How NOT to keep readers reading your articles on WordPress

Oh dear. It seems I have pissed someone off with my blog. I TOTALLY did not see this coming.  Don’t worry… I took screen shots of the comments so you can all enjoy my moment:

Comment 01

Wow… I had a RANT? Awesome. Wait… I had a rant on my guide to making t-shirts for Zazzle? That is terrible place for a rant. What kind of blog am I running here?

Comment 02

First of all… pretty funny? I am incredibly insulted. Secondly, how can a person get upset over gun and baby hating comments on a blog post about making t-shirts? Why on earth would anyone even bring up guns and babies while talking about making stuff on Zazzle? Oh, wait… this is MY blog. Frank is probably right, I do tend to drift from the topic at hand.

Dear Frank: Please allow me remedy the anti-gun and anti-life rant on the Zazzle T-shirt Guide by explaining my stance more clearly. It is NOT that I am pro-abortion. It is that I am against making women have babies. You see Frank, I have had a baby. I had a baby nine years ago. That was NINE years ago and he is STILL following me around asking for stuff like food, and clothing, and hermit crabs. You wouldn’t believe it Frank, it is like a NIGHTMARE. For a while, he was even making me watching this show with him about these trains that talked. TALKING TRAINS, Frank! I would never push that on anyone. It just seems cruel.

This is just to prove that I am not making up the whole thing about the talking trains.

This is just to prove that I am not making up the whole thing about the talking trains.

About the guns, I have to admit that they do make me uncomfortable. However, that is not because of MSNBC or ESPN, it is because of the messy cleanup. Have you seen Pulp Fiction? Those guys accidentally shot some dude in their car and there was brain mess EVERYWHERE. It took forever for them to clean it up. You probably don’t know me very well, Frank, but I am VERY accident-prone. If I am carrying a gun around, I will definitely end up shooting someone in my car.

pulpfiction

See… look at the front of John Travolta’s shirt. No amount of OxyClean is ever getting that out.

As far as believing everything I see on MSNBC, can you please tell me what channel that is on? I mainly use my television for watching documentaries about cats. Also, I’m not that good at running the menu guide or telling what channel stuff is on. Also, I hate that Matt Lauer guy. Is he going to be on the MSNBC channel? Because, if so… I’m OUT. I don’t even know why I hate him. He is probably a totally nice guy. Not that I would sit down and have lunch with him or anything. I really don’t have time for all that. It must be the hair.

Matt Lauer's hair. It is VERY unsettling.

Matt Lauer’s hair. It is VERY unsettling.

So, to recap, it is not that I meant to piss you off, Frank. I am really very open-minded about these things. Any rants I may accidentally post to my Zazzle Guidelines stem directly from the fact that I do not want to have lunch with Matt Lauer. Honestly, I don’t even know how this stuff comes up. Sorry you stopped reading my blog because of my undue dislike of Matt Lauer’s haircut. You are probably justified. However, I must confess that most people stopped reading this blog a long time ago because it hasn’t been updated in ages. Ironically… you, Frank, are like my BIGGEST fan!

This is for you, Frank!

Also… one more…

You can never be too careful.

You can never be too careful.

Sweets from Finland

It isn’t everyday that you get a package of sweets from Finland from @heinakroon.

Look everyone I got sweets from Finland. SWEETS! From FINLAND!

Look everyone I got sweets from Finland. SWEETS! From FINLAND!

One fateful morning, I found this package in my mailbox. Andreas sent me salted licorice! I squealed with glee and took my find immediately to the people who would appreciate it the most: my office mates in cubicle land.

My cubicle mate was very impressed that people on Twitter would send me licorice from Finland. My cubicle mate never seems very impressed with me in general because I never know what is on YouTube even though things have had like a million hits or whatever. I save face by telling him that the rock I live under doesn’t get wireless. Today, however, things are about to change. I told him that not ONLY have I received licorice from Finland, I have also received penguin chips from New Zealand (via @carocreature) AND pickled mango with a sexy bikini postcard from Hawaii (via @daralynnieloo). Then… he FOLLOWED me. Can you believe it?

Andreas got me the XXL Salmiak. Because that is how I roll!

Andreas got me the XXL Salmiak. Because that is how I roll!

When Andreas sends you licorice, he is very thorough. Not only did he sent the salted licorice I told him on Twitter I wanted to try, but he also sent a slab of regular licorice, and some lovely chocolate with licorice centers.

This is the licorice assortment I took around the office for EVERYONE to try. They all appreciated it. I can tell by the distrustful looks they gave me.

This is the licorice assortment I took around the office for EVERYONE to try. They all appreciated it. I can tell by the distrustful looks they gave me.

So, I assembled this very attractive platter of licorice from Finland and took it around for everyone to try. People seem to be suspicious of me in general, I have no idea why. Carrying around this licorice assortment did nothing for my credibility. However, sometimes people need me to do stuff for them. Even though I am actually paid money to sit around this place and do things for people, I guess it never hurts to humor someone and try their salted licorice.

How to get people to try your licorice

The chocolate licorice is the gateway licorice. It looks and tastes like a nice creamy chocolate until suddenly, you hit the licorice center. Then, it is too late. You are already committed. You may as well go for the next licorice encounter.

If the person isn’t gagging too much from the licorice-squirting chocolate, then you offer the traditional licorice. I assume it is the traditional licorice. People in the office compared it to ripping apart a tire. Once people successfully rip a section from the licorice slab to start chewing on, it is time for the piece de resistance (and by that I mean the piece they will resist the most)… the salted licorice.

Mmm... salted licorice. Because salt makes everything better.

Mmm… salted licorice. Because salt makes everything better.

I tried the salted licorice several times, because I am assuming it is an acquired taste. Let me just start out by saying this is not a candy to be taken lightly.  At first, the flavor is very intense. Then, once you chew on the candy for a while, it is even more intense. If you like being simultaneously overwhelmed by the flavors of salt and licorice, then this is the treat for you. People in the office usually bit a piece of the salted licorice in half. They would chew it for a few seconds, then start immediately looking for a trash can to accommodate the other half.

This is our candy jar at work. My cubicle mate didn’t even THANK me for filling it up. People can be really ungrateful.

This is our candy jar at work. My cubicle mate didn’t even THANK me for filling it up. People can be really ungrateful.

I placed the rest of the candy in a lovely arrangement in our cubicle’s communal candy bowl. Only one guy really liked it, but he is from Iran. Not even that guy from Honduras who made me try those awful biscuits was a fan of the licorice. But, that does NOT mean that I am ungrateful for my care package from Finland. On the contrary, I would like to submit a formal thank you message to  @heinakroon.

Dear Andreas: Thank you so much for sending us all the licorice assortment. I’m sorry that it wasn’t received as well as I had hoped. Apparently, we aren’t used to licorice candy over here. I really can’t understand why. American licorice is just like licorice in Finland except we take out all the licorice flavor, twirl it around in a nice shape, and make it taste like strawberries. We also give it a cool name. What you call ‘Salmiak,’ we call ‘Twizzlers’. Note multiple use of the letter ‘z’. That is how you know your candy really has something if it is named with lots of z’s.

Hmmm. One of these things is not like the others.

Hmmm. One of these things is not like the others.

All in all, it was lots of fun, getting people to try all the licorice. I still keep it around to put out on my desk once in awhile. I’m fairly certain it has no expiration date, and it is great because people are a little more wary in coming around to chat in a perky voice early in the morning when there is licorice handy that I might make them try. It is like a “Go Away” sign, only subtle.

Come try my licorice... For when a stranger handing out candy just isn't creepy enough.

Come try my licorice… For when a stranger handing out candy just isn’t creepy enough.

Failed Hair Day

Because, when your hair looks great you should get credit for it. Even if it is all drizzly outside.

Happy Heart Attack Day

Today, on the very day that everyone is wearing red to celebrate heart attacks, I am NOT on my blood pressure medication. My blood is running amok UN-MEDICATED. But, at least I am not lying on the floor in pain with a bottle of Vicodin. I’m not sure what percentage heart attack chance I am signing up for here, but it is really, really hard to conduct your life while lying on your floor in pain. I missed Indian food day at work and everything.

Here is the whole story… as long and drawn out as possible…

One day my back hurt. That kind of hurting where it feels like your muscles are attacking themselves with battery acid. The kind of hurting where you leave home from work so you can go lay on the floor in agony holding a bottle of Vicodin.

So, I did what I guess people do when they are experiencing severe pain, I made an appointment and went to the doctor. This is a big step for me, because I really HATE going to the doctor. In case you haven’t seen  the television series House, medical science is a bunch of guesswork. You go in and describe your symptoms, then the doctors order a series of tests after which they still have no clue what is wrong with you. I guess they are trying to buy time until the test results come in, hoping whatever it is wrong with you will resolve itself on its own.

The doctor enters the room and asks what the problem is. I tell the doctor that the muscles are hurting in my upper back and shoulders. She asks if I am vomiting or if I have diarrhea. I tell her, that no, as a matter of fact I am not vomiting. If I were vomiting with diarrhea, then those would most likely the very set of symptoms I would start off with. I’m not one to bury the lead.

She seems a bit disappointed about the lack of vomiting. She then suggests blood work, an EKG and a chest X-ray. I say to this doctor, “You DID hear me say that my BACK hurt… right? Is an EKG really necessary?” After some negotiation, we agree to limit the testing to the blood work. Of course, my back is still killing me. But… hey, at least I’ll get some nice blood reports later.

So, I go home and try to sleep, but then wake up in the middle of the night and can’t feel my hands. My fingers are all numb and tingly. I don’t like this because I read once on one of those medical sites that this person’s nerves were getting all compressed and she was almost paralyzed for life.

I’ve been thinking recently that I will probably die alone with cats and hoarded magazines, but I never ONCE pictured being paralyzed before I even GOT the magazines. Plus, I would hate to be paralyzed around a bunch of cats. No telling what they would do to you. I doubt they would be kind. I decide to go to the ER before I become paralyzed. That way, at least I will be paralyzed for life around medical staff instead of cats and magazines I haven’t hoarded yet.

I get to the ER, and everyone seems strangely unconcerned about the fact that my back hurts like hell and I can’t feel my hands and I will soon be paralyzed for life. They keep asking me if I am vomiting. Or, if I am having diarrhea. I am so tired of explaining the lack of vomiting.

I'm NOT vomiting

Take this shirt with you to the ER. You will need it. Of course, if you do end up vomiting after all, you can just vomit directly on the shirt. The vomit will be readily apparent and this will save time for everyone.

The medical people at the emergency room also want to do the EKG and the chest X-rays. They even want to do a sonogram of my gallbladder. While I would love to see what my gallbladder is up to, I really don’t think it has anything to do with me not being able to feel my hands. I realize I have come to the wrong place to be saved from being eaten alive by cats.

I patiently explain that I am NOT vomiting, and I don’t need an EKG, or a chest X-ray. I especially don’t need a gallbladder sonogram. The doctor seems perplexed that anyone would blatantly refuse a perfectly good gallbladder sonogram, but finally comes to a surprising conclusion, “I guess we can just say your back hurts and let you go.”

Then I say, “My back DOES HURT! That is EXACTLY what I said when I came into this freak show.” Of course, I say this inside my mind because I notice the doctor is handing me some prescriptions. Prescriptions DIRECTLY RELATED to my back hurting. Wow. I’m stunned.

I end up leaving with steroids to bring down the swelling that was crushing my nerves and Vicodin to manage the pain. Because… my back hurt, apparently.

Turns out that I went through all of this because it is a side effect of the blood pressure medication the doctor put me on. Why do they even ASK you what medication you are on if they are just going to assume you have gallbladder failure?

I’ve been through four different kinds of this type of medication. None of them have really worked that well and all of them have had side effects. The first one made me crave pickle juice. Seriously, it did. The second one made me feel like I ate gravel and was walking around with rocks in my stomach. The third one gave me this constant cough that kept me up all night and must have been incredibly annoying to co-workers. Now this one makes my muscles feel like they are attacking themselves.

I really don’t want to get on another set of pills so I can wait for more new and surprising side effects, but you can’t just go around with your blood pressure high. They won’t let you.

I don’t have cholesterol problems, so my arteries aren’t filled with goo. I exercise, so I’m not carrying around extra weight. Maybe I just rev higher than other people. My dad is the same way, so it must be a hereditary thing. But you aren’t allowed to rev higher because doctors will not go for this theory at all.

It is just like when I wanted to carry that human skull with me at graduation. No one else is carrying human skulls. You are NOT allowed to be different, and this INCLUDES your blood (and carrying human skulls). If you go to the dentist with high blood pressure, they will totally freak out. So will the eye doctor. Pretty soon you can’t take your blood anywhere without people freaking out about it. The ironic thing is that while the people are all getting anxious and freaky, they don’t seem to realize they are creating the VERY SITUATION that is going to make the blood pressure go even higher. No one sees irony while it is happening.

Don’t worry, everyone… as soon as I am completely healthy again, I am going to go to the doctor to get this whole thing straightened out. I don’t want to back there while I am sick. It is a recipe for fucking disaster.

How to Survive Team Building Workshops

It’s that time of year again… time for semi-annual office TEAM BUILDING.

@pictou suggested I fake a seizure to get out of the team building, but that is how I got out of the last one and they aren’t going to go for it every time. I’m going to have to start spacing these things out.

This year, team building was hosted by a guy in an orange jumpsuit which solicited several reactions from Twitter. @jbrown3079 asked if I was working in an oil change place, while @Aerten thought he looked like a convicted felon. @debihen confirmed that where she lives, the orange jumpsuit is standard prison wear.

Sorry this picture is blurry. I had to take it fast so the guy wouldn’t see me. I have no idea what crimes this person has committed so it is not a good idea to get on his bad side.

Later, the orange jumpsuit guy started up a bizarre conversation with me about how far a molecule has to travel to get from the center to the surface of the sun. That is how felons talk, I guess.

Each team gets assigned a cell phone. We also had a camera, which I couldn’t figure out how to operate properly because I always take pictures with my cell phone. I don’t know why they couldn’t let us take pictures with the phone. What is the point of technology if you end up carrying around a camera?

The first stop on our long team building journey is to talk to a guy with a briefcase. He had all of these strange patterns displayed out on this table in the middle of Panera Bread. At first, I thought he was going to tell me my fortune. He ended up making us play Boggle.

According to @jbrown3079, I was lucky this guy didn’t sell me a gym membership. @DragonTC seemed concerned I was going to somehow end up handcuffed to the briefcase.

Next, we had to go into Starbucks. Normally, I rather enjoy going into Starbucks. However, on this specific Starbucks occasion, our team was supposed to hold hands in a circle and hum until the person assigned to this bizarre game appeared to give us a clue.

I looked longingly at the people with their coffee typing at their laptops. However, having a nice cup of coffee and wireless access was not in the cards for me. We stood outside humming, as if we couldn’t decide between starting cult or a séance, until this person finally approached us. She then told us a story about a fish.

This woman probably thought our humming was terrible, because it seemed to take her forever to get out there. Maybe she was enjoying her coffee.

I can’t tell you how the story of the fish was relevant to our team building because I was busy taking pictures for Twitter.

This is a picture of hummus. There was beet hummus, and carrot hummus, and also the kind with the chickpeas. I didn’t get to try any of the hummus; however, because we were only in this place to look at the pictures on the walls. Honestly, I don’t know how we didn’t get thrown out. No one wants you in a place where you are looking at the walls and taking pictures of hummus and not even buying anything.

20130111-142708.jpg

This is the place where @DragonTC said she would meet me with one of those tiny umbrellas that you put in drinks. I don’t know what they cook up in a cocktail kitchen, but I never did find out because this was not one of the places we had to go into to hum or talk to people with briefcases.

At one point in all of this, another team approaches us. Some of the members on this team are VERY enthusiastic about doing an “Inter-Team Challenge” because it would provide the optimum number of points.

Apparently, we would all need to participate in something called a “Dance-Off.” My only response to all this was that I don’t give a damn how many points are on the line, I am NOT doing a dance off. Luckily, our phone wouldn’t let us participate because we were right in the middle of the fish-lady task. However, all of this got me thinking the type of person I should be, or maybe could be, in contrast to the type of person I actually am.

My current attitude towards team building

My current attitude towards team building

Is there something wrong with me because I don’t care how many points our team will get if we participate in a Dance-Off? If I change the way I look at the world around me, would I be happier?

My potential attitude towards team building

My potential attitude towards team building

Maybe instead of taking random pictures of places I would rather be, I could actually participate in the task at hand. I could enjoy the moment. I could bask in the humorous camaraderie of looking ridiculous outside a Starbucks. Can you change who you are by changing the way you look at things? That is exact moment when…… I saw they were handing out DRINK TICKETS.

drinktickets

Oh, wait…. drink tickets!!!

This is me living happily ever after with my glass of wine.

Once you have a large glass of wine, you no longer have to worry about being an entirely different person for the sake of team building. You can pretty much just relax and drink your wine.

Okay, so forget all that other stuff from before about looking at the world in a different perspective. The moral of this story is that if you are ever stuck in a team building, or end up in prison, you can depend on your Twitter friends to help you out.

@debihen will visit you in the big house to check up on your prison tats.

@DragonTC will send you cigarettes to use as currency and a cake that may or may not have a file in it.

@recordpaul will be of no use whatsoever. He will only ask, “Why are you in jail?” Sometimes, you don’t know WHY you are in jail, Paul. You just end up there. The least you can do is quit asking questions and send me cigarettes and some designs for my prison tats.

@edrafalko will point out how many ‘i’s are in random words like ‘wine’ and ‘antisocial.’ This makes a lot more sense within the context that I am not going to provide.

@jbrown3079 will wisely suggest that a vodka bar would be a more practical way of getting people to participate in any type of dance demonstration.

Most importantly of all, remember this: No matter who you are, or what people in real life may put you through, in the words of @DragonTC, “You are (twitter) loved.”

How to stalk Indiana Jones in the parking lot and miserably fail

There is a jeep that parks outside my work with four-wheel drive and knobby tires. I always imagined Indiana Jones driving that jeep with wearing a leather hat and hanging his whip out an open window (and by that, I mean an ACTUAL whip. Get your pants back on Ding Dong Joe).

Today, I saw the jeep pull into a parking space. The man exiting the jeep looked, disappointingly, nothing like Indiana Jones. He wasn’t rugged, with tan skin weathered from the sun and wind. He was thin and pale. He had glasses and a suit. He had no leather hat. He looked, in fact, like he had never been outdoors a day in his life. I walked into the building reflecting on how disillusioned I was with the driver of this jeep.

Then… I started wondering if people are disappointed with me arriving in my Honda Civic. Who drives a Honda Civic, anyway? Maybe they are expecting a polite Asian man, and here I come out of the car all sarcastic and glaring. I feel like my car is a good fit for me though. I’m a terrible driver because I am essentially bad at aiming at things. This car is small enough to limit the damage of my carelessness and bad aim. Every time I miss something by inches, I am grateful not to be driving some mammoth SUV.

Then… I started thinking about those bumper stickers people put on their cars about their other car being something else. Wait, let me see if I can find an example.

othercarporsche
This seems close enough.

Then… I started thinking about how you could apply this to t-shirts. This is what I came up with…

armani
Get it? Because, you are trying to impress people, but really you make them think that you only have two shirts. HILARIOUS… right?

Fine. Give me a break. It’s Monday.

Oh… what? It’s Friday? Damn.

Are you currently dying? The answer may surprise you.

I have had several near death experiences in the past week. Although, it turns out they were false alarms and that I wasn’t even close to death. I might be close to death right now, I suppose, but not in any of the ways that I was predicting. If I die immediately, it will be from something I never saw coming. I will now detail all my near death experiences in case you are nearing death in the same way. Or, not nearing death, whatever the case may be.

Near Death Experience Number One: Immediate and Total Kidney Failure

My back hurt the other day, and so naturally I assumed that something was wrong with both my kidneys because I read somewhere that they are located near your lower back and sometimes people just think they have back pain when both their kidneys are actually failing. So, the safe thing to assume when you have a pain in your lower back is that both your kidneys are failing. Since the pain was only on one side, I thought I might have a chance of still having one kidney, but I don’t like to take unnecessary chances, so I decided to go to the doctor. Of course, I hate dealing with people, talking to people, and having people touch areas where my kidneys may or may not be failing, so by ‘go to the doctor’ I mean ‘type symptoms into Google.’

My search results on Google told me that since the pain was dull and corresponded with movement, rather than being constant and sharp, that it was probably a muscle hurting rather than my kidneys getting ready to bail on me. Also, I wasn’t running a fever. I forgot what the other symptoms were. After I confirmed my kidneys weren’t falling out, the back pain kind of went away on its own.

Near Death Experience Number Two: Slow and Fatal Heart Attack

Then, as if the kidney failure issue wasn’t enough to deal with… yesterday afternoon… my hand goes numb. Not my entire hand, but the side of it. Well, not the entire side of it, more like the edge. The edge of my left hand and the side of my left pinkie went numb.

My first step in diagnosing any serious medical condition is to wait and see if it goes away. The next step is to jump to the worst case scenario. By midnight last night, the numbness had not gone away. Therefore, I assumed I was having a heart attack and I began contemplating whether I would die immediately or become a comatose vegetable.

Other serious medical questions came to mind in the middle of the night:  Are heart attacks immediate? Is this one already done, or looming? Maybe this is one of those slow heart attacks. Are those a thing? Should I take a baby aspirin? Sometimes they tell you to take a baby aspirin. Maybe it is a stroke. I wonder if I will lose use of my left side if this is a stroke. Which side do you lose use of where you can’t speak? Can I still speak? There is no one to talk to right now. Maybe I should call someone to see if I can still speak.

Finally, I made myself look up symptoms on Google. I was a bit worried that Google would tell me something was seriously wrong,  I really don’t want to rush around at midnight to an emergency room announcing that my hand feels funny. That would be the worst. If I have to go get medical help for something, I want to be bleeding profusely. I want it to be freaking obvious that I need medical attention, not walking around with my hand being half numb.

The Google results told me that since I am right handed and the numbness was in my left pinkie/ring finger area, and since I constantly sit at my desk like a slouchy person, that I was NOT having a heart attack. Apparently there is some sort of nerve in your arm that runs amuck if you sit around leaning on your elbow too much. I don’t know much about that because I pretty much lost interest once I found out I wasn’t having a heart attack.

Now that I have recovered from my serious health issues, I can begin contemplating the fact that I might be a hypochondriac. If not that, I have had this cough for over a week that I am pretty sure is the bird flu. Maybe I’ll type my symptoms into Google.

For Further Research:

Cure your heart attack with simple arm exercises and by not being slouchy:

http://www.ehow.com/how_5199086_relieve-fingers-left-hand-right.html
Okay, fine… they call it ulnar nerve compression… heart attack is more dramatic and much easier to spell.

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