of my exercising after dark. I load up my iPod and walk/run (mostly walk) until I get tired, which on a good day is usually around the 5-mile mark. However, because I’m in the worst shape of my whole life, I don’t have good days just yet. In fact, I currently have all the aerobic stamina of septuagenarian coal miner (which might actually be a slight overestimation of my abilities).

This past Saturday, on my maiden voyage, I strapped on the wrist weights and walked a little over two and a half miles before I started getting shin splints and a knot in my shoulder. I’d forgotten the part about muscles and the stretching of them, you see. I woke up on Sunday feeling like I’d been bludgeoned repeatedly with a sack full of grapefruits, but that did not deter me from taking another walk that evening. Apparently, once I finally manage to peel my dusty old carcass off the couch, I’m practically bionic. So, Sunday night I was feeling great. It was a beautiful night, I had walked half a mile, and a particularly good NRBQ song (“Green Lights”) that popped up on the iPod had spurred me into a sprint. Whee! But, then . . .bzZZzzzzZZT! THWACK! Something flew straight into the corner of my eye and stuck there. I couldn’t exactly see what it was, the thing being in my eye and all, but the telltale buzzing and rapid-fire stinging that occurred during my desperate attempts to swat it away have lead me to positively identify the perpetrator:

What a stroke of luck it was that the offender’s mug shot was on file due to his previous criminal record. The result of this dipteran brute’s handiwork is shown below.

Note the painful, debilitating swelling and redness just below the tear duct area. Tragic.

Your average person would probably come away from such a traumatic experience having learned rudimentary lessons like these:

1.) There are a lot of bugs out at night.
2.) When there are a lot of bugs out, it’s maybe not the best time to run.
3.) If nighttime running is necessary, maybe some kind of eye protection would be nice.

While the validity of these conclusions is arguable, I feel they are frightfully shortsighted. Having completed nearly two years of part-time study at Durham Technical Community College, my insight into such matters is far more fine-tuned and forward-thinking than that of Joe Q. Schlub’s. Therefore, it is my duty to share the valuable life lessons that I, Storchy, have gleaned from this experience so that others may benefit from them as well. These lessons are as follows (ahem):

1.) Giant insects are after me (and perhaps all of us).
2.) Giant insects want to eat your head, and they will, too, unless their god calls them away suddenly, in which case they will just leave a big sting-y mark under your eye that seems really conspicuous to you even though nobody else probably notices it.
3.) Giant insects do not want me (and perhaps all of us) to exercise.
4.) Exercise must be avoided at all costs or giant insects will eat your head, and what’s the point of having a washboard stomach and buttcheeks like two ripe cantaloupes if you don’t have a head? (Hint: No point. No point at all.)

Be safe out there, people.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mountains Rock

Just spent a long weekend in the mountains of western North Carolina. I can't write worth a damn these days, but my shutter button finger still works. Apparently, its muscles are the rare few in my body that have not entirely atrophied due to lack of physical activity. It's amazing, really, that I am still able to hold my head upright. Ah, but I digress. Behold . . . the mountains.

Kind of purty, ain't they?