Monthly Archives: April 2007

Hiatus Interuptus

I am thrilled to announce that before the weekend is over, Bryan Weitzel will be posting another excerpt on his blog in his continuing Mallory saga. Yep, that’s right folks. After a two month Sabbatical, Bryan has come to his senses and realized that a Sabbatical refers to activity “relating to or suitable for the Sabbath.” Or is more commonly defined as “a period of leave from work for research, study, or travel, often with pay and usually granted to college professors every seven years.” So now that his ill-considered and poorly defined Sabbatical has come to an end, Bryan will be writing regular posts on his blog for at least the next seven years.

You can access his blog here. Please, feel free to comment early and often. Ask questions. Demand explanations. Beg for lengthier and more frequent excerpts. Really. He loves that kind of stuff.

Challenge me to a duel of semantics, will he? [ref. comments on previous post] Seems he forgot that, as the one challenged, I get to set terms and have my choice of weapons.

Now where was I? I left my H/H in a very delicate situation. They probably continued on without me, unable to restrain themselves. Oh geez, look at that. Give them the simple task of defeating an enemy and they decide to take over the world and Wal-Mart too.

Annie, no, put that down before someone gets– hurt. Damn.

You all need to stop distracting me. Just look at this mess.

Girl, the police are going to have a tough time extracting information from a man in that condition. Where’s Jack?

Oh, hell.

He’s doing what?


Filed under uncategorized


I woke up this morning and thought, “I need to think of something to write about on my blog.” And immediately remembered what someone told me just yesterday, “You’re thinking too much again. I warned you about that.” Oddly, the person who told me this is a very thoughtful person, a person who thinks great thoughts. Deep thoughts. A person whose opinion I trust and respect. Of course, this person also seems to credit the notion that aliens have abducted me.

But I’m not sure what I think about this. How is it possible to think less?

After giving it a great deal of thought [grin], I think what this person meant was that I should stop having second thoughts and just trust my instincts. Good advice, whether that was the message or not.

I have focused a significant amount of time and attention this past week or two on thinking and then expressing those thoughts in blog comments and email. And I have not spent nearly enough time and attention on my own writing. I need to listen to my instincts about this.

So I am announcing a self-imposed hiatus. I really like that word. So I looked it up. Online. Yes, I’m too lazy to get up, go downstairs and find the dictionary. Even though I love the dictionary; it’s my favorite book.

From an online thesaurus:

Hiatus: pause, break, interruption, gap, space, lull, interval, time away

From the online Encarta Encyclopedia:

Hiatus: 1. unexpected gap: a break in something where there should be continuity

So that’s what I’ll be doing for the next little while, taking a hiatus from blog-type writings so I can focus on book-type writings.

This is a good thing. How long will it last? I’m very easily distracted, so it’s hard to say. A month? A week? Two days? I have a self-imposed writing deadline coming up and I’ll need to work hard if I’m to have any hope of meeting it.

In the meantime, if any of you really, really miss reading my words of wisdom — well, I just can’t imagine that being the case. But if you do, there are about seven months’ worth of my musings right here on this blog. And there is at least a book’s worth of stuff scattered on various other blogs around town.

Go forth and re-read.


Filed under uncategorized

Raindrops on Roses It Ain’t

Recorded messages. The bane of polite society and not on my list of Favorite Things. I’m talking about those inane recorded messages you hear when you call someone and they don’t answer and they ask you to leave a recorded message of your own. I hate those. What I hate even more is hearing my own voice spouting that tripe.

If I sounded like Kathleen Turner or Lauren Bacall, I’d be recording messages all over the place. I’d be knocking on doors and strongly suggesting people let me record their messages for them. But I sound like a twelve-year-old girl who hasn’t spoken in a week and who now has to get up in front of a classroom of thirty other twelve-year-olds to discuss the mating habits of primates. Listening to some things is just painful and should not have to be endured.

Lucky for me, I happen to have a perfectly acceptable and serviceable recorded message on my home voice mail. Just because it was recorded by The Dog’s Favorite Person and just because he hasn’t answered that phone for more than four years now is no reason to erase a perfectly good message. After all, I never have to listen to it. I mean, c’mon, I never call myself. I know when I’m not there and, frankly, it didn’t take me all that long to figure out that calling myself when I’m not home is a waste of time. And if I am there, I don’t need to call me to talk to myself.

As far as I’m concerned, this is just not a problem.

But apparently everyone in the known universe who has my home phone number, and calls it on occasion, is increasingly upset and offended by this perfectly good message. To the point that I am damn sick and tired of hearing about it. So I might have to replace it.

But here is the problem. In my current mood, the new recorded message might sound something like this:

“Fine then, here it is. Happy now? Oh, and by the way, this is a reminder that I do not have Caller ID nor am I psychic, so if you want me to know you called, you’re going to have to LEAVE A MESSAGE. And if you choose not to do so, please do NOT call me in three days and complain that I never called you back, because I DID NOT KNOW you called me. I will have assumed those hang up calls were computers trying to convince me to refinance the lawnmower or buy a timeshare on Mars or donate blood to the local food bank. And do NOT whine at me via email that I must be ignoring you since I decided not to answer your calls and you don’t understand why I would be so cold and unfeeling when you’ve done nothing to deserve it and there is no reason for me to be angry with YOU, because if I didn’t answer the phone when you called it was for some REALLY GOOD REASON that had NOTHING to do with who you are, like maybe I was in the middle of writing a scene or making dinner or cleaning up cat yack or had my hands full of dirty dishes and couldn’t get to the damn phone which I do not carry on my hip by the way and sometimes I just don’t feel like talking to anyone and don’t believe it imperative to pick up that thing every time it makes a noise and sometimes I’m in the shower or taking out the garbage or brushing my teeth or maybe I’m out painting the town red and closing down the bars, but the point here is that I have NO IDEA who is calling until I pick up the phone and say “hello” and, damn it, for some really good reason I didn’t do that, did I? SO STOP POUTING AND WHINING AT ME. [beep]”

I’m not entirely sure, never having recorded one of these recorded messages, but I think there is a time limit and I’m pretty sure I’d be halfway through all that and get cut off. So I’d try again, only doing it faster, and get cut off about two-thirds of the way through, which would irritate me beyond the point which I agree to be irritated. So then the message would end up as an incoherent snarl sounding something like this:

“Either leave a goddamn message or stop effing calling me. [beep]”

Can’t have that. Mom would not approve.

So I’m asking for suggestions. Surely there must be some middle ground. I refuse to have one of those brain numbing messages that says, “You have reached the residence of the number you called. Please leave a message at the tone. [beep]” I’d sooner disconnect the thing. Which is sounding more and more like the most viable option.

What would you expect to hear if you called me and got a recorded message? I need help.


Filed under uncategorized

The Dark Side of Customer Service

Is it just me, or has customer service become somewhat depraved? The point of customer service should be to serve the customer, give them what they want. Right? Where did they get the idea that what I want is to be waited on by the human equivalent of a black lab puppy?

I went to the bank’s drive-thru teller today to deposit my paycheck. This is what happened. Names have been changed to protect my federally insured deposits. Other than that, I am not making this up.

“Hi! Welcome to Happy Friendly Bank! Thanks for waiting!”

There was no one in front of me when I drove up, but I’m not going to argue with someone who is clearly in the throes of manic cheerfulness. I place my deposit in the slide-out tray.

“How are you today?!” I swear her tail was wagging.

“I’m fine, how are you?” Hey, I can be nice.

“I’m terrific!” She retrieves my deposit. “Thank you, Ms. CB! Making a deposit today, are we?” She is the embodiment of effusive joy. She’s practically wriggling with it. “And withdrawing just a little cash today, Ms. CB?”

What the hell am I supposed to say to that? That it seemed like enough to me? I filled out the deposit slip, I figured that was enough instruction. But I smiled and said, “That’s right.”

She reads the company name on the check and says, “Oh! Does XYZ Company really sell XYZ? I’ve always wanted one of those!”

I’m speechless. My smile has already frozen in place, so I just nod. This woman is so impossibly perky she’s making Quincy the Wonder Dog look lethargic by comparison.

“Ms. CB, I’m happy to say everything here looks just fine!”

What? It’s a damn paycheck. I’m overdue for a raise, but why wouldn’t it be fine?

“And how would you like your cash today, Ms. CB?”

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. And it was almost impossible to resist. But I didn’t say it. Not one word. And there were so many that sprang to mind.

“Twenties is fine.”

“Great! Twenties it is, Ms. CB!” Is she panting? “I’ll just put your driver’s license in the envelope with the cash!”

I’m still smiling, I think. Does she keep this up all day or does she curl up on the rug until the next customer arrives?

“Is there anything else I can do for you today, Ms. CB?!”

Oh god, this woman has no idea the peril she has just placed herself in. But my smile is now a rictus and no words emerge. I manage to shake my head in the negative.

“Thank you for banking with Happy Friendly Bank, Ms. CB! Have a wonderful day, as always! See you again soon, Ms. CB!”

The hell she will. I’m signing up for direct deposit.

It’s either that or bring a rawhide chew with me next time.


Filed under uncategorized