There was this one time I wrote a book

Despite the fact that it says you can "look inside" this image here is just a picture.  You can actually do that stuff on the amazon.com page though.

Despite the fact that it says you can “look inside” this image here is just a picture. You can actually do that stuff on the amazon.com page, though.

So, it looks like I may have done that thing again, where I vanish off into the wilds of the internet for long periods of time.  The last few months have been pretty odd for me, since as I mentioned in my last post I quit my full time job as a reporter and moved back to my native hometown of Pittsburgh.  Wait, did I mention the Pittsburgh part?  Lord, it’s been so long, who even knows? If I didn’t mention that part, lets just assume I did and move on.

To make ends meet, I’ve picked up a part time job working at a local Best Buy.  It’s not glamorous work…  I am what is known as the Asset Protection Specialist (Associate?  Champion? Not sure what it is at the moment…  Best Buy has a tendency to change the titles they dish out to their employees pretty frequently).   Basically, this means I stop people when they’re walking out the door and check their receipts to make sure they’re not actually stealing that 60 inch TV they are nonchalantly wheeling out the door.  Since I’m the first person people see when they walk in the door,  it also means I get to answer some of the weirder questions, like “where is the jewelry section?” and “what do you mean this isn’t Bed Bath and Beyond?”

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Tomorrow will get better

"BEAR WITH ME NOW."

“BEAR WITH ME NOW.”

I keep thinking about the smurfs.

I’m not really sure why they actually became as popular as they did.  The show was confusing, at best, and irritating, at worst (I’m infinitely amazed by my younger self’s ability to listen to their cheery la la laaaa song over and over again without wanting to stab the world) and didn’t exactly have a plot so much as it had Gargamel wanting to be the biggest prick in the universe.  I was never sure if he wanted to eat the smurfs, or possibly turn them into gold and then eat them, or what.  They were a communist group, and Smurfette’s role in their society tends to get creepy if you think about it too hard.

What do you think it would have been like, being four inches tall, pursued by a balding, monk-man and living in an utopian mushroom house society?

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I love, therefore I must ruin

SEE MY CAT IS SO AWESOME HE THINKS HE'S A PERSON!! From www.picturesofcats4you.com ... No, seriously, it is.

SEE MY CAT IS SO AWESOME HE THINKS HE’S A PERSON!! From http://www.picturesofcats4you.com … No, seriously, it is.

Fandom is a tricky phenomenon.  Every single one of us is basically a huge nerd about something, and understandably we want to share our interests with those around us.  But fandom has a way of taking a legitimate love in our interests and twisting it into a horrible, conversation devouring monster, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice and begin making everyone feel awkward as all small talk dies.  The monster is ravenous.  It must feed.

I’m sure most people have come across this problem at some point in their lives:  You love something so very much that it almost hurts.  It could be a story, a movie, a book series, a sports team or your cats, your significant other, a comic strip, a TV series or your family.  You want to tell the world about it.  You want them to recognize that what you have found is special and amazingly wonderful, to have them see it the way that you do.  But…  the more you talk, the less interested they seem.  By the end of the conversation, you’re being ignored entirely.  You have no idea why.  Can’t they see how great everything is??  Maybe you had better go over the best part again.

“No, listen…  my cat tried to jump and fell off the table and he thinks he’s a person.  Don’t you see?!”

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The radio of regrets

jacksonholeradio.com!  ...And then I put the catch phrase from The Shining on it.  For the record, my radio has not actually threatened to kill me, yet.

jacksonholeradio.com! …And then I put the catch phrase from The Shining on it. For the record, my radio has not actually threatened to kill me, yet.

I’ve been trying something new lately, wherein I set my alarm for the crisp, early hour of 7 a.m. in the vain hopes of getting up, being productive and an overall decent human being.  The kind of person Ben Franklin, the surly statesman himself, would have been proud to call an American if he had seen me up…  pretty close to the crack of dawn, excited to be healthy, wealthy and wise.  I’m well aware that I need all the help I can get in this endeavor, so my alarm is set to the local Cincinnati rock station, because my reasoning was that if the magic of ROCK can’t get me moving, well then maybe I should just write the whole day off as a loss and forget the whole thing.

So far, all that’s happened is that I typically wake up briefly at 7 a.m., say something along the lines of “Ha ha, NOPE,” and fall back asleep while new rock softly floats across my room, barely loud enough to cover up the sound of Ben rolling over in his opulent, penny-lined grave.  I’m assuming that’s what he did with all the pennies he saved, or whatever.  That’s not the point.

This morning, my radio was caught between two stations, which happens when the weather starts to change.  Usually I get stuck with a country music station out of West Virginia, which aside from making absolutely no sense puts me in a foul mood for most of the day.  I blame the country music twang for this phenomenon, as I believe it messes with my inner….  rhythms…  or something new age that we all probably don’t really have.

This morning, vaguely, through my sleep-induced stupor I heard a commercial for Giant Eagle, coming out of an unidentified radio station lodged somewhere in the cosmos.  What once was an easy way to wake up in the morning has become a demon.  A radio of regrets.

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Mercury and the fight against nihilism

Thank God we finally have color pictures of this!

Thank God we finally have color pictures of this!  Images in this post from nasa.gov

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one abundantly excited when the space probe MESSENGER came back with the first ever pictures of the planet Mercury taken from the planet’s orbit.  I’ve been a bit of an astronomy junkie for years now, with all the ups and downs that brings, and I’m always mystified when scientists send us back reports of incredibly bizarre things happening in other parts of our galaxy.  My favorite so far is the star known as BPM 37093, a former white dwarf star that caved in on itself a horribly long time ago to become the largest diamond ever discovered.  In an infinitely large universe, anything is possible, I suppose.

I first got into astronomy in high school when I took a basic level class that taught the locations of constellations and the myths they were named for, as well as light spectrums, other astral bodies like comet and meteors, and (unfortunately for me) distance. This information has largely seeped out of me over the years to the point where I can identify simple constellations and objects, but the distance…  the distance stuck with me.

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I’m not dead yet

For those of you who were hoping my drawing skills would improve during my hiatus: I give to you the gift of disappointment!

For those of you who were hoping my drawing skills would improve during my hiatus: I give to you the gift of disappointment!

So.   …Hey.  Been a while, hasn’t it?  Yeah, yeah I know.  Inexcusable!  What sorry excuse for a writer just drops off the face of the planet for five months and then comes crawling back acting like nothing has happened?!  Listen, man.  Things have been nuts.  I could tell you stories.  And in a moment, I probably will.  Tangents are my forte, after all.

See, I have this one really, really bad habit that I’ve been struggling with for years.  When I get stressed, and I mean really stressed, I do this thing where I completely withdraw from society, shun all my social interactions and avoid talking to people to the point where I start to get concerned “hey are you still alive” text messages from the lucky few who have had to put up with my shit in years past.

I figure that you, the four people who read this, should probably know that I have a tendency to do these things, since odds are this one, bad habit will probably be responsible for content shortages in the future.  Not that the content flow around here was ever consistent, since I’ve been on a pretty strict “whenever I feel like it” schedule around here.

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I’ve been “hacked” by “cybergoons”

Here’s something neat:  Someone tried to hack into my WordPress account pretty hard a few weeks back.  Apparently.  I have long since deleted the email I got from good ol’ WP, but I distinctly remember the email, which detailed some bizarre activity noted around the web.  You see, dear reader, I have been the victim of some cyber thievery, in which this humble blog was the target.  The sad faces, neverending.  The tears, bitter.

Okay, that was a lie.  I was actually pretty ecstatic.  See, this blog is one that approximately five people actually read.  But for someone to actually take the time to try to brute force my humble password system?  That is a man/spambot who saw potential in good ol’ Tophat.  Someone took a look at my blog and thought to themselves, “this is a talented and reputable guy.  I’ll bet I can really use his account as a vehicle to sell penis pills and green coffee bean extract.”

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Please do not kiss the giraffe

Giraffes are only one step removed from koalas. Who also like to hump trees.

I have heard that the best way to become a better writer is to be completely and brutally honest with your audience.  Is this a thing?  Or did I just make that up ten seconds ago?  Oh, how the lines blur.  I’m going to plug along with it anyway, because I am not one to back down from a terrible idea.  Here we go:  full disclosure.  I am going to tell you about one of my greatest fears for as long as I can, before I devolve into frightened high-pitched whine that will keep dogs awake long into the night.

No, not that fear.  Good lord, not that one.  No, the other one.  The one that I don’t think I’ve discussed with too many people, for fear that they are sympathizers.  You see, dear reader…  I am absolutely terrified of people wearing animal costumes.

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Fair’s a fair

These aren’t pumpkins. They are abominations that yearn for the sweet release of death

To say that I have been somewhat overworked lately is much like pointing out that a dude who just toppled into the tiger pit at the zoo may need assistance.  It’s pretty obvious that I’ve been overworked, to the point where I started to question whether I really wanted to keep pouring time and effort into this writing thing, and the futility therein.  I usually get like this between the end of September to the beginning of January, what because winter and Christmas are basically horrendous and will be the first things to be banned as soon as I am carried into political office on a wave of ponies.

My descent into insanity usually begins with the gigantic county fair, which kicks off in the last week of September and consumes most of my time for most of the month.  The fair is unlike any of the little BS “community days” that used to be held back home in the suburbs of Pittsburgh.  It’s a celebration of country life, and is also probably where two thirds of the teenage pregnancies in the county come from.  I’ll keep you posted on those numbers in nine months.

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Ponies for Tophat

I hate politics.  I really do.  Unfortunately, I am also in a line of work where it is completely and unavoidably in my face pretty much all the time.  I’m still not sure why all of these politicians send me mass emails.  My newspaper isn’t exactly what you’d call… national.  Local politicians are a bigger deal for us out here, because honestly, if people want coverage of the national issues there are about a million daily news sources who are better staffed to handle the waves of bullshit coming out of our two major political parties.

That’s not to say that the people in my area don’t care about the Barack Obama/Mitt Romney throwdown that is shaping up in November.  I’ve found, however, that your odds of convincing someone to vote one way or the other is completely impossible.  It seems like 90 percent of the voting population is so fiercely loyal to their political party that if you even dare to say something bad about it, they will straight up murder you.  Maybe it’s my rampant pessimism, but I find that to be pretty depressing.

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